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story.lead_photo.caption Assorted hog dogs (from left) a Baltimore-style hot dog, Memphis-style hot dog and a dog topped with pickle relish and mustard. - Photo by Mitchell PE Masilun

Hot dogs tend to fall into two camps: kid food and street food.

Haute dogs exist, but they're novelties in the world of practical handheld tube steaks.

Today is Hot Dog Day -- according to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council. The council has designated July National Hot Dog Month, so even if you miss out celebrating today, there's plenty of time.

How does one celebrate Hot Dog Day? By eating hot dogs, of course.

But first, a little history.

Like most iconic American foods, hot dogs are an amalgamation with immigrant roots. In this case German, Austrian and Italian.

German and Austrian immigrants are credited with introducing the sausage to the New World, and by the 1890s hot dogs were standard American fare. If you consider two of our other names for hot dogs -- frankfurter (Frankfurt, Germany) and wiener (Vienna, Austria) -- it's easy to see the German and Austrian roots. But what about the Italian?

That's where it gets a little more complicated. The typical American hot dog is really just a miniature version of bologna, which is a cousin to the Italian mortadella. Mortadella is typically fattier than bologna, and often it contains nuts.

Just how similar are hot dogs and bologna? We compared the ingredients of a major brand's beef bologna and beef hot dogs to find out.

• Beef bologna: beef, water, contains less than 2 percent of salt, corn syrup, sodium lactate, flavor, dextrose, hydrolyzed beef stock, autolyzed yeast, sodium phosphates, sodium diacetate, sodium ascorbate, sodium nitrite, extractives of paprika.

• The same company's beef hot dogs: beef, water, corn syrup, contains less than 2 percent of: salt, potassium lactate, dextrose, sodium phosphates, sodium diacetate, flavor, ascorbic acid [vitamin C], extractives of paprika, sodium nitrite.

In fact, the U.S. Department of Agriculture considers frankfurters, hot dogs and bologna to be one and the same.

So sure, you could eat a bologna sandwich to celebrate National Hot Dog Day. Or take it a step further and have a Baltimore-style bologna dog (see Regional Hot Dogs for details).

But what about us vegetarians and vegans, you ask? Well, we have a hot dog for you, too. See Charred Carrot Dog recipe. Or simply make any of the following recipes with your favorite brand of vegetarian hot dogs and vegetarian chili and skip the bacon.

For the record, hot dogs can be made of any meat, but most are made of beef, pork or chicken. Unless specified in the ingredients list, hot dogs do not contain so-called "parts" -- i.e. organs, snouts and the like. Products containing byproducts will be labeled "with byproduct" or "with variety meats." Chicken and turkey hot dogs may contain skin and fat. Meat, except beef, may be mechanically separated. Hot dogs must be less than 10 percent water. They may be skinless, or have a natural casing; if the source of the natural casing is different from the meat -- a turkey and pork hot dog in a lamb casing, for example -- the label must state so.

For more information about hot dog composition and food safety, visit

While hot dogs (and bologna) are fully cooked, food safety experts recommend heating them until steaming to reduce the risk of listeriosis, especially if you have a weakened immune system.


Steam: Place a steamer basket in a pot. Fill pot with water to just below the steamer insert. Lay the hot dogs in the steamer basket. Bring the water to a boil, cover and steam 5 to 10 minutes.

Simmer: Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Add hot dogs and simmer 4 to 5 minutes. Do not boil.

Grill: Slash each hot dog a few times on opposite sides and grill, turning frequently, until heated through and beginning to char.

Pan cook: Place hot dogs in a skillet and add enough water to fill by 1/2 inch. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat and simmer until plumped, about 1 minute. Drain. Return hot dogs to skillet and cook, turning occasionally, until lightly colored, about 4 minutes. For extra flavor, add a couple of pats of butter to the skillet after you drain the water.

Bake: Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place hot dogs in a single layer in a baking dish or rimmed baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes, or until hot dogs are browned and beginning to curl.

Hot dogs, like pizza and barbecue styles, vary by region and personal preference. We're not going to tell you what we think is the right or wrong way to top a hot dog.


Whether locals in the places these dogs are named for actually eat their hot dogs like this is debatable.

Baltimore-style: a kosher, all-beef dog, wrapped in bologna, griddled, topped with yellow mustard and served in a toasted bun.

Chicago-style: all-beef dog in a steamed poppy seed bun and "dragged through the garden," aka topped with minced raw onion, neon green sweet relish, spicy sport peppers, a dill pickle spear, tomato slices, a squiggle of yellow mustard and a dash of celery salt.

Denver-style: topped with green chile sauce, red onions, jalapenos and sour cream.

French-style: just like a standard American hot dog with mustard and ketchup but served on a baguette. Some versions call for skipping the ketchup, topping the hot dog with shredded Gruyere cheese and running it under a broiler to melt.

Memphis-style: a bacon-wrapped hot dog topped with sliced green onions, cheese and barbecue sauce.

New York-style: New York City is famous for two kinds of hot dogs, those from hot dog carts and Papaya dogs. The quintessential New York hot dog, sometimes referred to as a dirty-water dog, is a boiled hot dog (hence the name) served on a bun and topped with mustard, sauerkraut and onion sauce. Papaya dogs refer to those like the kind sold at Gray's Papaya and Papaya King. These dogs are usually grilled.

Sonoran-style: a bacon-wrapped hot dog served in a split bolillo (a Mexican bread similar to a baguette) and topped with beans, tomatoes, onion, mayonnaise, mustard and jalapeno sauce with a roasted chile pepper on the side.

Venezuelan-style: Pork hot dog topped with yellow onion, shredded green cabbage, crumbled cotija cheese, crushed potato chips or crispy potato sticks, mayonnaise and ketchup.

Sources: Haute Dogs: Recipes for Delicious Hot Dogs, Buns, and Condiments by Russell van Kraayenburg, Serious Eats, Thrilllist, Food Network, Epicurious, Food Republic

Chili Dog Bake

4 cups favorite chili OR 2 (15-ounce) cans chili

1 can refrigerated crescent dough

8 hot dogs

1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided use

1 tablespoon butter, melted

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

2 tablespoons snipped chives OR green onion tops OR minced red onion

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Spread the chili in the bottom of an 11-by-7-inch or 13-by-9-inch baking dish; set aside.

Roll out crescent dough and pinch the perforations together to seal. Cut into 8 even squares. Divide and sprinkle 1 cup of the cheddar on each square and roll dough around a hot dog.

Place hot dogs in a row, seam-side down, over chili.

In a small bowl combine melted butter with the garlic powder. Brush on dough; bake 25 minutes, covering with foil if the crescent dough begins to get to dark. Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and bake 5 minutes more or until cheese is melted.

Sprinkle with chives, green onion or red onion just before serving. Serve hot.

Makes 8 servings.

Recipe adapted from

Cheesy Bacon Dogs

8 hot dogs

4-ounce block cheddar cheese

8 slices bacon

8 hot dog buns, toasted or steamed

Desired toppings such as relish, mustard, sauerkraut or kimchi, diced onion

Cut a slit lengthwise in each hot dog.

Cut the cheese into 8 (1/2) ounce sticks. Place a cheese stick inside the slit of each hot dog. Wrap each hot dog in bacon. If necessary, secure bacon with toothpicks.

Grill or pan-fry hot dogs, turning frequently, until bacon is crisp.

Serve on buns with desired toppings.

Makes 8 servings.

Recipe adapted from ESPN Game Day Gourmet by Pableaux Johnson

Jalapeno Popper Dogs

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese

1 fresh jalapeno, cored, seeded and minced, or to taste

1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided use

8 hot dogs

1 pat butter

8 hot dog buns, split top

Cilantro OR sliced green onions, for garnish

Heat broiler.

In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, the jalapeno and 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese in a medium bowl; mix well. Set aside.

In a skillet large enough to hold the hot dogs in a single layer, add just enough water to cover the bottom of the skillet by about 1/2 inch. Place the hot dogs in the water and cook over medium-high heat until water evaporates. Once water evaporates, add the butter and cook hot dogs, rolling frequently, until well browned on all sides, about 5 minutes.

Spread 1 to 2 tablespoons of the cream cheese mixture on the inside of each hot dog bun. Place a cooked hot dog in each bun and sprinkle on the remaining cheddar cheese, dividing it equally among all hot dogs.

Place the hot dogs on a foil lined baking sheet and place them in the oven under the broiler for about 30 seconds to 1 minute or just until cheese melts.

Garnish with cilantro and serve.

Makes 8 servings.

Recipe adapted from

We're not going to lie and tell you a charred carrot dog tastes like a hot dog because it doesn't. It tastes like a roasted carrot, but it is a tasty whole food, plant-based option.

Charred Carrot Dogs

6 very large carrots (the thickest you can find)

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Kosher salt and cracked black pepper

6 hot dog buns

Desired toppings such as vegetarian chili, chopped onion, sauteed onion, sauerkraut, pickle relish, ketchup or spicy mustard

Heat broiler. Line a baking sheet or broiler pan (preferably a small one so the carrots fit snugly on it for easier turning) with aluminum foil.

Arrange the carrots on the baking sheet in a single layer; broil until charred, giving them a quarter-turn every 5 minutes or so, for a total of about 20 minutes. Once they are blackened all over, remove them from the baking sheet and wrap them tightly in aluminum foil.

Or, you can char them on a grill.

Allow them to rest (wrapped) for 15 minutes, during which time they will finish cooking and will become infused with smoky flavor. Unwrap them, and once they are cool enough to handle, pull the charred exterior off each carrot just as you would for a roasted red pepper. (Do not rinse.) Drizzle the carrots with the toasted sesame oil, and season with the salt and pepper.

Serve warm on buns with desired toppings.

Makes 6 servings.

Recipe adapted from The Chubby Vegetarian by Justin Fox Burks and Amy Lawrence

Photo by Mitchell PE Masilun
Chili Dog Bake is a cross between pigs-in-a-blanket and a chili dog.
Photo by Mitchell PE Masilun
Charred Carrot Dog with sauteed onions and ketchup

Food on 07/18/2018

Print Headline: Dog days: All-American hot dog has roots in Austria, Germany and Italy

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