A Historical Look at America’s Favorite Food

For many of us, the hot dog has been an integral part of our diet since we were young. We’ve probably never given much thought to its origin. It tastes good – that’s all we need to know!

But for those who are passionate about food, the origin of the hot dog is actually a very interesting read. For all you foodies out there who wondered where this all-American dish came from, here you go!

Once Upon a Time…

Like many other food staples of the US, the traditional American hot dog originated overseas. It was brought to the land of the free, home of the brave via early immigrants. So which immigrants were responsible for introducing Americans to this delicacy?

The Germans!

Technically, the true inventor of the hot dog is hard to pinpoint. Many people claim genius for its inception. However, one thing is pretty certain: the hot dog has German roots.

Many point to the introduction of the frankfurter as the first hot dog. This popular pork sausage comes from Frankfurt, Germany. Originally, the general public dined on frankfurters during imperial coronations.

About the same time that the royal frankfurter was gaining popularity, the wiener appeared in Vienna, Austria. Like the frankfurter, this sausage is made of pork. However, it also contains a blend of beef meat.

Making Its Way Across the Pond

If it was hard to pinpoint the inventor in Europe, it is even more challenging to identify the sole individual responsible for turning the hot dog into an American necessity.

Many foodies point to Charles Feltman (a German immigrant) who was selling sausages from a cart on Coney Island in 1870.

Others recognize a German woman in St. Louis, Missouri from 1880 as the American inventor. She was selling these sausages in buns on the Midwest streets. Before then, most vendors were selling their sausages sans bun; they served them to customers with a white glove so there wouldn’t be burned fingers. However, many customers started to take the gloves home as souvenirs!

Becoming Synonymous with Baseball

Some famous dishes are associated with a certain location or activity; for hot dogs, its baseball. It is nearly impossible to find a baseball field without hot dogs!

Some say a German immigrant (again with the Germans!) introduced sports fans to the dish in 1893. The owner of the St. Louis Browns also owned an amusement park. It could be said he killed two birds with one stone!

Where Did “Dog” Come From?

We all know hot dogs have an identity crisis. Sometimes they are referred to as frankfurters, franks, wieners, or weenies. Considering their overseas origins, this makes sense. But where does “hot dog” come from?

Hot dog has been used synonymously for sausage since about 1884. Why? Because sausage makers were accused of using dog meat in their products. Nasty! But what is even worse? Those accusations were occasionally justified!

In the end, it doesn’t matter if you call it a red hot, durger, coney or just a dog. It doesn’t even matter what country they came from or who brought it to the USA. Hot dogs are a staple of nearly everyone’s diet – and that’s a good thing!