It’s Time to Celebrate a Legend!

Photo Credit: taliesin via morguefile.com

Photo Credit: taliesin via morguefile.com

They are known as frankfurters, tube steaks, wieners, dogs, wiener wurst, red hots, and sausage…what is this all-American food? You guessed it!! It’s the Hot Dog! No outside summer activity would be complete without them. Picnics, barbeques, and hot dogs are about as American as apple pie and Chevrolet. And why do I mention this tasty little piece of American delicacy? Because today, July 23, is National Hot Dog Day!!! Actually, July is National Hot Dog Month.

All across America, every summer, large amounts of hot dogs are cooked on the barbeque and consumed by the millions. The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council estimate that over 175 million dogs will be devoured!

Hot­ dogs, or frankfurters, created in Frankfurt, Germany, in 1852. The hot dog got its name from a sportswriter named Tad Dorgan in 1901. Before hot dogs got the name that we all know today, they used to be called “dachshund sausages” because they looked like little dachshund dogs. One day during a baseball game, a vender was selling his treats by yelling out “”Get your dachshund sausages while they’re red hot!” Mr. Dorgan sketched a cartoon of the spectacle nut wasn’t sure how to spell dachshund so he decided to call them “hot dogs.” From that point on, history was made and the “Hot Dog’s” name was born.

How are hot dogs made? According to the Nation Hot Dog and Sausage Council (hot-dog.org) the manufacturing process goes something like this:

1 Small cuts of beef, pork or poultry are cut or ground into small pieces and placed in a giant mixer.

2 Stainless steel choppers blend the meat, spices, ice chips or water and curing ingredients into a batter that looks a little like a cake mix.

3 The mixture is then pumped into an automatic stuffer/linker machine, where it flows into casings.

4 The filled casings are pinched at regular intervals to link them into long strands of hot dogs and then moved to the smokehouse.

5 There they are fully cooked under controlled temperature and humidity conditions.

6 After passing through the smoke and cook cycle, the hot dogs are showered in cool water and the casings are stripped off. (When natural casings are used, they remain on product).

7 The individual links are then packed, sealed and shipped.

I know that many people ask…”what are the ingredients of hot dogs?” Well, again, according to the Nation Hot Dog and Sausage Council, meats used in hot dogs come from the muscle of the animal and looks much like what you buy in the grocer’s case. If variety meats such as hearts are used in processed meats, the U.S. Department of Agriculture requires the manufacturer to declare those ingredients on the package with the statement “with variety meats” or “with meat by-products.”

The manufacturer must then specify which variety meat is included. In the U.S., companies are required to list ingredients in order, from the main ingredient, to the least ingredient.

Last but certainly not least, people enjoy putting many condiments and sauces on their dogs such as mustard, relish, chili, cheese, sour kraut, onions and ketchup. Depending on the part of the country that people come from, people have different names for their hot dogs and toppings. Some of the names of these combinations are…the Coney, Chicago Hot Dog, the New Yorker, the Fenway Frank, Slaw Dogs, Red Dogs, and Sonorans. Yummy!

I hope you enjoy this little informative blog about this home-grown American food. I know one thing, I have gotten hungry writing this story, so I think I am going to go and have myself a nice, tasty hot dog!

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