12 Hot Dog Facts

With the summer BBQ season around the corner, here are some amazing food trivia facts about hot dogs. Happy almost summer!

  • Food trivia about hot dogsBetween Memorial Day and Labor Day, Americans consume seven billion hot dogs.
  • The most popular condiment is mustard. Then come onions, chili, ketchup, relish, and sauerkraut.
  • Nathan Handwerker opened Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs (which remains a Coney Island institution) in 1916.
  • To counteract the stories of unhealthy ingredients in hot dogs, Handwerker hired men to wear surgeons’ smocks and eat lunch in his restaurants.
  • The largest seller of hot dogs is 7-Eleven, with 100 million served annually.
  • If you ask for a “hot dog” in New Zealand, you’ll get it battered on a stick like a corn dog. To get one on a bun, you have to ask for an “American hot dog.”
  • A “Chicago-style” hot dog never includes ketchup.
  • Hot dogs cause about 17 percent of all food asphyxiation deaths in children under 10.
  • According to Guinness, the most expensive hot dogs ever were 3/4-pound, 18-inch dogs sold for charity in 2012 at a Sacramento, California, restaurant. Topped with an impressive array of fancy condiments—moose milk cheese, maple-syrup bacon, organic baby greens, whole-grain mustard, and cranberries—the dogs cost $145.49 each, with proceeds donated to a children’s hospital.
  • The most hot dogs (with buns) consumed by one person in 10 minutes: 68. Joey Chestnut holds the record—he established it at an annual contest in Coney Island in 2009 and tied it in 2012.
  • The world’s longest hot dog stretched 196.85 feet and was prepared by Japan’s Shizuoka Meat Producers in 2006.
  • In the 1880s or ’90s, frankfurters (from Germany) and wieners (from Austria) became known as “hot dogs”—possibly because of the sausages’ similarities to dachshunds or maybe because of rumors about where the meat came from. (Germans regularly ate dog meat back then.)

Uncle John's Attack of the FactoidsThis story was originally published in Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Attack of the Factoids. For a full list of our titles, visit this handy checklist.