Imagine attending a live baseball game and leaving the stadium without ordering a hot dog?
Does that sound right? How is that even possible? A hot dog is the climax of a good game.
In addition to hot dogs being a favorite for the gaming season, summer is generally the peak of hot dog consumption. In fact, it is estimated that around 7 billion of these beloved meals-on-a-bun are consumed between Memorial Day and Labor Day every year. That’s in America only.
This is a clear indication that America’s birthday wouldn’t be complete without a hot dog—it does not matter if it is off your backyard grill, campfire, your favorite joint, or at a ball game. Summertime cannot be complete without hot dogs.
Therefore, it’s not surprising that there is something special about hot dogs, and everyone is actively looking for the perfect excuse to enjoy a delicious hot dog.
But are you serving and eating your hot dog the correct way?
Yes! Believe it or not, there is proper hot dog etiquette.
Like every kingdom has rules that govern the way of living, the hot dog kingdom also has its own rules.
That is why the hot dog government has to stand firm and make sure rules are followed. A hot dog is meant to be unpretentious and casual and should be left at that.
Therefore, we made this guide to give clear dos and don’ts that define the correct way to serve and eat delicious dogs—these rules are mainly meant to keep people from getting too fancy with this summer staple.
Table of Contents
- Always “Dress the Dog,” Not the Bun
- Always Use Your Hands. Leave Forks and Knives to Fancy Dinners
- Licking Fingers Is a Good “Hot dog Omen”Lick Away
- Use Multi-Colored Toothpicks Instead of Cocktail Forks
- Paper Plates Are More Preferable, But You Can Still Use Your Everyday Dishes
- You Can Eat a Hot Dog Anytime
- Don’t Use Ketchup if You Are Above 18 Years
- Don’t Nibble on a Hot Dog. Devour It!
- Never Leave Bits of the Bun Behind. Finish It All!
- Never Call a Hot dog a Sandwich. It’s Abominable
- Don’t Plate Too Many Herbs With a Hot dog
- Don’t Waste Cloth Napkins. Paper Napkins Go a Long Way
- After a Hotdog Barbecue, Forget About Sending a Thank You Note
- Never Use Sun-Dried or Basil-Flavored Buns. Always the Sesame Seed, Poppy Seed, or Plain Buns
Always “Dress the Dog” Not the Bun
The order matters. Dressing a hot dog has a standard order to follow. As a rule of thumb, always put the topping on the top of the hot dog and never between the hot dog and the bun.
Also, keep in mind that wet condiments go first (ketchup or mustard, etc.), then the chunky ones like relish, sauerkraut, and onions. Next is cheese, and then the spices like pepper and salt go last.
Always Use Your Hands. Leave Forks and Knives to Fancy Dinners
According to the council, hands and messy fingers are the ways of the hot dog kingdom. Hot dogs are not meant for forks and knives. Leave those for your fancy Friday night dinners.
Also, it is preferable to serve hot dogs on a paper towel without any utensils unless it is inevitable, then you can use a paper plate. Any more than this, and you will be overdoing it.
Licking Fingers Is a Good “Hot dog Omen”—Lick Away
The condiments left on your fingers are not to be washed. Washing off the delicious sauces that are left on your fingers after eating a hot dog is considered poor hot dog etiquette in the hot dog kingdom. Instead, lick away!
It completes the pleasure of enjoying a hot dog, and it is a sign that the meal was delicious.
Use Multi-Colored Toothpicks Instead of Cocktail Forks
In the spirit of keeping it casual and unpretentious, consider using multi-colored toothpicks instead of fancy utensils like cocktail forks when serving cocktail wieners.
It will make the cocktail event look stylish without going too formal.
Paper Plates Are More Preferable, But You Can Still Use Your Everyday Dishes
The hot dog council advises always to use low-maintenance dishes. Your everyday dish will do just fine. However, it is more preferable to use paper plates.
It is not good etiquette to bring out your “fine China” for a frank. This goes hand in hand with using multi-colored toothpicks instead of your fine-and-dine cocktail forks.
You Can Eat a Hot Dog Anytime
Anytime is hot dog time! You can serve your hot and spicy dogs for breakfast or a late-night snack. It really doesn’t matter.
You can grab a frank on the go when running late for work in the morning, on your lunch break, or even in the evening when you are not exactly in the mood to fix dinner.
Don’t Use Ketchup if You Are Above 18 Years
Much to the dismay of many netizens, ketchup has officially been burned for persons above the age of 18. This is despite the ketchup popularity in the United States and the fact that over half of the population use it as a hot dog condiment.
But this was expected, as most hot dog hotspots like Chicago Dog and the New York Dog do not use ketchup on the hot dog.
Don’t Nibble on a Hot Dog. Devour It!
A hot dog is meant to be devoured. That is the only way you can get the full essence and taste out of it. When eating a hot dog, taking more than five bites out of the bunned delicacy is questionable (seven bites for a foot-long are acceptable but not preferred).
Each bite should include a good piece of bun with sufficient condiments to ensure that you feel the complete essence of the delicacy.
Never Leave Bits of the Bun Behind. Finish It All!
In addition to the point above, a good hot dog is a “finished” hot dog. Finish in five bites and finish it all! Leaving bits of the bun on the plate is disrespectful to the hot dog kingdom.
The idea is to ensure a good combination of a bun and condiments in every bite. That way, the hot dog will taste delicious up to the last mouthful.
Never Call a Hot Dog a Sandwich, It’s Abominable
Yes! A hot dog is not a sandwich.
This has been a philosophical and undetermined question for quite a while. Is a hot dog also a sandwich?
Well, now there is a final verdict.
According to Eric Mittenthal, president of the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council (popularly referred to as The Hot Dog Top Dog), hot dogs are not sandwiches. Calling a hot dog a sandwich is robbing this summer delicacy of its identity.
Don’t Plate too Many Herbs With a Hot Dog
A hot dog does not need fancy garnishes. In truth, a little too many herbs on the plate over-does the hot dog presentation and steals the spotlight from the delicacy.
Keep the presentation simple and stick with a laid-back presentation. Keep in mind that with hot dogs, less is always more.
Don’t Waste Cloth Napkins, Paper Napkins Go a Long Way
To keep up with the simplicity and casual nature of hot dogs, cloth napkins are not recommended. They are just too fancy for hot dogs. Instead, use paper napkins.
After a Hot Dog Barbecue, Forget About Sending a Thank You Note
It is common courtesy to send a thank you note after an event; however, not for the hot dog party. A hot dog barbecue is a casual event, and sending a thank you note will make it too formal and kill the unpretentious vibe.
You can thank the host as you leave the party but then leave it at that. Any more formalities and you lose the whole purpose of the hot dog barbecue.
Never Use Sun-Dried or Basil-Flavored Buns. Always the Sesame Seed, Poppy Seed, or Plain Buns
No matter how much you like your basil-flavored bread, you can never use it for a hot dog. According to the council, a hot dog will only use sesame seeds, poppy seeds, or plain buns.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are hot dogs bad for your health?
Hot dogs cannot exactly be called healthy or hang out in the same class as your favorite bowl of garden salad. However, the hot dog health quotient has significantly improved in the recent past.
It is not the same as the ages when hot dogs were stuffed with random mystery meat and unhealthy fats.
Are hot dogs precooked?
Yes! Your store-bought hot dog is already fully cooked—unless you are using raw hot dogs bought from your local butcher. However, it is not advisable to consume them without pre-heating them first.
According to FDA, pre-heating hot dogs helps kill the bacteria Listeria, which might have contaminated the hot dog through its storage life.
What is the best way to cook hot dogs?
There are no rules set in stone on how you can cook your hot dogs. It is more about preference than guidelines. However, using a grill for your hot dog makes the juiciest and tastiest hotdogs. A grill makes them smokey on the outside while still juicy and hot on the inside.
You can also boil or steam your hot dogs. However, if they break while boiling, there is a risk of them getting soaked and soggy.
Finally—The rules are already laid down. Stay compliant
So there you have it. Now you know the correct hot dog etiquette. You are aware of the correct way to serve and enjoy your beloved delicacy.
In summary, here are the dos and don’ts of the hot dog kingdom.
|Always “dress the dog” not the bun||Don’t use ketchup if you are above 18 years|
|Always use your hands. Leave forks and knives to fancy dinners||Don’t nibble on a hot dog. Devour it!|
|Licking fingers is a good “hot dog omen” lick away||Never leave bits of the bun behind. Finish it all!|
|Use multi-colored toothpicks instead of cocktail forks||Never call a hot dog a sandwich. It’s abominable|
|Paper plates are more preferable, but you can still use your everyday dishes||Don’t plate too many herbs with a hot dog|
|You can eat hot dogs anytime||Don’t waste cloth napkins. Paper napkins go a long way|
|After a hot dog barbecue, forget about sending a thank you note|
|Never use sun-dried or basil-flavored buns. Always the sesame seed, poppy seed, or plain buns|
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