A hot dog (also known as a frankfurter, frank,
weenie) is a moist sausage of soft, even texture and flavor, often made
from advanced meat recovery or meat slurry. Most types are fully cooked, cured
or smoked. It is often placed hot in a special purpose soft, sliced hot dog bun.
Left: A cooked hot dog sandwich
garnished with mustard.
may be garnished with mustard, ketchup, onion, mayonnaise, relish, cheese, chili
sauerkraut. The flavor can be similar to a range of meat products from bland
bologna to spicy German bockwurst varieties. Hot dogs made from a range of meats
are on the market, but Kosher or Halal hot dogs must be made from beef, chicken
or turkey. Vegetarian hot dogs made from meat analogue are available.
Unlike other sausages which may be sold uncooked, hot dogs are always precooked
before packaging. Hot dogs can be eaten without additional cooking, although
they are usually warmed before serving. Since even the unopened packaged hot dog
can have bacteria it is safer to reheat them.
The term "dog" has been used as a synonym for sausage since
1884 and accusations that sausage makers used dog meat date to at least 1845.
The word frankfurter comes from Frankfurt, Germany, where pork sausages
served a bun similar to hot dogs originated. Wiener refers to Vienna,
Austria, whose German name is "Wien", home to a sausage made of a mixture of
pork and beef (cf.
Hamburger, whose name also derives from a German-speaking
Currently, hot dogs are one of the most famous fast food
there is, with
pizza slightly ahead. Throughout fairgrounds, parks and even
holiday sites, hot dog stands have been seen in many places.
A hot dog is distinguishable from other sausages by its
smaller size and relative lack of spicing. Common hot dog ingredients:
Meat and fat
Flavorings, such as salt, garlic, and paprika
Preservatives (cure) - typically sodium erythorbate and sodium nitrite
Pork and beef are traditional meats. Less expensive hot dogs are primarily
chicken or turkey, due to the low cost of mechanically separated poultry.
dogs have high sodium, fat and nitrite content, ingredients linked to health
problems. Due to changing dietary preferences, manufacturers have turned to
turkey, chicken, or vegetarian meat substitutes, and lowered salt content.
If a manufacturer produces two types of hot dogs, "wieners" tend to contain pork
and are blander, while "franks" tend to be all beef and more strongly seasoned.
Common hot dog condiments include mustard, ketchup, pickle
relish, cole slaw, sauerkraut, onion, mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato, cheese and
chili peppers. They are served in a bun.
Hot dogs are prepared commercially by mixing the ingredients
(meats, spices, binders and fillers) in vats where rapidly moving blades grind
and mix the ingredients in the same operation. This mixture is forced through
tubes into casings for cooking. Most hot dogs sold in the US are "skinless" as
opposed to more expensive "natural casing" hot dogs.
Hot dogs may be grilled, steamed, boiled, barbecued, pan
fried, deep fried, broiled, or microwaved. While hot dogs are cooked before
packaging, they should not be eaten cold from the package. Hot dogs and their
packaging fluid are sometimes contaminated with the bacterium Listeria
monocytogenes, which causes listeriosis, a serious foodborne illness.