In previous years we’ve celebrated National Hot Dog Day, the third Wednesday in July, with articles about regional hot dog toppings, like:
Favorite toppings by City, Part 1 (an Atlanta Dog has Vidalia onion and peach Relish—photo #4).
More specialty toppings (how about a poutine dog?).
Specialty topping duos such as bruschetta and fresh basil leaves, caramelized onions and bacon, crumbled blue cheese, corn relish and fresh cilantro, pickled jalapeños and slaw, and fruit salsa (mango, peach, pineapple) with fresh herbs.
A word from the restaurant industry:
“Don’t be fooled,” says Restaurant Hospitality, a website that advises independent restaurateurs.
“A closer look at which toppings customers specify when they purchase hot dogs indicates that most stick with old standbys, even when more exotic options can readily be had.”
Well sure: Most people stick with what they’re used to. But NIBBLE readers may be more adventurous…or is that adventuresome†?
Our own favorite toppings used to be what Mom served in our house: sauerkraut and green pickle relish with grainy deli mustard (Dad liked French’s yellow mustard, and often topped his dogs with both).
But give us a gourmet dog with bacon and blue cheese or pimento cheese and jalapeño, and we’ll have seconds. That goes for every hot dog topping in this article.
What about people who frequent hot dog restaurants? JJ’s Red Hots of Charlotte, North Carolina, offers this list of toppings in order of customer preference:
TOP 10† HOT DOG TOPPINGS PER JJ’s
5. Pimento cheese
10. Caramelized onions
Wait, JJ’s: What happened to ketchup? Don’t people in North Carolina like it?
HOW TO GARNISH A HOT DOG: THE PROPER ORDER
There is a proper order to topping a hot dog, according to the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council. Condiments should be applied in the following order and always on top of the dog, not between the dog and the bun:
Wet condiments like mustard and chili are applied first.
Chunky condiments like relish, onions and sauerkraut, are next.
Spices, like chili flakes, celery salt, or pepper.
Crescent-wrapped hot dogs recipe and an on a stick variation.
Italian hot dogs: marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese and pesto on turkey franks recipe.
Bacon cheese dogs recipe.
MORE CREATIVE HOT DOG IDEAS
HOT DOG TRIVIA
According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council:
An estimated seven billion hot dogs are eaten by Americans between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
Americans consume an estimated 20 billion hot dogs a year, more than twice the retail sales figures (and about 70 hot dogs per person). This includes dogs purchased from street vendors, at ballparks, carnivals, and other venues.
Hot dogs are served in 95% of homes in the U.S.
Each year, Americans eat 60 hot dogs per capita.
Miller Park in Milwaukee is the only Major League ballpark in which sausages outsell hot dogs. Check out The Beast, their “turducken” of hot dogs.
Ball park hot dog vendors need to be strong. A fully loaded bin weighs approximately 40 pounds, and vendors typically walk 4 to 5 miles per game, up and down steps. They are paid on commission plus tips (who knew—so tip your hot dog vendor!).
“Nobody, I mean nobody, puts ketchup on a hot dog” is a phrase less famous than “Go ahead, make my day.” But Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry said them both (the former in “Sudden Impact”).
Glamour queen Marlene Deitrich’s preferred meal was hot dogs and Champagne.
Visitors can purchase hot dogs at the Vatican Snack Bar.
MORE HOT DOG FACTS
 It makes you want to have one of each: chili, relish, bánh mì, and German-style hot dogs (photo © Gelson’s Markets).
San Francisco Hot Dog[/caption]
 This San Francisco hot dog culls the Bay Area’s abundant produce with a carrot, cucumber, and radish salad and herb mayonnaise (photos #2 and #4 © Applegate Organic and Natural Meats).
 Tommy Bahama tops hot dogs with (1) guacamole, diced tomato and jalapeño, (2) plum tomato, red onion and piquillo peppers, (3) bibb lettuce, red onion and mustard, and (4) plain old yellow mustard.
 This Atlanta dog is topped with Vidalia onion and peach relish.