Get your hot dogs!

Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie & Chevrolet. They go together… in the good ol’ USA. This quote from an iconic 1974 ad showcased Americana in its finest. Nothing says down home American culture like a hot dog. The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council states Americans purchased 9 billion hot dogs at retail stores. Throw in the 19.4 million hot dogs eaten at ballparks across the country and street vendors/food trucks throughout the cities estimating a total of over 20 billion hot dogs eaten in a year. That is about 70 hot dogs per person a year! Who eats the most hot dogs? LA beat out NYC, Dallas, Chicago, and Philadelphia consuming nearly 30 million pounds of hot dogs. Quickly calculating 8 per package…that is 240 million hot dogs!. 

  The baseball and hot dog tale starts in 1906. Back in the day “hot dachshund sausages” were being sold at a baseball game played at the NYC polo grounds. A cartoonist sketched the scene using a real dachshund dog in a bun smeared with mustard. He was spelling challenged so he captioned it “Get your Hot Dogs Here!” The name stuck and the rest is history. I can hear the hot dog vendors hollering out, can’t you? states West Virginia consumes 481 hot dogs per capita taking home the state prize. Yes, that is over one hot dog per day per person! I suppose the 5 hot dog days make up for the days without hot dogs. West Virginians raise hot dogs to another level with their regional take with their slaw dogs. A friend of mine, Kim from WV talks about a couple of her favorite hot dog haunts in Huntington. Stewarts, Midway, and Frost Top have been around for over 90 years. The standard dog in the area is topped with hot dog sauce, basically chili without the beans along with mustard, and chopped onion. Slaw is a common additional topping along with 7 other tasty toppers. Diners typically pull in, park, and dine in their cars served with a smile and a cold frosty mug of root beer. Double honk and service arrives at your door with a smile. Kim’s favorite, Stewarts, became the official hot dog for Marshall University and has shipped their hot dogs to all 50 states, as well as Germany, Italy, Iraq and South Korea!

The Detwilers are among Americans that consume 7 billion hot dogs between Memorial Day to Labor Day, known as hot dog season. Paul loves hot dogs and we have turned summer Sunday nights into Hot Dog night. Ball Park has always been a fan favorite, but it has become second fiddle to our new favorite all beef hot dogs, cheese dogs and jalapeno dogs from Winners in Osgood, Ohio. They are fantastic and really fill out the bun. Talking about buns, one of the top pressing questions of the world: why don’t the bun packages match up to the hot dog packages? In 1940, hot dogs began to become produced and packaged eight in a pack, most standard packs today you’ll find anywhere from 8 to 10 in a pound package of hot dogs. Most commercial bakeries bake buns in clusters of 4 in pans of 8. My Aldi top slice buns come in a package of 6. I guess the mystery continues. 

 I discovered one of my most favorite way to eat a hot dog a few years ago when I was touring a maple syrup farm and they asked me to stay for a lunch. They served up a hot dog boiled in maple syrup. It was one of the best hot dogs I have ever enjoyed. These dogs aren’t usually high on the healthy list, however lower fat options can be found in your local meat case. Grill, steam, boil or roast up some of America’s favorite summertime meats this July. Pull out some creative topping and celebrate National Hot Dog month!

Eat Well & Healthy!


Regional Dogs

New York: Top your hot dog from the Big apple with steamed onions and a pale, deli-style yellow mustard.

Chicago: Layer your dog with yellow mustard, dark green relish, chopped raw onion, pickle spear, sport peppers, tomato slices and topped with a dash of celery salt and served in a poppy seed bun.

The Fenway Frank is boiled, grilled and served with a New England style bun with mustard and relish. New England dogs can also be topped with Boston Baked Beans.

The Sonoran Dog features a grilled bacon-wrapped hot dog on a sturdy bun, pinto beans, grilled onions and green peppers, chopped fresh tomatoes, relish, tomatillo jalapeno salsa, mayo, mustard and shredded cheese.

West Virginia Dog

2 pounds lean ground beef

1 medium yellow onion, grated

16 oz. tomato sauce

12 oz. tomato paste

2 T chili powder

2 Tbsp. sugar

1 ½ tsp. salt

1 tsp. pepper

1 tsp. garlic salt

2 bay leaves

1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar

4 hot dogs

4 hot dog buns

1 cup chili

1 cup coleslaw

1 Tbsp. yellow mustard

  In a stockpot or Dutch oven, combine the beef (do not brown first), onions, tomato sauce, paste, chili powder, sugar, salt, pepper, garlic salt and 2 cups water. Mix until combined, then add the bay leaves. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for about 2 hours. 

  Stir in the vinegar and simmer another 30 minutes.

  Grill, steam or boil the hot dogs. Place each hot dog in a steamed bun, and top each with a generous amount of Chili, coleslaw and yellow mustard, and then serve.

Seattle dog offers a topping twist not found in many places around the country — cream cheese. The hot dogs are split in half and grilled before being put in a toasted bun and are also topped with grilled onions. Sriracha sauce and jalapeños are popular additions as well.

Atlanta: The Braves hot dog is topped with coleslaw and vidalia onions. 

Kansas City: Order your R with sauerkraut and melted Swiss cheese on a sesame seed bun. 

Colorado Rockies serve their foot-long dogs topped with grilled peppers, kraut and onions. 

The Houston Texan dog is topped with chili, cheese and jalapenos 

Cincinnati Chili Dog

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup chopped white onion (from 1 onion), plus more for serving 

1 tablespoon minced garlic (from 3 cloves) 

1 pound 85 percent-lean ground beef


1 tablespoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder 

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice 

1 can (8 ounces) low-sodium tomato sauce 

1 tablespoon apple-cider vinegar 

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 

1 tablespoon chili powder 

6 all-beef franks 

6 long potato rolls, such as Martin’s, split 

Yellow mustard, for serving 

4 ounces finely shredded sharp cheddar (2 cups), for serving 

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden in places, 8 to 10 minutes. Add garlic; cook 30 seconds more. Add ground beef and season with salt. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, breaking into bite-size pieces and stirring occasionally, until meat is browned in places and just cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in cocoa, cinnamon, and allspice; cook 1 minute. Stir in tomato sauce, 1 cup water, vinegar, Worcestershire, and chili powder. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thick and darkened slightly, 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat; cover to keep warm.

 Meanwhile, bring 2 inches of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add franks, reduce heat to low, and simmer until plump and hot, about 5 minutes. Drain franks and place in rolls. Top each with chili, sprinkle with onion, drizzle with mustard, and top with cheese. Serve immediately.

One comment

  1. John Fitzpatrick

    When I was a kid we had a trolley car diner outside our YMCA. They would slice the hot dogs length wise and grill them on the flat stone grill. At the same time they buttered the inside of the hot dog bun and grilled it like the bread of a grilled cheese sandwich. Those hot dogs were so good, we would walk or hitch hike down to the Y to save our bus fare to get a hot dog.

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