History of Hotdogs
History of World Cuisines
To most of us, hot dogs are intrinsically linked with the USA and baseball, but
as with many foods, where they end up being the most popular doesn't necessarily
prove their origins.
In most parts of the world, the term "hot dog" refers to a cooked, cured sausage
served in a soft long roll with or without relishes. The type of sausage is of
some importance in order to call what you're eating a "hot dog".
They are usually frankfurters, also known as
Wiener Würstchen, or
Frankfurter Würstel. Also, the bread in which the frankfurter is sold
should be a long roll so that the sausage is (mostly) encased in the bread.
Now, some may disagree with the above definition, preferring to refer to just
the sausage as a hot dog, however if that were the case then certainly, they
were not invented in the USA .
Although the Frankfurter is thought to get its name from Frankfurt in Germany,
there are also claims that the
sausage known as a "dachshund" or "little-dog" was created in the late
1600's by Johann Georghehner in Coburg, Germany. However, Frankfurt defends
their claim, so much so that in 1987 its 500th birthday was celebrated in
To muddy the waters even further, Vienna (Wien) in Austria also lays claim to
the invention, using the term "wiener" to prove Vienna as the birthplace of the
Assuming our definition of what a hot dog is is accepted, the term "hot dog" was
first coined in 1901 at the New York Polo Grounds. The story goes that on a cold
day in April, a man called Harry Stevens was
losing money trying to sell ice cream and ice cold soda so he sent his staff out
to buy all the dachshund sausages they could find, together with an equal
number of rolls and began selling them from portable hot
water tanks with the hawkers attracting customers by shouting "Get your dachshund sausages while they're red
A sports cartoonist called Tad Dorgan upon hearing the sellers, drew a
cartoon of dachschund sausages in rolls barking like dogs and as he wasn't sure
of the spelling of "dachshund" he just put in the caption "hot dog!" The cartoon was a
hit and the term "hot dog"
The hot dog in a long bun as it is today, is attributed to a Bavarian concessionaire, Anton Feuchtwanger
who introduced it in 1904 during the St. Louis "Louisiana Purchase
Exposition". The story goes that he
initially loaned white gloves to his customers to hold his hot sausages however,
when most of the
gloves weren't returned,
his brother-in-law who was a baker, made up long soft rolls to hold the
So, depending on your definition of what a hot dog is, it's either definitely
American or of indeterminate origin.
A firm favourite in the US, every major city or state has their own
version including differing sausages served with different relishes. Outside of
the USA they are almost as popular, with hot dog street vendors being popular in