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The List: Top 10 facts about the hot dog

- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 2, 2013

July is National Hot Dog Month. In honor of this tasty treat, which many Americans eat as they celebrate their country's birthday on the Fourth of July, The List this week looks at the top 10 facts about the hot dog.

  • 10. When in the course of human events … — Americans consume 150 million hot dogs on the Fourth of July.
  • 9. All in — The meats used in hot dogs come from the muscles of the animal. Hot dogs may contain pork, beef, chicken and turkey, or a combination of meat and poultry. This meat is then mixed with water, garlic, salt, sugar, ground mustard, nutmeg, coriander and white pepper. Ultimately, it is cured and cooked.
  • 8. Go west, young man — Residents of Los Angeles ate more than 95 million hot dogs in 2012, more than any other city in America. One of the most famous L.A. hot dog stands is Pink's. This family owned eatery has been in operation since 1939 and serves locals, tourists and celebrities alike.
  • 7. Oh, thank heaven — Did you know 7-Eleven sells more fresh-grilled hot dogs than any other retailer in America? D.C. consumers buy more hot dogs from 7-Eleven than anyone else in the country.
  • 6. A tasty treat — A Mexican variation on the hot dog — The Sonoran hot dog — originated in Hermosillo, the capital of the Mexican state of Sonora. Mexican immigrants brought it with them into Arizona, and it is now spreading throughout the country. The Sonoran hot dog is a bacon-wrapped hot dog placed in a Mexican bolillo roll topped with pinto beans, chopped tomatoes, onions, jalapeno sauce, cheese, mayonnaise, ketchup and mustard. It is served with roasted chili on the side.
  • 5. All you can eat — Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest, which began in 1916, has grown in popularity over the past several decades. The event, which takes place at Nathan's hot dog stand on Coney Island every Fourth of July, attracts contestants worldwide and is broadcast on ESPN. The object is to eat as many hot dogs as you can in 10 minutes.
  • 4. Take me out to the ballgame — While there is more variety in stadium cuisine, followers of the national pastime still love their hot dogs. Baseball fans are expected to consume more than 20 million hot dogs during the 2013 season.
  • 3. Meet me in St. Louis, Louis, meet me at the fair — The 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Louisiana Purchase and showcased scientific advances and introduced new products to thousands of visitors from around the country. While the hot dog is believed to have existed before the fair, many visitors to the fair were exposed to it for the first time. They quickly took a liking to this food, which in turn helped popularize the hot dog throughout America.
  • 2. Feeling lucky — In "Dirty Harry" (1971), a bank robbery interrupts Harry Callahan's (Clint Eastwood) regular hot dog lunch. At the end of the scene, Harry with his .44 Magnum stands over a wounded robber who is about to reach for a shotgun, Harry intones the classic line: "I know what you're thinking. Did he fire six shots or only five? Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself. But being this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you've got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya punk?"
  • 1. Fit for a queen — When King George VI and Queen Elizabeth made the first visit to the United States by a British monarch in 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt welcomed them to his Hyde Park estate by hosting a picnic. At the picnic, FDR served the king and queen hot dogs. The picnic made the front page of The New York Times. 

Compiled by John Sopko
Sources: National Hot Dog & Sausage Council, 7-Eleven, Pink's, NPR, Tucson Citizen, Nathan's, Wikipedia, Washington University, Turner Classic Movies, Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, The New York Times

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