Apparently between July 4th and Labor Day 7 million Hot dogs are eaten in the nation. Well German immigrants in NYC were the original sellers of frankfurters and weiners in milk rolls with sauerkraut from 1860′s onwards and New York and the whole nation has never been the same since.
Coney island was from 1871, originally the best known place to get a good hot dog, and today the most famous hot dog stand in the nation is still there, Nathan’s.
NYC’s hot dogs are unique in that almsot of them are all beef. The beef is finely milled, has salt, garlic and paprika added, and is stuffed into an intestinal casing and then boiled, griddled or grilled. There is a dispute about how they got their name and also about who invented the long, squashy, soft roll that they are served in. What is known is that unlike the frankfurter which was definitely a German product originally, the soft rolls were an all American invention.
Hot dogs spread everywhere with the spread of baseball in the 20th Century and the idea being at the game and eating a hot dog while you watch is deeply imbedded in the national psyche.
These days there is a national debate about who has the best dogs. A lot of the dispute is about the fine tuning. New Yorkers overwhlming prefer the all beef dog whereas people in other cities like their dogs made with a mixture of beef and pork. Then the toppings, ahhhh the toppings. New Yorkers like the original sauerkraut and will not turn up their nose at onions and mustard as well. Those with less cultivated tastes go for a load of toppings that all but smother the dog itself in a deluge of accompanying flavors.
Visitors to NYC are warned off what is called the ‘dirty water dogs’, dogs cooked in boiling water and then left to sit in it waiting for a hungry customer to turn up and get one. Unfortunately the majority of hot dog stands in tourist spots these type of dogs. If you are a visitor, and you want a better hot dog experience seek out a bricks and mortar hot dog shop and get a real beef one grilled or griddled to perfection. Katz’s Delicatessen serves a mean one as does Grifs dogs.