Happy Hot Dog Day! A world renowned and widely loved snack, the origins of the term ‘hot dog’ is unclear, but we do know that although it is incredibly popular with American sporting events, Frankfurters – the type of sausage normally used for a hot dog – were originally invented in Germany. Germany is well known for its spiced meats and various meat products and has produced the frankfurter (from Frankfurt) and the hamburger (from Hamburg) as well as the Wiener (from Vienna, Austria, whose German name is ‘Wien’).
When visiting Germany in December, it is incredibly easy to find several different types of sausage and hot dog floating about their Christmas markets, although ‘wurst’ is enjoyed year round in its many forms in Germany. With hundreds of years experience cultivating and curing meats with herbs, Germany combines exotic flavours with various different types of sausage and pork meat to create new and exciting types of ‘wurst’.
The frankfurter is the most recognisable form of sausage, but other popular types are the Landjager which is similar to salami and can be eaten cold or boiled, the Leberwurst (Literally ‘Liverwurst’) which is like a pate to be spread on bread or crackers and the Blutwurst or ‘blood sausage’ a delicacy made from congealed pig or cow blood and bulked out with oatmeal, meat and fat, to be eaten cold.
The first recorded instance of a hot dog was when German immigrant Charles Feltmen began selling sausages in bread rolls in Coney Island, USA in 1870. Later on one of his former employees, a Polish-American named Nathan Handwerker, separated from the business to start his own, creating Nathan’s Famous, a world renowned hot dog company that is still in production today.
Nathan’s Famous started in 1916 with the help of $300 from a few friends. Handwerker quickly gained popularity by selling his hot dogs at a reduced price of five cents each whereas Feltmen was charging ten cents per hot dog. Now it boasts world fame and products in millions of supermarkets and stores throughout the USA.
You can even still visit and enjoy a hot dog at the original Nathan’s Famous store in Coney Island, Brooklyn. If you’re planning a holiday in the USA and have always wondered what an original, award winning hot dog recipe was, why not grab a hired car and head over for a tube of American and German history?