Hot Dogs and More for National Hot Dog Day!

The Tennessee Dog from the cookbook Great American Grilling

YES! It’s National Hot Dog Day so get the grills ready to toss some hot dogs on the grates. But your BBQ Dragon buddies feel that July 17 should be wide open! We think this is the day to celebrate all link style sausages that fit on a bun! That means you can enjoy a simple hot dog or change things up by going with, weiners, links, sausage, bratwursts, or whatever you want to chow down on. And make sure you have all of the condiment needed from simple things like mustard and relish to sour kraut.

But First! Some Fun Hot Dog Stuff!


Source: National Hot Dog and Sausage Council

According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, yes there is such an organization and we celebrate its existence, the term “hot dog” has a blurry past. Here is the official description from the Council on the history of the now famed link on a bun.

The name “hot dog” is often attributed to a cartoonist who observed the carts selling “red hot dachshund dogs” on the New York Polo grounds and was unable to spell dachshund, so he printed “hot dogs” instead. However, this cartoon has not been found, prompting many historians to question the legend’s accuracy. The immigrant vendors of the time also brought their dachshund dogs, prompting their carts to be called dog wagons. Possessing good humor, these vendors were known to tease that their sausages were made from their dachshunds. Certainly, this was nothing more than a friendly joke, but this may be where the term “hot dog” was coined. – Source: National Hot Dog and Sausage Council

According to the NHDASC, modern hot dogs trace their origin in the United States to the 1800s as talked about above. But, the tasty treats date as far back as the 15th century! People living in Germany and Austria were becoming skilled at making all kinds of link style sausages. Hence the names Frankfurt, Franks and even Vienna sausages. The List of names and varieties is impressive… but these fun tidbits from the Council.

  • Hot dogs are made with “specially selected meat trimmings.
  • The mixture is continuously weighed to assure a proper balance of all ingredients.
  • The mixture is then pumped into an automatic stuffer/linker machine and squeezed into a casing.
  • Most hot dog casings are now most often made of cellulose.

About Regional Favorites!

As you may know, there are plenty of regional favorites when it comes to hot dogs. This does not even include the cooking method used! Here’s a few of the popular ones.

  • Fenway Frank – Fenway Stadium, Boston. Mustard, sauerkraut are the basics.
  • Chicago Dog – Chicago, Illinois: Includes mustard, tomato, pickle slice, sport pepper and more on a Poppyseed bun.
  • Martinsville Dog – Martinsville Speedway Virginia. “Fully-loaded” dog comes with chili, slaw, mustard, and onions on a steamed bun.
  • Tennessee Dog – Beef or Pork hot dog – or smoked sausage. Topped with barbecue pulled pork, slaw and barbecue sauce.
  • Los Angeles Dodgers Dog – Dodgers Stadium California. Said to be as “Long as your forearm!” A footlong hot dog one a steamed bun topped with yellow mustard and relish.

Wait… a Tennessee Dog?

Several years back the Tennesse Dog was born when I – Kent Whitaker, aka – The Deck Chef – was looking for a themed link to add to one of my cooking demos I came up with what I termed a “Tennessee Dog” which has become one of my signature tailgate dishes. It’s now included in my newest grilling and barbecue book – Great American Grilling. So grab your BBQ Dragon Hot Dog and Marshmallow Grilling Sticks as well as your  BBQ Dragon Chimney of Insanity and get your coals going in honor of National Hot Dog Day!

The Deck Chef’s Tennesse Dog or Smoked Sausage

Give this a try – it’s simple, packed with flavor, and a perfect way to use some leftover barbecue if you don’t have enough to serve everyone. Great with any hot dog or smoked sausage!


  • Bun sized grilled smoked sausage or whole smoked sausage cut into bun sized pieces.
  • Memphis style rub or seasoning, or your favorite bbq seasoning.
  • Barbecue sauce with a splash of Tennessee Whiskey.
  • Some hickory-smoked pulled pork, cooked and ready to go.
  • Coleslaw.
  • Buns or Hoagie Rolls.


  • Baste the sausages, or dogs, with barbecue sauce as they grill.
  • Sprinkle with some seasoning!
  • Place them on a bun
  • Top with sauce, additional seasoning, pulled pork, and slaw!
  • Toss in some sliced onions and peppers, grilled of course, if desired

Author Bio: Kent Whitaker, also known as “The Deck Chef,” is an award-winning culinary writer and cookbook author. He’s also penned Young Reader, NASCAR and History titles. The former winner of the Emeril Live Food Network Barbecue Contest also covers football, motorsports, and bass fishing. Kent currently lives in East Tennessee with his wife, son, and a couple of dogs that love when he fires up the smoker or grill. You can reach out to Kent at, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.


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