Some trace its origins to the Romans, where Nero was served a sausage on a bun. The German city, Frankfurter claims some credit (of course) and the Viennese invented the wienerwurst (wiener).
But the man responsible for popularizing the hot dog in the United States was Nathan Handwerker, a Jewish immigrant from Poland. Nathan worked on Coney Island until he’d saved enough to buy his own cart and sell hot dogs with “warm buns”. By the 1930s, Nathan’s hot dogs were famous across North American.
Where You Are From Dictates the Kind of “Dog”
Plan a hot dog menu, with a selection of toppings and condiments. Put out menu cards with the various regional varieties of hot dogs so guests can choose their preference!
- New Yorker Classic: served with steamed onions and deli-style yellow mustard.
- Chicago: yellow mustard, dark green relish, chopped raw onion, pickle spear, sport peppers, tomato slices, topped with a dash of celery salt and served in a poppy seed bun.
- Atlanta and US South: dogs served “dragged through the garden”, meaning they are topped with coleslaw.
- Kansas City: Serve with sauerkraut and melted Swiss cheese on a sesame seed bun.
- Texas: Chili, cheese and jalapenos.
- Montreal: Quebecers steam the dog instead of boiling. Top with coleslaw, onion, mustard, relish.
- Prairies: In accordance with Ukranian tradition, serve with a slice of bacon, sauerkraut, chopped fried onions and mayo.
- Beaches Living Canadiana Dog: Dijon mustard on the bun (a tribute to our French culture) and two slices of bacon; topped fresh Ontario chopped tomatoes, shredded cheddar and a dollop of mayo.
- Veggie or meat: Don’t worry about it. Once you have your toppings, you hardly notice!!
- Best buns: Soft, so when you bite into your hot dog, you don’t squish the dog out the end of the bun.
- Cooking: Boil (traditional), gently BBQ, fry or steam (French Canadian style)
- The best dogs: Pick what you like best. Your hot dog experience mostly depends on fresh buns, fresh dressings and condiments – and being outside to enjoy it!
Hot Dog Etiquette
- Toppings: Put hot dog toppings between the hot dog and the bun. This is referred to as “dressing the dog,” not the bun.
- Condiments applied in the following order: wet condiments like mustard and chili first, followed by chunky condiments like relish, onions and sauerkraut, then by shredded cheese, and last, spices, like celery salt or pepper.
- How to eat it: Always on a bun with your hands!