Celebrating International Hot Dog Day
One of the most popular fast foods, after hamburgers and pizzas, has to be the highly underrated hot dog, which even has its own day – International Hot Dog Day – which is celebrated on Wednesday, July 20.
Hot dogs are purely an American invention and while the sausages used are German in origin, nobody thought to put them in a bun until they began to catch on in popularity in America.
Most people credit Charles Feltman, a German immigrant who ran a hugely successful restaurant on Coney Island, with being the first to sell hot dogs in 1870, but a couple of other contenders exist as well. The most popular alternate theory claims that a Bavarian immigrant named Anton Feuchtwanger sold hot sausages on the streets of St. Louis and included a roll for customers to hold the sausage to prevent them from burning their fingers.
As for the term “hot dog”, there are several myths and legends around that as well. One theory goes that because the sausages were thin and long, vendors took to calling them “dachshund sausages”, which evolved into “hot dog.” Another posits that the name was created by students at Yale University in the 1890s who referred to the wagons selling hot sausages in buns outside their dorms as “dog wagons” and the wares therefore as “hot dogs”.
In more recent news Joey ‘Jaws’ Chestnut gobbled his way to a 15th win at the recently held Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest in the US, powering down 63 hot dogs in only 10 minutes. It was less than the 76 he consumed last year but he did have to stop for a few minutes to put an interloper into a headlock before security took over!
The women’s record-holder, Miki Sudo, downed 40 to win the women’s title after skipping last year’s contest because she was pregnant.
Finally – the world’s longest hot dog with both a contiguous sausage and bun was made in Paraguay in 2011, to commemorate its 200th anniversary as a country. At 204 metres long, making the record-breaking sausage was the easy part, but to make the bun, the entire raw dough bun had to be fed by conveyor belts through an oven. After the measurement was taken, the hot dog was cut into 2,000 portions and distributed to the public.
Back home, we asked a few chefs from the six Capsicum Culinary Studio campuses around the country for their favourite hot dog toppings and here’s what they said:
Chef Mark Coombe, head of the Pretoria campus adds a sriracha mayo to give a spicy kick to the hot dog. “I also add fresh rocket for a peppery flavour,” he says.
Chef Donavan Miller, from the school’s Durban campus says: “The bun must be cut on the top and toasted, shredded lettuce at the base, then a cheese griller topped with caramelised onion or a good chakalaka. I never use tomato sauce because it takes away from the sausage flavour. The ultimate bun would be doused with melted herb butter and loaded with fries, jalapeno and melted cheese.”
While Jeanne Law, from the Nelson Mandela Bay campus prefers hot dog to be “a fat chargrilled Vienna or Russian served on a buttery, toasted brioche bun stuffed with a red cabbage and rocket slaw, homemade kimchi, sriracha and miso mayo, toasted peanuts, crispy onions and slow roasted cherry tomatoes.”
Lastly, Chef Marlon De Freitas from Capsicum’s Cape Town campus shares his recipe for his favourite version – the Mexican Chilli Dog
2 peppers (1 red and 1 yellow)
2 garlic cloves
1 large tomato (deseeded)
50g beef mince
One chilli, finely chopped
1 tbs olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
30g mozzarella cheese, cubed
1 packet Vienna sausages
6 hot dog rolls
coriander to garnish
Julienne the peppers, onion and tomato. Finely mince the garlic. In a medium size pan gently fry the peppers, onion, tomato and garlic in a little olive oil until soft and season with salt and pepper. Add the beef mince and chili and cook until the beef has browned and cooked through. Take off the heat and add the cheese, letting it melt into the mince. Drop the sausages in boiling water for 2 mins and remove. Cut the buns in half lengthways, lightly brush with olive oil and toast lightly. Place the cooked sausage in the bun, top with the cheesy Mexican chilli and garnish with fresh coriander.