7 wacky facts about hot dogs, plus recipes for National Hot Dog Day

Celebrate National Hot Dog Day with delicious hot dog recipes and a few wacky facts about frankfurters.

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/ Source: TODAY
By Megan O. Steintrager

There are plenty of great food-centric holidays to celebrate in July. There's Independence Day, National Ice Cream Day and today, Wednesday, July 18, is National Hot Dog Day!

The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council estimated that Americans will eat seven billion hot dogs between Memorial Day and Labor Day, so it doesn't seem like there's any need for an excuse to dig into yet another dog.

But here are seven more fun facts about those seven billion hot dogs — including the Council's position on the ongoing debate about whether a hot dog is a sandwich — as well as some tasty hot dog recipes to dress up those buns.

1. The best way to cook a hot dog is...

Some like their hot dogs boiled, steamed, microwaved, pan-fried or even deep fried, but the majority of Americans (63 percent) prefer their hot dogs grilled, according to the Council.

Giada's Signature Hot Dogs

Giada's Signature Hot Dogs

Giada De Laurentiis

2. The best topping for a hot dog is...

America's favorite hot dog condiment is mustard, followed by ketchup and chili. But why stop there when people can add so many other things, like salsa, bacon, pinto beans, onions, peppers and cheese?

Sonoran Hot Dog

Sonoran Hot Dog

Ryan Clark

3. About that ketchup...

It may be a popular condiment, but according to the Council's hot dog etiquette guide, people should stop putting it on a dog after their 18th birthday (some would say the age of eight is a more appropriate cutoff). Most Chicagoans would certainly agree ketchup doesn't belong on a real hot dog.

4. Hot dogs are made from...

Everyone knows where chocolate milk comes from, right? But do people know what's in a hot dog? A whopping 72 percent of Americans said that the ingredients of a hot dog are a "mystery" to them, according to the Council. That, they point out, is despite the fact that the ingredients are required to be listed on the label.

To help shed some light on those mystery dogs, the Council put together a handy guide to common hot dog ingredients, so no one has to be in the dark when dining on a hot dog.

Seattle-Style Hot Dogs

Seattle-Style Hot Dogs

Carrie Mashaney

5. Beef, pork or turkey?

The majority of Americans who do know what's in their hot dogs prefer them to be made with beef, with 61 percent saying beef hot dogs are their favorite, according to the Council, followed by pork (12 percent) and then turkey (7 percent).

6. The best celebrity to share a hot dog with is...

Betty White's love of hot dogs has been reported frequently, and she was also the celeb with whom most people polled by the Council would like to share a hot dog. White, who turned 96 this year, beat out eight other celebs with some sort of hot dog connection in a multiple choice questionnaire that asked what famous person people would most like to share a hot dog with. Among her competitors were Tiger Woods (who once had a hot dog thrown at him during a putt) and hot dog eating champion Joey Chestnut. White once told Parade magazine that she loves vodka and hot dogs, "probably in that order."

Nacho Hot Dogs

Nacho Hot Dogs

Donatella Arpaia

7. If a hot dog is served on a bun, is it sandwich?

And finally, on the deep, philosophical question of whether a hot dog is a sandwich, the Council said "no," a hot dog is not a sandwich. "And yes, I literally get asked that question every single day," added Eric Mittenthal, president of the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, aka The Hot Dog Top Dog.

No-Bake Twinkie "Hot Dogs"

But what if it's dessert in the shape of a hot dog with a Twinkie bun? Is it still a hot dog then? The answer is probably not, but it sure does sound delicious.

This article was originally published on July 19, 2018.