Hot Dog Fun Facts


Few foods are considered more quintessentially American than a juicy hot dog, fresh off the grill. However, did you know that the backyard barbecue staple is European? While it’s impossible to say who really “invented” the popular snack or where it came from, experts say hot dogs likely originated in Vienna, Austria, or Frankfurt, Germany. It’s interesting to know that the same cuisine can be celebrated in so many ways around the world!

Essentially, hot dogs are a modern-day twist on the humble sausage. This food has some seriously ancient roots. Sausages are mentioned in Homer’s The Odyssey, and Emperor Nero’s chef, Gaius, is said to have prepared them for his ruler.

Centuries later, someone got the idea to put the meaty treats on buns—but who?

To this day, there are several conflicting claims. According to the Austrian city of Vienna, two Austro-Hungarian immigrants, Emil Reichel and Sam Ladany invented the hot dog in their fair town. When the two men left Europe for Chicago, they took the recipe with them and sold hot dogs at the 1893 World’s Fair. Later, Reichel and Ladany founded a famous beef production company that’s still churning out hot dogs today.  You might know their company, Vienna Beef!

Meanwhile, officials in Frankfurt, Germany, say that hot dogs were invented in their city in 1487. And according to a third tale, a butcher named Johann Georghehner, from Coburg, Germany, invented the hot dog during the late 1600s and traveled to Frankfurt to promote his new food. The Hot Dog seems to have made its way to America in the late 1800s or early 1900s. One main theory is that the hot dog was put on a bun to protect people’s hands from being burnt when eating them.

No matter what, the hot dog is a staple in many cultures worldwide. In North America, we have certain traditions around hot dogs that are loved by many, like ball games, street food, and family BBQs. What are your favourite hot dog traditions?


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