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Oklahoma Agriculture in the Classroom



July is National Hot Dog Month

Hot Dog

Hot dogs are among America's favorite foods. Every year, Americans consume on average 60 hot dogs! Most are eaten in the summer, between Memorial Day and Labor Day. The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council estimates that over 7 billion hot dogs will be eaten by Americans during that time period. During the July 4 weekend alone, the council estimates we will eat 155 million hot dogs.

Also called frankfurter, frank, wiener and red hot, a hot dog is usually a sausage made from a combination of beef and pork or all beef which is cured, smoked, and cooked. Some hot dogs are made from turkey and there are vegetarian hot dogs made from plant-based ingredients. Seasonings may include coriander, garlic, ground mustard, nutmeg, salt, sugar, and white pepper. Hot dogs are fully cooked but are usually served hot. Sizes range from big dinner frankfurters to tiny cocktail size.

The term "hot dog" is credited to sports cartoonist Tad Dorgan. At a 1901 Giants baseball game in New York, vendors began selling hot dachsund sausages in rolls. The dachsund, or little dog, sausage was a small sausage created in the late 1600s by a German butcher, Johan Georghehn.

From the press box, Dorgan could hear the vendors yelling, "Get your dachshund sausages while they're red hot!" He sketched a cartoon depicting the scene but wasn't sure how to spell "dachshund" so he called them simply, "hot dogs." And the rest is history.

Solar Hot Dog Cooker
  • clean, cylindrical potato chip can with silver lining
  • X-acto knife
  • plastic wrap
  • tape
  • ruler
  • permanent marker
  • ice pick
  • hammer and nail or drill
  • wooden skewer
  • hot dog
  1. Use the ruler to draw a rectangle on the can's side with the sharpie, Use the X-acto knife for cutting out the rectangle.
  2. Poke a wooden skewer through the plastic lid of the can. Use a drill, hammer and nail or ice pick to poke a hole in the bottom of the can to hold the other end of the skewer. Push the skewer through the holes.
  3. Tape plastic wrap over the opening to keep heat inside the cooker. To prevent condensation on the plastic wrap, poke A FEW holes. Too many will let the heat escape.
  4. Place the cooker outdoors on a hot day. The silver lining in the can holds in the heat, even on a cloudy day.
Kimmelman, Leslie, Hot Dog! Eleanor Roosevelt Throws a Picnic, Sleeping Bear, 2014. (Grades 3-6)
In June of 1939, the United States played host to British King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. As it was the first visit ever by reigning British royalty, it was a chance for America to build a stronger relationship with the British, especially in those challenging times. On the domestic side, many people didn't have jobs, housing, or food. Internationally, Adolf Hitler, Germany's leader, was threatening the countries around him and war loomed on the horizon. But First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt saw the visit as an opportunity for America to set aside its cares for a while and extend a warm welcome and hand of friendship to the royal guests. As part of the festivities, Eleanor hosts an all-American picnic that includes hot dogs, a menu item that shocks some people.
Sylver, Adrienne, Hot Diggity Dog: The History of the Hot Dog, Puffin, 2015. (Grades K-3)
Picture book takes readers through the hot dog's journey from Roman pig-intestine delicacy to its modern ubiquity at ball parks, cookouts, and dinner tables. Key for the American audience is the nineteenth-century immigration that led to dog stands gaining popularity in hot spots like Coney Island. Fun facts are presented in side bars: L.A. is America's dog-hungriest city; the wiener equivalent at South African sporting events is beetroot salad. Also included are regional dog differences (get that ketchup off my Chicago Dog!), the rise of the veggie dog, recipes, and plenty of mouth-watering photos.