History of the Hot Dog

A German Invention with an American Mindset

It seems that German ingredients and an a German-American mindset have created this wonderfully easy and tasty meal. Read below to find out when, how and why!

The Sausage Man is a UK established wholesale suppliers of premium hotdogs as well as other top quality German products.

A Favourite when it Comes to Fast Food

Hot dog - wholesale hot dog suppliers UK The Sausage Man

With the hot dog being a famous dish all over the world nowadays, it is understandable that various nationalities claim ownership for its invention. Since, however, most stories agree upon sausages being typically German, it can be concluded that the ingredient that makes or breaks the hot dog is something Germans can be thanked for.

But What do You Really Know About Hot Dogs?

As everyone knows, there are so many ways to enjoy this tasty dish: with a firm but crunchy sausage inside a soft milk roll, topped with mustard or ketchup, maybe sprinkled with little gherkins or roasted onions or even sauerkraut…

But do you really know anything about the sausage itself? Where did your last one come from? What is its history? Why is it so popular? Did you eat an original hot dog?

In this article we'll try to answer all of these questions and more.

Original Food Recipes Will Always Outperform Poor Adaptations

When it comes to food, original recipes outperform poor adaptations and true eating pleasure and enjoyment will only be assured if all ingredients are cooked and prepared the way they were intended to when the dish was invented.

“True eating pleasure and enjoyment will only be assured if all ingredients are cooked and prepared the way they were intended to when the dish was invented.”

Therefore, we want to find out a bit more about the history of the hot dog.

  • Where did the hot dog come from?
  • Who came up with this great idea?
  • How did the name develop?

The Hot Dog is NOT a Purely American Invention


Tiny spoiler ahead, the Americans didn’t invent it even though many people probably could easily think so because of how immensely popular the hot dog is in the States and how many different versions of it you can get throughout the country (it is basically THE quintessential American dish, isn’t it?)

It became popular as working class street food and then developed an association with sports events, especially baseball. Preparation styles vary throughout the US and, even more so, throughout the world, but maybe that’s one of the things that makes it so special and exciting.

Origins: Germany or Austria


However, the hot dog did not originally come from The United States, it originated in Europe, or more concrete in either Frankfurt, Germany or Vienna, Austria.

Where, when and how exactly it was invented will probably remain a mystery for eternity, but there are quite a few funny and interesting attempts to explain who made the first sausages, who put them in a bun and why and where they were being sold.

And, of course, there are just as many stories about how the name ‘hot dog’ developed.

You will truly enjoy and appreciate your next hot dog after reading these hot dog facts and theories and you will also be able to find out where you can get the best hot dogs that are true to the original.

And don’t keep your discoveries a secret - good things should always be shared!

The Hometown of the Sausage Was Either Frankfurt or Vienna

So nobody really knows the true story of how the hot dog came to life. There are many different tales around the origin of the hot dog, and all of them seem to make sense, but due to a lack of evidence, none of them can be believed fully. However, all of them lead us back to Europe, or back to Germany and Austria, to be more accurate.

Yes, it was in one of those two countries where the most important part of the hot dog was invented - the sausage. Austrians claim that Vienna is the birth town of the sausage, stating that the ‘Wiener’ (Wien means Vienna in German) is the mother of all sausages. However, even more stories insist that the sausage is a German invention, be it from Frankfurt-am-Main, where the Frankfurter sausage was developed in the 15th century, or from butcher Johann Georghehner from Coburg who promoted his product called ‘dachshund’ in Frankfurt towards the end of the 17th century.

But no matter where the first sausage was developed, it can be agreed that German immigrants were the ones bringing them to the United States of America and started to sell them from pushcarts in New York in the mid 19th century.

The Ingredient That Makes or Breaks the Hot Dog Is...
But, of Course, German!

Pic of sausages - Wholesale hot dog suppliers UK The Sausage Man

Lovely grilled sausages on wooden board, so tasty!

With the hot dog being a famous dish all over the world nowadays, it is understandable that various nationalities claim ownership for its invention. Since, however, most stories agree upon sausages being typically German, it can be concluded that the ingredient that makes or breaks the hot dog is something Germans can be thanked for.

Because, let’s face it, you could take any milk roll, any ketchup or mustard and any topping, if the sausage is great, you will have a pretty amazing hot dog.

On the contrary, you can use high quality mustard, the crispiest gherkins and the fluffiest bun, but if the sausage is not up to scratch, neither is your hot dog. And who would want to eat something that’s less than perfect?

Don't Burn Your Fingers, Put the Sausage in a Bun!

Pic of hot dog - Wholesale hot dog suppliers UK The Sausage Man

Now we know where the sausage most likely came from, but the next secret to be uncovered is who put it in a bun, and why? And who decided calling that combination a hot dog?

There are many stories about who was the first person to put a sausage in a bun but nobody can be certain which one is true, or, if any of them actually comes close to what happened.

Apparently, the term hot dog has been around since the 1880s, where people called sausages ‘dogs’ because they could never be sure which meat it was actually made of. Supposedly, it was quite common to use dog or horse meat back then, so calling a sausage a ‘dog’ isn’t even that far fetched!

Afterwards, students made the name more popular as it became a standard that hot sausages in buns were being sold at university campuses from little wagons. As students were mostly on the run from one class to the next, the sausages were placed inside the buns to facilitate the eating process and make sure they wouldn't burn their fingers. So it seems hot dogs were one of the first 'street foods' available.

There are, however, even more stories around regarding who came up with the term ‘hot dog’. Besides the idea of sausages being made from dog meat, the stories around how the name developed go from all the way from cartoons of German dachshunds nestled in milk rolls drawn at the New York Polo Grounds to people simply making fun of these long and thin German dachshunds that immigrants had introduced to North America. Actually, even Germans compared their Frankfurter sausages to their tiny, odd looking dogs at some point!

One thing we know for sure though: at least the name of the hot dog was created in the United States of America.

Original Equals Best

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But why is it so important where hot dogs originally came from?

It is a well known fact that in many cases original equals best. Pizza and ice cream taste best in Italy, or at least made by true Italians with tomatoes and basil that has been grown under the Tuscan sun, as well as milk that was produced by cows enjoying the Italian Alps.

If you are thinking about treating yourself with a brand new, expensive watch, you may be thinking about looking into some Swiss brands. Or if you fancy some sushi, you’d ideally like it to be prepared by Japanese chefs, wouldn’t you?

It is the same with the sausage and the hot dog: you want to find out where it came from because you would want the REAL thing! The original that was so great that it got exported all over the world for everyone to eventually claim it was their idea.

Hot Dogs Are Inexpensive, Simple to Eat and Incredibly Versatile

There are a number of things that make the hot dog one of the greatest dishes around. The first plus is that it is more inexpensive than many other snacks or meals. When you don’t smother it in sauce, it’s fairly easy to eat, making it a perfect choice for nearly every occasion.

You can simply prepare it at home, create different bowls with different sauces and garnishes so that everyone can personalise their own hot dog and have a hot dog party with your family or friends. You can grab a hot dog to go in case you are in a hurry and in need of a quick snack. 

Nowadays, hot dogs are the standard meals at sports events thanks to convenience and price. This isn’t a new phenomenon though - apparently this tradition started in the late 19th century, initiated by German immigrant Chris Von der Ahe, who owned both a bar and a major league baseball team. How convenient!

It seems that German ingredients and an a German-American mindset have created this wonderfully easy and tasty meal.

Unbelievably Popular All Over the World: A Few Facts

Hot dogs are unbelievably popular all over the world, but probably no other country can exceed the hot dog consumption of Americans - according to statistics from 2012, Americans eat around 150 million hot dogs on the Fourth of July alone. And, in 2015, consumers spent more than $2.5 billion on hot dogs in U.S. supermarkets.

People in the United Kingdom are slowly trying to catch up though, with the hot dog gaining reputation as Britain’s trendiest food during the past years.

Hot dogs are so easy to eat that they are a common go-to-dish when it comes to eating competitions. Unbelievable but true: someone actually managed to eat more than 70 hot dogs in only 10 minutes. That is a crazy 7 hot dogs per minute.

People Love Hot Dog Eating Contests

You can get hot dogs everywhere: in the supermarket, in restaurants or diners, from push-wagons or caravans on the street, on the moon…

On the moon? Yes, it is being said that in 1969, Neil Armstrong and “Buzz” Aldrin Jr. had hot dogs as one of their first meals on the moon. We think it must have felt like home!

An Ode to the Hot Dog

The hot dog is so simple, but so resourceful; basically, you only need two ingredients: a sausage and a bun.

Hot dogs - Wholesale hot dog suppliers UK The Sausage Man

But you CAN use more and make it some kind of culinary experience - sauces, veggies, onion sprinkles, cheese... creativity around the hot dog really knows no limit. Typical hot dog garnishes are, amongst others: ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, relish, onions, coleslaw, cheese, chilli, olives, sauerkraut and many more.

Traditionally, pork and beef are the meats used in hot dogs, but there are also version made with turkey or chicken. And, nowadays, we can also find veggie or vegan options. Whether people think these are real hot dogs or not, they'll taste great nonetheless.

How you want to prepare the hot dog is completely up to you; you can boil, fry, grill, steam or bake it, or even put it in the microwave.

The real fun, however, starts when the sausage is ready, because that’s when you can start thinking about which condiments you want to garnish your hot dog with. Normally you’d serve them with at least one topping, mustard and ketchup being the favourites. But, as mentioned before, there are no limits. Of course adding more and more extra garnish defies the purpose of the hot dogs being easy to eat, but it’s also more fun experimenting with different combinations and hot dog variations.

You don’t need to be a skilled chef to be able to prepare a hot dog, it’s something everybody can do and, providing they like sausages, everybody will enjoy them.

Of course there are also really fancy hot dogs, made with foie gras and truffle oil as well as truffle butter. Then again, the fancier the ingredients, the more you’ll have to pay, which somehow defies the purpose of them being inexpensive and easily accessible.

Hot Dogs and Royalty 

Even though they are are quite cheap to produce, hot dogs are not just appreciated by average people.

In 1939, at a picnic in Hyde Park, first lady Eleanor Roosevelt offered her husband’s guests, King George VI of England and his queen, hot dogs as part of the menu. At the time, her decision received much press coverage as people were worried that hot dogs might have not been posh enough for royalty. But, contrary to expectations, they were an absolute success!

So, there you have it: hot dogs are most definitely a suitable meal for absolutely everybody.

You Don't Have to Live in Germany to Get the Tastiest Sausages for Your Hot Dog

4 hot dogs - Wholesale hot dog suppliers UK The Sausage Man

If you feel like a hot dog should be on the menu soon, you’ll certainly be able to get one in no time. You could get all the ingredients and prepare them yourself or simply find a hot dog stand where you can let other people do the work for you. Either way, you’ll want it to taste great.

If you’re in the U.S., you’ll be able to get the craziest variations. But remember that only a great sausage makes a great hot dog. Since the original - German - sausages are indisputably what makes or break the hot dog, why not use a German sausage for your royal picnic? If you live in Germany, this should be an easy option.

What if you are in a different country? Well, many Germans actually import sausages to the countries they've moved into in order to sell them and make everyone able to have a taste of that German sausage goodness.

Enjoy Real Authentic Hot Dogs Imported Directly from the Home of the Sausage

The Sausage Man, imports to the UK the best quality German sausages so that people can enjoy real, authentic, German hot dogs. Their range go from pork or beef to turkey or chicken, so no wishes will be left unfulfilled.

No matter if you want to surprise your family with great tasting sausages, invite some friends over for a do-it-yourself hot dog party or if you have a catering service and are planning to cook for others, when you purchase great quality sausages everyone will thank you.

We invite you to view a brochure with videos of all our products as well as downloading a copy to your device!

Our hot dogs are 100% gluten FREE
with spices and herbs grown by farmers around the world.

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01322 867 060

The Sausage Man imports premium quality products to the UK