When it comes to a BBQ event, you just have to include the almighty American summer favorite grill food, “Hot Dogs”. Whether on a stick, on a campfire, cookout in the park or in the backyard, on the gas grill, fry pan, whatever cooking form, a hot dog is a treat. Doesn’t summer start any celebration? These are a symbol of summer. We love them, in fact 80% of Americans think hot dogs taste great. It’s a crazy staple that we count on, and the song is pretty catchy. “If I were an Oscar Mayer Wiener, everyone would be in love with me.”

When time has gone by and we haven’t had it on our menu, smiles comes to our faces when someone says, “Oh, let’s have hot dogs” and then visions of hot dogs and buns, often topped with chopped onions, ketchup, mustard, and celery salt dancing around reminds us that Americana and simplicity can be enjoyed both at home and all over the world. But why can’t we ever get enough of them?

They are actually made of meat! blended well and piped into a casing and smoked (which makes them kind of fancy) into the treat that it is. Hot dogs go back as far as ancient Roman to the iconic Nathan’s Coney Island hot dog.

It’s history is as much a mystery as the hot dog itself. With competing claims, “wrapped” in differences of opinion we need to go back into the ancient world.

It was said that in 64 CE, Emperor Nero’s cook, “Gaius” cut with his knife the belly of a roasted pig, which hadn’t been cleaned properly. Upon checking to see if it was edible, out popped the engorged intestines, when a bright idea struck the cook. Thinking this was of great value, he began to stuff the intestines with a mixture of venison, ground beef, spices and ground wheat tying it into lengths as he went along. Thus, became the sausage. “Gaius” in a way became a legend of his own kind.

Europeans adopted sausages in their diets, especially in Germany where many different variations of the sausages, such as in the “frankfurter” were created to pair with their craft beers, and who’s claiming credit for the famous dogs, (1487) Frankfurt, Germany and (late 19th century) Vienna, Austria, where a couple of fellas (Austro-Hungarians Reichel and Ladany) took “their” wieners, staking claim to the hot dog and went to the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago to sell them.

To their credit, they were the first to invent the “Chicago Style Hot Dog”, even if they didn’t really invent the hot dog in Europe, per say. What made it so unique, was its signature bright green relish, dill pickle spears, pickled peppers, celery salt and bright red tomato wedges or better known as Chicago style. The Duo successfully remained partners, where they co-founded The Vienna Beef hot dog manufacturer, that to this day is still in the heart of Chicago’s cuisine over 100 years later…

Another break in the notoriety of gaining rights to creating the hot dog, was from a butcher in Germany, who traveled to Frankfurt in the late 1600’s to promote “his” new food, the hot dog. Are you scratching your head yet? Let me add some more….

In 1906, street peddlers provided most of the food eaten on the streets of New York, it was an entrepreneurs dream, convenient and inexpensive, and the health commission in NYC concluded that street food was actually fresher than food sold in restaurants. After all, they shopped from the wholesalers directly and used their products immediately, which provided the utmost freshest ingredients without having to store anything over a period of time.

So, when is a hot dog a hot dog or a sausage a sausage? Generally, where a hot dog is a type of sausage, the meat is finely grounded and spices are much milder in taste, all of which gives it a finer texture. A sausage stuffed into a casing whether natural or synthetic contains any type of or combination of ground meats enclosed with herbs and spices.

Many versions have come about from all over the place with endless topping possibilities. They are indeed a foundation for creation. In Seattle, they slather them with cream cheese, Alaska, Coca-Cola grilled onions, Iceland, a lamb hot dog served with onions, ketchup, sweet brown mustard, and remoulade, in Chile, usually twice the size of an American hot dog, is served with chopped tomatoes, avocados, sauerkraut and mayonnaise. The most popular, a southern-style combo which tops as the #1 all-time best hot dog topping, is a mix of coleslaw and chili that go together like BBQ sauce and coleslaw. Besides the health benefits of tomatoes, chilies and beans, that is the reason why this became #1. Street vendors of NYC’s, favorite includes roasted red peppers, garlic cloves and bacon bits for added crunch that leaves a delightful tangy taste bite after bite. Texan Style Hot Dog, Mexican flavors rich, loaded with extra protein from the refried beans and Mexican street corn toppings (see recipe below) finished with cilantro.

In Asia, traditional mustard-loving hot dog fans just can’t get enough of this topping with a twist of Eastern influences, Peanut Butter & Teriyaki Sauce. The peanut butter gives a smooth texture while thickening and releasing nutty taste into your topping.. No cooking required as well.

The recipes:
Peanut Butter & Teriyaki sauce

•½ cup smooth peanut butter
•2 tbsp. teriyaki sauce
•1 tbsp. rice vinegar
•2 tbsp. brown sugar
•2 tsp. chili garlic sauce
•1 lg. dash of lime juice
•3 pressed garlic cloves
•1 tbsp. grated ginger
•2 tbsp. warm water

Directions:

Simply whisk all the ingredients, except the water, together until smooth, adding water spoon by spoon until you get the consistency you’s like. How simple is that?

Hot Dog Texan Style Topping

1 avocado, peeled and pitted
1 can corn kernels
¼ cup sour cream
juice and jest of 1 lime
½ tsp. celery salt
1 tsp. spicy sauce
1 cup refried beans drained and rinsed
½ cup red or yellow peppers, finely chopped
2 tbsp. red onions, finely chopped
1 tbsp. freshly chopped chili
1 tbsp. chopped jalapeno
4 ounces chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Directions: Make drizzle first by blending the avocado, sour cream, lime juice, spice sauce, celery salt until it’s a fine pulp.

Make a salad by mixing refried beans, corn kernels, peppers, onions, chili, jalapeno, tomato, cilantro, salt and pepper together in a bowl. Keep the pulp and salad refrigerated until it’s time to pack your dogs.

Or make a Hot Dog Bar-A do it yourselves top-your-dog bar.

We have enough on this subject to continue on to a Part II. Stay tuned for more hot dog news. Let me know what your favorite toppings are. [email protected]

Therapy update…..still at it!….and the last words~”A hot dog at the ballgame beats roast beef at the Ritz.”~Humphrey Bogart…and Clint Eastwood as Dirty Harry in Sudden Impact said~”Nobody, I mean nobody, puts ketchup on a hot dog.”

Credit: Thehotdoorg.

The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council

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