Aside from being National Picnic Month, July is also National Hot Dog Month! The warming weather is perfect for a spot of grilling, and what better food to toss on the grill than a juicy hot dog? Let’s get to celebrating this bite of deliciousness this summer.
History of National Hot Dog Month
There is no strong evidence to show when or where hot dogs originated, but the likely story is that they came into America via immigrants. People believe that sausage makers from Vienna, Austria, and Frankfurt, Germany — where the terms ‘wiener’ and ‘frankfurter’ originated respectively — brought this wonderful invention to the U.S. This is probably why hot dogs are also called frankfurters, red hots, dogs, franks, and wieners.
Sports cartoonist Tad Dorgan was in the press box, reporting on a baseball game at the Polo Grounds in New York when he heard vendors yelling, “Get your dachshund sausages while they’re red hot!” He sketched a cartoon to show the scene, but he was unsure of how to spell the word ‘ dachshund,’ so he called them ‘hot dogs.’ And that is how we came to know them by their popular moniker. The food went on to become a household name across America in the nineteenth century, with local versions like the Chicago Dog, the Kansas City Dog, and the Corn Dog popping up all over the U.S.
National Hot Dog Month was founded by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce about 65 years ago. Since that time, a special council formed to answer questions about hot dogs and their history — the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council — promotes this month-long celebration each year. This council also founded National Hot Dog Day, which is also celebrated in July.
National Hot Dog Month timeline
Immigrants from Austria and Germany (maybe) bring the hot dog to the U.S.
Sports cartoonist Tad Dorgan hears vendors selling 'dachshund sausages' at a polo game; since he couldn't spell 'dachshund', he simply writes it as 'hot dogs'.
Walt Disney's cartoon character Mickey Mouse's first-ever words spoken aloud are 'hot dogs' in a cartoon called 'The Carnival Kid.'
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce first observes National Hot Dog Month.
July is officially proclaimed to be National Hot Dog Month.
National Hot Dog Month FAQs
What day is National Hotdog Day?
National Hot Dog Day is celebrated on July 23 each year, although hot-dog.org deems July 17 as National Hot Dog Day.
Why is a hot dog still called a hot dog?
Hot dogs likely got their name from German immigrants’ dogs, the dachshunds, who are long and thin and shaped somewhat like hot dogs. Germans also called their dish ‘dachshund sausages’ or ‘little dog’, which is another connection to the ‘dog’ in hot dogs.
What is the most popular condiment for a hot dog?
According to research, adults prefer mustard while teens and children use ketchup, although this varies according to the region. Hot dogs in New York are generally served with mustard and steamed onions, while Chicago hot dogs usually come with mustard, relish, onions, etc.
How To Celebrate National Hot Dog Month
Have a hot dog party
Throw some hot dogs and veggies on the grill, and invite some friends and family over for an impromptu party to welcome the summer. You can do a hot dog buffet or even invite each guest to get their own condiments and relishes.
Make your own hot dogs
Did you know you could make your hot dogs at home? If you have the time and the inclination, why not whip up your own version of the hot dog. This way, you can even choose the filling of meat that goes into the hot dog. All you need to find are sheep casings (ask your local butcher for help or check online), your choice of meat, and a good recipe to start with.
Participate in 'hot dog' activities
The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council plan various activities for National Hot Dog Month, like wiener dog races, root beer chugging competitions, and more. Check their website to see if any are being held near you (or virtually), and enter. If you cannot find such activities, why not plan your own with the help of your community, family, and friends? You can make it as creative as you like, and even throw in a prize for the winners.
5 Fun Facts About Hot Dogs
The sweetest condiment
When kids were asked what they would add to hot dogs if their moms were not watching, 25% of them replied 'chocolate sauce'.
Hot dogs have been to the Moon
Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and “Buzz” Aldrin Jr. ate hot dogs while on the moon, making it one of the first foods eaten there.
Americans eat hot dogs a lot
Each American eats approximately 60 hot dogs a year.
They've been served to royals
Former American President Franklin D. Roosevelt served hot dogs to Queen Elizabeth and King George, the latter of whom ate two.
The most expensive hot dog
A food truck in Seattle, the Tokyo Dog food truck — holds the record for the most expensive hot dog which costs $169.
Why We Love National Hot Dog Month
They truly show America as a melting pot
Hot dogs have been woven into the fabric of America so seamlessly, it seems as though they have always been a part of American cuisine. What they are, however, is a true indication of how different cultures influence our own traditions and food. This gift from the immigrants has been adopted as our own, and we won't change a thing about how hot dogs became an integral part of our food.
Hot dogs are delicious
However you choose to eat them — with ketchup, with mayo, with mustard, hot dogs are a delight, especially if all the condiments and buns complement each other.
They are a baseball tradition
Some traditions are made to be followed, always. If you are watching a baseball match, whether on TV or the field, you need a hot dog in your hands. This food has been a staple at baseball games for over a century now, and we automatically associate these games with hot dogs.
National Hot Dog Month dates