Wednesday, June 29, 2011

An American tradition No matter how you like them, hot dogs are sure to be a hit with any crowd

No summer cookout is complete without a few grilled hotdogs.
No summer cookout is complete without a few grilled hotdogs. 

There are few iconic foods that represent American tradi­tion more than the hot dog.
As the Fourth of July ap­proaches, we're honoring the nation's favorite outdoor food as well as its adaptations and incarnations throughout the decades.
The "Coney Island" Detroit dogs that are a favorite at All City Coney Island Eatery in downtown Montgomery are a lot like their namesake. (Hot dog lore has it that in the late 19th century, a German immi­grant began serving up sau­sages on rolls at that famous beach resort, launching a fast food legend). Coney franks are 100 percent beef, served in their natural casing, and their primary add-ons are mustard, ground beef, beanless chili and yellow onions, said All City owner Daileen Carter. The bun is usually steamed.

Dog nation

But that's just one of dozens of varieties of hot dogs that re­gions throughout the nation have adapted to fit their tastes. Ball Park Franks (www.bal­lpark- offers a virtual tour guide of hot dog prefer­ences across the U.S. In lower Alabama, most folks like them with ketchup, mustard, chili, sauerkraut and pickles. That's surprisingly similar to New York street-cart hot dogs -- boiled, then topped with an on­ion sauce and mustard or sauerkraut.
Chicago dogs are known for their poppy seed buns and lay­ers of yellow mustard, green relish, chopped raw onion, fresh tomato, a pickle spear and, on top, a sprinkling of cel­ery salt.
The "D.C. Monumental Dog" is a beef frank with banana peppers, onions, diced red pep­pers and sliced pickles, served on a steamed potato hot dog bun spread with mayonnaise.
Think that's unusual? In Se­attle, some dog-lovers will only consume a split-down-the-mid­dle frank on a toasted bun sla­thered with cream cheese.
And new variations are pop­ping up all the time. At All City, customers increasingly request previously unheard-of add-ons such as mushrooms. Fix 'em how you want 'em, said Carter, but one thing's for sure:
"You know, I think that's just an overall American tradition," she said. "Hot dogs -- football games, baseball games, parties, pretty much anywhere you go -- they never go out of style."

Frank and sausage stats

In preparation for the week­end, there's probably no better place to get your hot dog and sausage facts than in Philadel­phia, where Dietz & Watson, makers of premium franks and fine sausages for more than 70 years, has declared the sum­mer of 2011 as "Grillebration."
Frankly, these summer meat experts have done their re­search.
It's no secret that people eat more hot dogs and sausages in the summer than any other time of year.
But did you know that Inde­pendence Day alone, Ameri­cans will enjoy more than 150 million hot dogs?
During "Grillebration," Americans consume 7 billion hot dogs, Dietz & Watson re­ports.
That's 818 every second.

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