Dear Sun Spots: At a cookout this week, I made the comment that I was glad they were serving red franks or hot dogs. Someone from Texas overhead me and after stating that Maine seems to be the only state they’ve eaten red hot dogs in said, “Pray tell me how red franks came to be?”

I couldn’t answer them, except to say I prefer the taste and texture.

Can you please come up with an answer to this?

I must say I not only enjoy your column Sun Spots but I learn from it. – Mary Denis, No Town.

Answer:
Sun Spots spoke with Jordans Meat plant manager Dan Poulin who says this is a subject which has long been debated. According to Poulin, it was mostly a marketing tool to help differentiate the product from the competitor’s. And Poulin says that rumor has it their competition has now come out with a red hot dog.

Sun Spots understands that BAW Beans in Bangor also makes a red hot dog. The hot dog is mostly a New England or Maine tradition although Poulin says the Virginia area does have skinless red hot dogs. Poulin says they taste the same, whether red or plain. You might be interested in noting that Jordans makes an orange hot dog they call the “pumpkin,” which is sold in the northern part of the state. Jordans started in 1927, buying out Kirschner’s in 1992. It is now known as Tyson Retail Deli.

Poulin says they produce an average of 65,000-70,000 pounds a day of either hot dogs or sausage-type products such as kielbasa or polish sausage. The red skin is achieved by a drenching process that colors the hot dog casing. It does not affect the taste, Poulin says.

You may also be interested in the following hot dog trivia:

According to the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council, Americans consumed more than 20 billion hot dogs in 2002, 9 billion of which were purchased in retail stores. Americans typically consume 7 billion hot dogs between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Americans will eat 25.9 million hot dogs in major league ballparks – that’s enough to stretch from Dodgers’ Stadium in Los Angeles to Yankee Stadium in New York City.

On the Fourth of July, Americans usually have 150 million hot dogs. More hot dogs will be eaten at New York’s Yankee Stadium – 1.8 million in 2003 – than in any other major league ballpark in the country.

Sun Spots hopes you and your family enjoys the following recipe located online at wwww.hot-dog.org:

Cheesy Hot Dog Tote Ingredients: ½ pound hot dogs, cubed; ½ pound sharp cheddar cheese, shredded; 2-ounce jar stuffed green olives, chopped; ½ cup frozen diced onions; ½ cup chili sauce; 1 teaspoon mustard; 2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped; 2 tablespoons mayonnaise; 4 pita rounds; heavy duty aluminum foil. Method: Cut hot dogs into fourths lengthwise, then slice into ¼-inch cubes. Combine with olives, eggs, mustard, mayonnaise, chili sauce and cheese, mixing well. Cut pita rounds in half. Open pocket and fill with approximately 1/3 cup filling – be generous. Wrap individually in foil and refrigerate. When grill is hot, place foil-wrapped sandwiches on grill and heat for 10 minutes.

Uncover and continue heating until pita bread is crisp and filling is hot – 10-15 minutes more, depending on desired crispness.

Sun Spots would also like to share this family favorite with you and yours:

Hot Dog Casserole Ingredients:
One can of B&M Baked Beans; one small onion, chopped in medium pieces; about ½-pound of sharp or very sharp cheddar cheese, cut into large cubes; 1 teaspoon ground allspice; 1 pound hot dogs, cut into 2- to 3-inch sections. Method: Brown hot dogs, onion and allspice until onion is somewhat translucent. Add beans. Pour all into a casserole dish, mixing in all remaining ingredients. Bake at 350 for about 30 to 40 minutes. This goes wonderfully with baked Idaho potatoes and homemade coleslaw, and is a great winter comfort casserole.

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