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Where Did Hot Dogs Come From? – Hump Day History

Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest - Getty Images
Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest – Getty Images

In honor of the MLB’s opening week, I thought we’d take a look at one of America’s favorite ball park foods, the hot dog!

While most people think of Germany or Austria when it comes to sausages, they actually are thought to have originated in China, as far back as 589 B.C. No word on what animal was used in those early wieners…

The inhabitants of Frankfurt, Germany, claim that sausages in buns were invented in the 1480’s and first served at imperial coronations, starting with German King Maximilian II. Other stories involve German-Americans and Austrian-Americans serving sausages in buns because the white gloves they loaned to customers to handle the hot sausages were frequently stolen.

According to this story at, the popularity of the term hot dog is generally attributed to sports cartoonist T. A. “Tad” Dorgan, who caricatured German figures as dachshund dogs just after the turn of the 19th century. His talking sausage cartoons generally denigrated the cheap wieners sold at Coney Island, crassly suggesting they contained dogmeat. It was such bad publicity that in 1913, the Chamber of Commerce actually banned use of the term “hog dog” from signs on Coney Island. The term actually first appeared in print in the Oxford English Dictionary in 1900.

Hot dogs are a form of sausage, frequently softer, smaller and of a more even and equally blended consistency than a traditional sausage.They consist of meat trimmings and fat, or – as Dan Aykroyd said in Great Outdoors – lips and a**holes.

Hey, I don’t need to know what’s in them…I just want to cover them in condiments and chase them with a beer while watching some baseball. ‘Merica!

Get More Hump Day History Here

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