Are you a hot dog lover? National Hot Dog Day is celebrated on the third Wednesday in July. And the beloved sandwich deserves a special day because it is one of America’s favorite summer foods! The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council created this day and holds an annual hot dog lunch in our nation’s Capital.
It has been reported that in the U.S., the very first hot dog – once called “dachshund” sausages – was sold from a food cart in New York by a German immigrant in the 1860s. Around 1870, a German immigrant named Charles Feltman opened the first hot dog stand on Coney Island, NY.
Last year, it was reported that Americans spent $6.2 billion on hot dogs and sausages in U.S. supermarkets. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, Americans typically consume seven billion hot dogs. That’s 818 hot dogs eaten every second during that period! Independence Day is the biggest hot dog consumption day of the year in the U.S. It is estimated that over the long July 4th weekend, more than 155 million are consumed.
Many folks around Genesee County believe that it isn’t a “real” hot dog unless it was made at Koegel Meats right here in Flint. A few years ago, I toured the facility where (my favorite) Vienna hot dogs are made, while writing a story for MCM. I interviewed John Koegel, President of the family-owned, century-old company, who said they still use the original recipes and processes learned and developed by Founder, Albert Koegel.
What’s your favorite hot dog? I love a Flint-style Coney dog which is found on Coney Island menus all around Genesee County. I also love taking my grandkids to the Hot Dog Stand in Grand Blanc, known for its famous red sauce.
Now that the “dog days” of summer are upon us, I love visiting the Flint Farmers’ Market in Downtown Flint to devour a delicious hot dog from B-Dogs Specialty Hot Dog Cart, owned by Davison Mayor, Tim Bishop. Using ONLY Koegel products, B-Dogs offers a variety of specialty dogs such as the Flint Original Coney and my favorite, the Coney Crunch: topped with Flint-style Coney sauce, melted cheese, crushed Fritos chips and sliced jalapeños.
It has been said that people from Chicago, IL take their hot dogs very, very seriously. My friend Vera, who grew up in the Windy City, says the only “real” hot dog is served Chicago-style. The all-beef, kosher-style hot dog is served in a steamed poppy seed bun, topped with (in this order) yellow mustard, sweet green pickle relish, onion, tomato wedges, pickle spear, sport peppers and celery salt … NO ketchup, period!
You can celebrate National Hot Dog Month with a visit to your favorite Coney Island, or just fire up the grill and cook up your own Koegels. Hot diggity dog!