Hot Dogs and the 4th of July

With the 4th of July just around the corner I thought it would be fun to do a little research on the hot dog, being that millions of Americans will be doing their annual 4th of July celebration which often includes indulging themselves with hot dogs.

Like many foods, the exact origin of the hot dog is often debated about who truly was the inventor of the hot dog. One of the theories is that the hot dog was derived from its predecessor the frankfurter which was developed in 1487 in Germany, just 5 short years before Christopher Columbus was to set sail for the new world. Many others feel that the American hot dog came from butchers of several nationalities that had traveled to America from Europe bringing along with them the traditions they had learned before leaving their mother land.  

1893 was the year that baseball parks began to sell sausages, it is believed that the tradition was started in St. Louis by a German immigrant who was the owner of the St. Louis Brown major league baseball team.[1]

The hot dog often goes by several different names, you will hear some people refer to hot dogs and franks or wieners. Traditionally a frank typically refers to an all-beef product while a wiener usually contains pork.

The U.S. Government defines a hot dog as being cooked, it is prepared from one or more kinds of muscle meat or poultry. Water and or ice, may be used to help mix the seasonings that are used to flavor the hot dog. Hot dogs may contain more than 30% fat or 10% water. Up to 3.5% of the hot dog can be a non-meat binder like not fat dry milk, cereal or dried whole milk, or it can be made up of 2% isolated soy protein. The U.S. Department of Agriculture requires that whatever ingredients are used in making the hot dog they must appear in the ingredient statement of the product. [2]

In 2020 consumers spent more than $7.68 billion on hot dogs and sausages in U.S. supermarkets.[3] Another fun fact, Mickey Mouse’s first on screen words were “Hot Dog” marking his transition from the silent screen. Residents of Los Angeles consume more hot dogs than any other city, in 2020 they consumed about 30 million pounds of hot dogs. On the 4th of July Americans will consume 150 million hot dogs, which is enough to stretch from D.C. to L.A. more than five times.[4]

The peak season for hot dogs runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day, during that time Americans will typically consume 7 billion hot dogs. That comes out to 818 hot dogs being consumer every second during that time frame.

Larger households that are made up of older children in the Midwest and south tend to be the highest consumers of refrigerated packaged meat products. A recent survey showed that sixty percent, which was mostly older consumers, stated they preferred all beef hot dogs, and the younger consumers preferred other products such as pork and chicken. [5]

So there is a little history and some facts about the American Hot Dog, Happy 4th of July, stay safe and go celebrate your freedom.


[1] https://www.hot-dog.org/culture/hot-dog-history

[2] http://hot-dog.org/sites/default/files/pdf/Hotdog-Facts-Figures-Folklore-Brochure.pdf

[3] http://hot-dog.org/media/consumption-stats

[4] http://hot-dog.org/media/consumption-stats

[5] http://hot-dog.org/media/consumption-stats


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