Joey Chestnut and Dogs - © 2017 Nathan's Famous

Celebrate Hot Dog Month: Indulge In A Childhood Treat

We mentioned that July is Hot Dog Month (in the U.S. and Canada) back on July 4, when we covered the annual Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest. But we should be celebrating the Noble Frank all month!

Trophy Presention 2016 - © 2016 Nathan's FamousJoey Chestnut (right) and Miki Sudo (left) accept their championship belts
following the annual Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest.

But when is Hot Dog DAY?

That’s a matter of dispute. Some folks celebrate Hot Dog Day on the third Wednesday in July. That makes sense, since July is Hot Dog month. But others insist Hot Dog Day is in September. We’ll defer to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, which endorses the July date.

The month gets started with a bang on July 4, when Americans consume more Dogs than on any other day of the year. It’s a national tradition.

July 4 is also the date of the legendary Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, which crowns the men’s and women’s world champions.

Which brings us to Nathan…

The Hot Dog ad we know it was invented, or at least brought to America, by Nathan Handwerker in 1916. The German immigrant and his plucky wife stole his mother-in-law’s recipe for all-beef sausages and went into business for himself. He had been working for another NYC sausage maker, but wanted to let his entrepreneurial spirit loose.

A hundred years later, Nathan’s Famous Original dogs are available in supermarkets across the land, and at thousands of street carts, stadiums and arenas. And his original Coney Island stand is still standing. Give or take a brief closure for repairs after Hurricane Sandy.

While Nathan’s holds a special place in many hearts, virtually all meat processors make a facsimile of his creation today. And everyone has their own favourite brand.

But what sets individual Hot Dog preferences apart is really the dressings.

Tip Hot Dog Toppings

The most popular Hot Dog toppings the world over stack up as follows…

  1. Mustard
  2. Ketchup
  3. Onions
  4. Chili
  5. Relish
  6. Sauerkraut
  7. Cole Slaw
  8. Jalapeños
  9. Cheese
  10. Mayo

Of course, you can put almost anything on your Hot Dog – and most folks do. That’s the beauty of the eternal Weenie – anything goes (with)!

So what do I have on a dog?

I don’t always choose a hot dog when eating off the grill. But when I do, I choose an all-beef Frank. The average Hot Dog, by the way, clocks in at about 130 calories. Not bad, really. The bun comes in at about 100.

But as suggested above, I make my Dog mine and mine along by topping it my way.

That means Melted Cheese, Mustard, Mayo, and a few Jalapeños. But, if Chili is available, just that, with melted cheese on top.

Do I stop at just one? Usually not, unless I really pile on the toppings, or there’s dessert coming. Fear not, Miki Sudo. I’ll never be a serious challenger for your Nathan’s Contest title.

Set health concerns aside

For just a day or two, set aside health concerns about Hot Dogs and let yourself indulge in a treat from the old days; from your childhood, for sure.

Don’t let anyone tell you what to put on it. Dressing it is your God-given right.

And have more than one if you like. Accompanied by a salad and a beer, it’s still a medium-weight meal, built to satisfy.

Just don’t let Hot Dog Month go by uncelebrated!

~ Maggie J.