Special homage to the delicacy is reserved for the Fourth of July, when, according to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council (NHDSC), 150 million hot dogs will be consumed. That’s enough to stretch from D.C. to L.A. more than five times.
A goodly number of those dogs will be consumed on Coney Island, New York, where Nathan's Hot Dogs will hold its 99th annual hot dog eating competition. California-born Joey Chestnut holds the current record, having wolfed down 69 of the sausages in 10 minutes.
An American will consume slightly less than that number – about 60 hot dogs – each year.
“Hot dogs are more than just a food, they are an American icon,” says Janet Riley, NHDSC president. “Not only do they taste great but they are part of our culinary history.”
NHDSC offers some tongue-in-cheek tips for Independence Day hot dog etiquette such as: Don’t take more than five bites to finish a hot dog, don’t use ketchup on your hot dog after age 18, and never use utensils with hot dogs. The tips are optional, of course, but celebrating the Fourth of July without a hot dog is clearly not.
The unofficial hot dog season runs from Memorial Day through Labor Day, NHDSC says, a period when Americans consume 818 hot dogs every second for a total of 7 billion hot dogs.
In May, the corn dog was named regional “top dog” of hot dogs, according to a national survey. The New York dog, with mustard and onions, was the second choice, followed by the Chicago version featuring mustard, onions, relish, tomato slices, a dill pickle spear, a sport pepper and celery salt on a poppy seed bun. The survey was conducted among 2,100 U.S. adults above age 18 by the Harris Poll for NHDSC.
This year, NHDSC is running a hot dog selfie contest through July 14. They are looking for unique photos of hot dog fans with their favorite hot dog. The best photo taken at Ben's Chili Bowl in Washington, D.C., wins a gift card to the legendary hot dog outlet.
Riley said national hot dog month began in the 1950’s and has been sponsored by NHDSC since 1994. On July 23, on the official National Hot Dog Day, they will host a celebration on Capitol Hill, which usually draws more than 1,000 people.
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