Hot Dogs

The History of the Hot Dog

There is a good deal of disagreement regarding the origin of the Hot Dog. People in Frankfurt am Main, Germany claim they discovered the Hot Dog in 1487. Others argue, the Sausage sometimes called the Dachshund for its shape, was created in the late 1600’s by Johann Georg Hehner, a butcher from Coburg in Breisgau, who is said to have traveled to Frankfurt to promote his product. Others in Vienna, (Wien) Austria claim originating the Hot Dog as they point to the name Wiener as evidence of the Hot Dog’s true heritage.

In any case it is known that Charles Feltman, a German Butcher opened up the first Coney Island Hot Dog stand in 1871. He sold 3,684 Dachshunds in his first year. In 1893 Chris Ahe, the owner of the St. Louis browns started selling Hot Dogs at the Ballpark. In 1901 the phrase Hot Dog was coined. On a cold April day Concessionaire Harry Stevens was losing money, selling Ice Cream and soda. He ordered his salesmen to buy all the long skinny sausages they could find and sell them from portable Hot Water tanks while shouting get your Red Hot Dachshund sausages while they last. Sports Cartoonist Ted Dorgan could not spell Dachshund so he used the term Hot Dog instead in his strip. Hence the name stuck and is the term we still use today.

Anton Feuchtwanger would loan his patrons gloves to handle the Hot little items. When he realized that his customers were little inclined to return the gloves he got together with his Brother in Law, a baker, and hence the concept of the Hot Dog Bun was born.

In 1936, Oscar Mayer rolled out the first portable Hot Dog cart, they called it the Wienermobile and the rest as they say is history.

Regarding the hot dog, this delicacy dated back to 1500 B.C. in Babylonia. Suffice it to say that stuffing meat in animal intestines was a pretty popular culinary approach.

Some highlights though, included the big role played by sausage in the Roman festival Lupercalia where Panati says other writers alluded that the sausage may have played a role beyond mere foodstuff. The early Roman Catholic Church made sausage eating a sin and Constantine banned its consumption.

In the 1850’s, the Germans made thick, soft and fatty sausages from which we get “frank”. In 1852, the butcher’s guild in Frankfurt introduced a spiced and smoked sausage, which was packed in a thin casing, and they called it a “frankfurter” after their hometown. The sausage had a slightly curved shape supposedly due to the coaxing of a butcher who had a popular dachshund. The frankfurter was also known as a “dachshund sausage” and this name came with it to America.

The two Frankfurters who introduced the frankfurter to the U.S. were Antoine Feuchtwanger (in St. Louis, Mo.) and Charles Feltman, a baker who had a push cart on New York’s Coney Island. Supposedly, Feltman’s pie business couldn’t compete with the hot dishes sold by the inns there, and decided to sell one kind of small hot sandwich, the frankfurter, since his cart couldn’t handle anything fancier or offer greater variety. He served them with traditional mustard and sauerkraut, it was a hit, and he opened Feltman’s German Beer Garden.

The sausage was known as frankfurters, red hots, dachshund sausages, wieners, etc. By this time, there was a guy, Harry Stevens, who owned a refreshment concessionaire who had made popular doggies at NYC baseball games. His vendors supposedly called out “get your red-hot dachshund sausages!”

Hot Dog Facts

450 Hot Dogs are eaten every second of every day in the United States or an average of 65 per year/per person.

Hot Dogs are served in 95% of homes in the USA.

Most Hot Dogs are eaten at home, 15% are purchased from street vendors, 9% are purchased at ballparks.

Mustard remains the most popular Hot Dog topping. 87% of Hot Dog eaters use Mustard.

Most people still prefer the good old 6″ Hot Dog; it is preferred by 46.3% of Hot Dog eaters. 26% prefer the 7″ Hot Dog. Only 4% prefer the foot long version.

Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport sells more Hot Dogs than any other location in the USA, over 2 Million a year.

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by helmut schonwalder