Hot dog

From BR Bullpen

A hot dog is a type of food consisting of a sausage inserted in a bun. It is a typical ballpark food and its association with baseball dates back to the early 20th century, with evidence that it was being sold at the Polo Grounds in New York, NY as early as the 1900s. There is some controversy as to whether the name itself was first adopted in relation to the sausages sold at ball games, or was in earlier use before that. In any case, the connection between the two has not abated since then.

The sausages used in hot dogs originally came from Germany, reaching the United States in the late 19th century. The names used for the sausages, i.e. "frankfurters" (from the city of Frankfurt) or "wieners" (from Vienna) reflect these Germanic origins. However, the idea of putting the sausages in a bun is an American invention, as one of the earliest forms of convenience food (the bun allowed customers to eat the sausage on the go, without burning or soiling their hands).

The sausage can be made of pork, beef, chicken or even from non-meat products. Contrary to what some children believe, no dog meat is involved (the name dog likely comes from the fact the sausage resembles certain breeds of long, short-legged dogs like the dachshund). It is typically served with mustard, ketchup and other condiments such as sauerkraut, hot peppers, relish, etc. A kosher version of the dish is quite prevalent as well. The sausage can be either grilled, boiled or steamed, with each cooking method having its proponents.

Famous dogs include the "Dodger Dog" sold at Dodger Stadium (selling over 1.6 million a season) and the famous hot dogs that were sold at Yankee Stadium and Shea Stadium in New York City. There are hot dog races, with mascots dressed as hot dogs competing against one another, held between innings at Miller Park in Milwaukee, WI and Progressive Field in Cleveland, OH. The Chicago Dogs are named for the dish, as their logo clearly reflects.

Further Reading[edit]

  • Bennett Jacobstein: The Joy of Ballpark Food: From Hot Dogs to Haute Cuisine, Ballpark Food Publications, San Jose, CA, 2015. ISBN 978-0692336540
  • Chris Landers: "The history of classic ballpark foods, explained: Why is it 'peanuts and Cracker Jack,' anyway?",, April 3, 2020. [1]