March 03, 2005

*Paul's lesson of the week

History of the Hot Dog*

Hot dogs were popular fare as far back as Roman times. That’s right, friends, long before linguine there were hot dogs.

The history of the hot dog can be traced to the year 850 BC where it was mentioned in Homer's Odyssey:

As when a man besides a great fire has filled a sausage with fat and blood and turns it this way and that and is very eager to get it quickly roasted...

There’s a long story about the Romans inventing the hot dog, but why belabor the point.

They next turn up in 1400s when a German butcher named Johann Georghehner made some in his basement and went to Frankfurt to promote this new food.

Enter the Bun

In the late 1800s, a German fellow by the name of Feuchtwanger was peddling hot dogs in the street. Sales were far and few between and he began to wonder why when a customer walked up. Feuchtwanger took the fellows cash, grabbed his tongs, and handed the man a hot dog that had been on the grill for several hours. Since the hot dog was about 350°, he started screaming and dropped the sausage. Feuchtwanger finally got the picture.

The next day Feuchtwanger started giving each customer a white glove so they wouldn’t burn their hands. It was not a profitable idea. It was then that bun was born. (Believe it or not, I have not started making things up yet.)

What’s in a hot dog?

Since Upton Sinclair published The Jungle in 1906, the government has taken at least some action to stop people from filling them with horses’ rectums and sawdust, but who really knows.

There are some hot dog terms regulated by law:

Beef/All-Beef - contain only beef, with no soybean protein or dry milk solid fillers added. Can that include cow lips and noses? I have my suspicions.

Kosher all-beef – self-explanatory.

Meat - a mixture of pork and beef, usually in a 40:60 ratio with no fillers. This opens the door to possible pig snouts and testicles.

Frankfurter - This may contain up to 3.5% fillers, and is made from a combination of meats. What do they mean by fillers? Supposedly flour, cereals or oatmeal, but I suspect it includes beetles, rat dung and a generous portion of floor sweepings.

Who makes the best hot dogs?

Hell if I know, they all taste like salt to me. I could probably make a case for Sabretts, but that’s probably because I’ve usually eaten them outside a bar at three o’clock in the morning. When I’d probably eat dog food.

*Some information has been fabricated for the sake of interest


Posted by Paul! at March 3, 2005 01:46 PM


I personally like the "Top Dogs" from Maple Leaf. I don't think you guys down south get these things but there is slightly less cow ass and horse penis in there than schneiders.

Posted by: Oorgo at March 3, 2005 05:47 PM

The best hot dogs in the world are Sahlens from the Redlinski Meats Company. Unfortunately they're only available in the northeast. My folks are coming down to visit us for the Easter holiday and a case of them is the price of admission to our house.

Posted by: Jim at March 4, 2005 05:33 AM

It would be more accurate to state the Romans invented *sausages*. "Hot Dogs" are a type of mildly-spiced sausage. I'm sure the FDA has a more stringent definition of "hot dog" vs. "sausage" but still.

How is Jen these days? Any news?

Posted by: Victor and his seventeen pet rats at March 4, 2005 06:42 AM

I can't stand Hot Dogs, I never liked them, even as a kid. So their really isn't a "best" one for me.

Posted by: contagion at March 4, 2005 07:11 AM

When you mentioned how good a hotdog tastes after a night of drinking, I thought to myself "Yeah, a night of drinking sounds awesome."

I'm a pizza guy though. Even though hotdogs are good foods for that particular period of time, there's nothing better than a fresh slice of pepperoni pizza. THAT makes a man want to drink.

Posted by: shank at March 4, 2005 07:41 AM

When you order a sausage or wurst in Germany, it comes on a little round bread roll called a broechen. The bread is tasty, but it's mainly there to keep you from burning your fingers. The wurst sticks way out from both ends.

Posted by: Ted at March 4, 2005 12:18 PM

I just thought it was interesting that mentioned that you'd eat a hot dog at a time when you'd probably eat dog food. Erm... a hot dog is pretty much made of the same snouts and entrails that dog food is made out of. (A frenchman invented the same thing, btw, only he made his "king-sized" and was from Bologna.) ;)

Posted by: Tuning Spork at March 5, 2005 06:22 PM