A lot of people have fond memories of eating hot dogs. From family days at an amusement park to watching your favorite football team, if there’s one snack that you can always count on, it’s a hot dog!
Today, we have seen the humble hot dog transformed, with many different toppings available and “gourmet” hot dogs becoming a feature at music festivals and events.
No matter whether you like yours plain, you are a fan of the traditional ketchup and mustard combination, or you like everything from nacho cheese to jalapeños on your hot dog, National Hot Dog day gives you the perfect excuse to tuck into this treat.
Vegetarian? Fear not! You don’t have to miss out on the fun either, as meat-free hot dogs are widely available!
So, with that being said, read on to discover everything you need to know about National Hot Dog Day and how to make the most of the occasion.
What Is National Hot Dog Day?
While National Hot Dog Day is not a national holiday, it is an informal holiday celebrated in the United States and in some other countries. National Hot Dog Day is not a set day every year, but mostly takes place during the end of July, usually the third Wednesday.
July is actually National Hot Dog Month and National Hot Dog Day is just one of many days during the month that celebrates the classic street eats. This day marks the event called the Annual Hot Dog Lunch at Capitol Hill, hosted by the North American Meat Institute. This is a huge event where lawmakers, officials, and hot dog vendors come together to enjoy a patriotic lunch that focuses on the classic American hot dog.
When Is National Hot Dog Day?
This year’s National Hot Dog Day is scheduled for Wednesday, July 20, 2022.
While you can enjoy a hot dog any day of the year, celebrating with others across the country on National Hot Dog will not only appease your appetite but help you be a part of America’s rich history as well.
Make sure you make a note of this in your calendar so you can take advantage of any promotions or deals and gorge on your favorite snack for less.
Ways to Celebrate National Hot Dog Day
One of the most simple ways to enjoy and celebrate National Hot Dog Day is to create your own masterpiece.
1. Create Your Own Recipe
With all the endless options out there, you can create a classic hot dog, or add your own toppings to make it your own. You can change up the classic hot dog bun for a potato roll or pretzel bun for a unique taste.
2. Try a Different Way to Cook a Hot Dog
You can also choose your dog depending on what you prefer. There are many ways to cook it, and most are super quick. You can grill them, boil them, or even pop them in the microwave for a quick and easy meal. By enjoying a hot dog on National Hot Dog Day you are celebrating with many across the country, even if it is from the comforts of your own kitchen.
3. Throw a Hot Dog Party
Another way to be more festive about this patriotic hot dog day is to throw a hot dog party. Yes! These are totally a thing. It can be a small backyard barbecue with family and close friends, or a bigger neighborhood gathering to enjoy different hot dogs.
Enjoying food with other people is always better, and what better way to make an excuse to gather all your loved ones than a hot dog party?
4. A Hot Dog Eating Contest
It is also a fun way to get kids involved in making their own food choices and maybe even throw in a little hot dog eating contest. While a hot dog party may sound absurd, why not celebrate one of the most iconic affordable and delicious American foods?
5. Attend an Event
Another way to celebrate National Hot Dog Day this year is to do it at a baseball game or amusement park. What better way to enjoy than watching your favorite baseball game or waiting in line for the next roller coaster?
Since they are such a large part of the ball game and amusement park culture, it fits right into celebrating the iconic American food we all love.
History Behind Hot Dogs
While many people believe that hot dogs originated in America, it actually didn’t. Germany had actually been enjoying what they know as hot dogs, called bratwurst or frankfurter. It first came to America when German immigrants brought their food culture with them. It is believed to have started in New York, which were originally named the dachshund sausage after the popular dachshund dogs that have a similar shape.
A popular birthplace of hot dogs in America is from a small stand on Coney Island started by Charles Feltman, a German immigrant. The easy and cheap eat grew massively in popularity and in that year alone, they sold over 3,600 hot dogs. Hot dogs became a large part of American culture when Chris Von de Ahe brought his love for hot dogs and baseball together. While it is not completely clear how National Hot Dog Day began, it is rumored to have first started by students in Alfred, New York.
The quick and cheap bite to eat was favored by many students, and they began eating and celebrating the hot dog for a whole week. Now hot dogs are celebrated throughout the whole month of July. Some of its highlights being National Hot Dog Day, festivals, Weiner Dog Races, Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest.
Why You Should Love Hot Dogs
Hot dogs have shifted into a more negative light, but they are better than you may think. The term hot dog may have you thinking mystery dog meat or other nasty thoughts, but this food, like others, goes through strict rules and regulations.
What is not to love about a cheap, quick, and easy bite to eat on during the dog days of summer, or really anytime of the year?
1. The Mystery Dog Meat Myth
Hot dogs mainly have a bad rap because of what people believe to be inside them. It is true that during the lows of the meat industry, there were some questionable practices, those days are long gone.
They are still rumored to be made from parts that nobody wants such as the pig’s lips or snouts and even worse. With a bad note lingering in the back of people’s minds, it is no wonder that some people choose to stay away from them. Contrary to what the hot dog haters, or avid anti-meat activists say, hot dogs are actually made from real meat and not actually mystery meat.
The process of how hot dogs are made is extremely transparent and usually contain real chicken, pork, beef, or a combination. Because of the process of grinding meat and stuffing it into a hot dog casing can be unsightly or disturbing to some, people have given the tasty food a bad reputation.
I agree, it definitely can look something like alien parts, but we assure you that the process is completely safe. If you are not a meat lover, there are plenty of meatless alternatives such as tofu dogs on the market. Just because it does not contain meat, doesn’t make it any less a hot dog.
The next time someone hates on the hot dog or sends you a YouTube video of a meat mixture video, you can stay assured that hot dogs are actually safe, real meat and delicious to eat.
2. Price is Right
The affordable price of a hot dog does not make it any less of a great food item. While it is a cheap and convenient bite to eat, it is delicious and still something to celebrate.
While a street dog may not be an instagram-worthy foodie post, the price really can’t be beat. Even expensive and artisan hot dogs come in at an affordable price that is attainable by everyone.
While cheap may not sound great in every context, when it comes down to food, an affordable bite is completely worth it.
3. Quintessential American Food
Another reason to enjoy hot dogs is the rich history and American love for them. Even though more than 80% of Americans say that we love hot dogs, it is also true that people feel judged or hate on the hot dog.
The cheap eats are associated with backyard barbecues, quick sport event bites, and a quick and easy dinner. While some may view it as the mysterious meat rods, the hot dog has made its way into a big part of our lives.
Before the hot dog’s reputation was tarnished from anti-meat activists or meat industry skeptics, Americans loved the weiner and families would eat them for dinner every week on Wednesdays, also known as Wiener Wednesdays.
Not that outlandish stories and false rumors have been spread about the innocent dogs, some people are skill skeptical and feel judged while eating them. For such a quintessential and iconic American food, people should feel proud and happy eating it.
We have done our research so the next time you are craving a hot dog, go get yourself one and feel good about it!
4. Protein Packed
These days protein is all the rage. It helps to build muscle, while helping others lose weight. With a rise in keto and more health-conscious diets, hot dogs is definitely not a health food that comes to mind first.
However, hot dogs are actually quite healthy. They definitely can be unhealthy if you load it up with toppings and condiments.
Contrary to belief, even salads that are topped with fatty dressing and crunchy dough strips can be worse than a classic hot dog. A regular hot dog with the bun only comes out to about 150 calories that contain 5 grams of protein. It is a perfect choice for those that are going on a high-protein or keto diet.
For those that are still worried about the nutrition of a hot dog, there are healthier alternatives such as turkey dogs with less sodium or a plant based alternative. Others are concerned that hot dogs are full of unhealthy nitrates, which is commonly used in meats to keep it safe.
While it may sound like a harmful chemical compound, they actually occur naturally in vegetables. While eating a couple hot dogs every day probably won’t help you lose weight, they are a great addition for those looking to put on some muscle.
5. Unleash Your Creativity
A classic hot dog is something you can never go wrong with, but it is also a blank canvas that you can make your own.
A hot dog is usually smoked and full of flavor, but works well with a wide range of condiments and toppings. Some innovative chefs add their twist and take and even bring hot dogs into upscale restaurant menus.
You can do the same from the comfort of your own home. Some have taken a fusion approach to hot dogs, bringing in other cultures and merging it with hot dogs. Some fusion famous hot dog toppings include kimchi, sauerkraut and much more. Other chefs add luxury foods to make it a fancy dog such as:
- foie gras
- wagyu beef
As such a simple food, hot dogs are extremely versatile and let you make the classic dog into your own creation. Who knows, maybe someday you could even charge over $100 for your own “Mark Dog” or “Christy Dog”. Even though the classic dog is great on its own, the unlimited bun, meat, toppings and condiment options are simply endless.
What’s Everyone’s Favorite Hot Dog Toppings?
You may be wondering what most Americans like to have on their hot dogs!
It may not come as a surprise to learn that 71 percent of Americans who eat hot dogs say that mustard is their preferred topping.
Next, 52 percent have ketchup on their hot dog, 47 percent add onions, 45 percent like chili, and 41 percent will have relish with their hot dog.
So that’s the most popular toppings covered, but this National Hot Dog Day, why not get a little bit adventurous and try some toppings you would not usually go for? There are no limits!
Create a Buffalo Dog with crumbled blue cheese, celery slaw, blue cheese dressing, and hot sauce.
Or, what about a Hawaiian Dog? Combine pineapple and jalapeno relish with griddled Canadian bacon, and paprika honey mustard… delicious!
Don’t Make These Mistakes When Making A Hot Dog
A lot of people think that hot dogs are so simple to make that you cannot possibly go wrong. Think again!
When treating yourself to this classic treat, you want to make sure that it is satisfying and leaves your belly full and a smile on your face. For this to be the case, there are some key hot dog-making mistakes you need to avoid. This includes the following:
- Using the wrong bun; hot dog buns are there for a reason!
- Not toasting the buns
- Letting the casings burst; you need to be careful while assembling your hot dog
- Purchasing small, tinned hot dogs
- Not prepping the grill
Make A Real Occasion Of It
Hot Dog Day is about so much more than simply enjoying a tasty hot dog. Yes, that’s a big part of it! However, you need to think about what hot dogs represent. It is the nostalgia that is associated with them that makes them so special.
So, why not really make a day of National Hot Dog Day and head to your local theme park or go and watch your favorite football or baseball team play?
There’s only one rule: make sure that a hot dog is your snack of choice while you’re enjoying yourself with your friends and family.
Final Thoughts on National Hot Dog Day
Hot dogs may not be glamorous, but they’re tasty, and that’s what matters, right? So, we believe it’s about time we started celebrating this American classic!