July is National Hot Dog Month, and whilst you might think this meaty snack is quintessential America, it was actually invented in Europe.
There are conflicting claims to the exact origins of the popular cinema snack – one story claims two Austro-Hungarian immigrants, Emil Reichel and Sam Ladany, brought the hot dog with them from Europe to Chicago.
Later, they founded a famous beef production company that’s still churning out hot dogs today. Meanwhile, officials in Frankfurt, Germany, say that hot dogs were invented in their city in 1487 and, according to a third tale, a butcher named Johann Georghehner, who lived in Coburg, Germany, invented the hot dog during the late 1600s, and travelled to Frankfurt to promote his new food.
But whoever made the first one, the spiritual home of the hot dog is definitely the USA with the average American eating 60 hot dogs a year! During the recent July 4th weekend celebrations it’s been estimated more than 155 million hot dogs were eaten!
But why the canine name? You’ll be relieved to hear it’s got nothing to do with what goes into the sausages, instead the title ‘hot dog’ is credited to sports cartoonist Tad Dorgan. At a 1901 baseball game in New York, vendors began selling hot dachshund sausages in rolls (so called because the sausages looked like the dog!). From the press box, Dorgan could hear the vendors yelling, “Get your dachshund sausages while they’re red hot!” He sketched a cartoon depicting the scene but wasn’t sure how to spell ‘dachshund’ so he called them simply ‘hot dog’ and the rest is history.
For such a humble food, there’s quite a lot of etiquette around preparing and eating your hot dog. If you want to get it right make sure you squeeze your favourite condiment on the meat not the bun – in American mustard is the favourite topping with ketchup a close second. You should always eat it with your fingers (never a knife and fork) and don’t use a fancy bun – simple white bread is best! Whether the Apollo 11 astronauts, who were served freeze dried hot dogs in space, followed all these rules isn’t known!
Someone who did stick to the rules was hot dog lover Joey Chestnut from Kentucky who set a world record earlier this year when he ate 74 hot dogs and buns in just 10 minutes!
The great thing about hot dogs is they’re easy to make, portable and relatively cheap! Well, most are – the world’s most expensive hot dog sold in Seattle, Washington, for $169. The cheese bratwurst was smothered in butter Teriyaki grilled onions, Maitake mushrooms, wagyu beef, foie gras, shaved black truffles, caviar, and Japanese mayonnaise on a brioche bun! The ultimate comfort food!
If you want a new twist on this traditional favourite why not try chef John’s Korean inspired hot dogs.
This is his on hot dogs using Korean flavours, which are bang on trend at the moment, and with its natural ferments and pickles they are considered good for healthy gut functions.
Korean Corn Dog
• 1 (12-oz.) package hot dogs
• 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
• 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
• 2 Tablespoons sugar
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/8 teaspoon salt
• 1 large egg
• 1/2 cup whole milk
• Vegetable oil, for frying
- First heat a deep pan of vegetable oil or deep fat fryer.
- Next prepare the corn dog batter by combining the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, egg and milk.
- Coat each hot dog generously in the batter and fry in the vegetable oil until golden.
- We’ve served this in a sliced hot dog bun and a light carrot and cucumber pickle, Korean cheese sauce and spicy mayo.
Kimichi Hot Dog
• 1 Chinese cabbage
• 1tbsp sea salt
• 3 garlic cloves, crushed
• 2½ cm/1in piece ginger, grated
• 2 tbsp fish sauce (optional)
• 2 tbsp sriracha chilli sauce or chilli paste (see below)
• 1 tbsp golden caster sugar
• 3 tbsp rice vinegar
• 8 radishes, coarsely grated
• 2 carrots cut into matchsticks or coarsely grated
• 4 spring onions finely shredded
- Slice the cabbage into 2.5cm strips. Tip into a bowl, mix with 1 tbsp sea salt, and then set aside for 1 hr.
- Meanwhile, make the kimchi paste by blending the garlic, ginger, fish sauce (if using), chilli sauce, sugar and rice vinegar together in a small bowl.
- Rinse the cabbage under cold running water, drain and dry thoroughly. Transfer to a large bowl and toss through the paste, along with the radishes, carrot and spring onions. Serve straight away or pack into a large jar, seal and leave to ferment at room temperature overnight, then chill. Will keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks – the flavour will improve the longer it’s left.
- For this we heated up the hot dogs and using warm buns spread the inside of buns with Korean cheese sauce before adding some baby spinach a hot dog and topped with the kimchi, some deep fried kale rolled in furikake (rice seasoning) * and finally a little gochugang mayo.