The Great Hot Dog Debate: American Icon or Culinary Disgrace?
According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council (yes, that’s a thing), Americans will eat a whopping 150 million hot dogs this Fourth of July. That’s enough to stretch from D.C. to L.A. five times, in case you were wondering about the length of those weiners.
To many, this statistic is positively revolting. And yet, this suspect blend of tube-shaped mystery meat remains a national icon. From the hot dog carts of New York City to the beanie weenie bowls of America’s youth, hot dogs are woven into the fabric of our culture.
But this is 2019, the year of CBD-infused acai bowls and Impossible Whoppers. Is the hot dog still America’s national treasure, or is it time for this pseudo-sausage to be impeached? Here at Nebo, we have strong feelings either way. Here are a few.
*Disclaimer: Nebo does not support factory farming — in fact, we’ve written a lot about how much it sucks. Thusly, all positive statements made about hot dogs in this post are based upon the premise that said hypothetical hot dogs are ethically sourced, not factory farmed.*
The Great Hot Dog Debate
Pro: They represent the diversity of America
There are as many ways to top a hot dog as there are stars in the flag: Fenway Franks with relish, brown mustard and onions, intricately pickled Chicago Dogs, and spicy Sonorans with salsa and pinto beans are just a few local variations on the dog.
Con: They’re compensating for something
What is the hot dog hiding behind all of those toppings? A small chin? Corporate malpractice? Or perhaps... it’s a lack of flavor.
Pro: They’re symbolic of our great nation
The coming together of many meats is representative of the great melting pot that is America. Hot dogs are made with a blend of many things, including water, spices and... uh...
Con: Wait, what are they made of???
We don’t really know what these meat tubes are. Not for sure. In fact, the name “hot dog” comes from a running joke at Yale in the 1890s: that the mystery meat of their favorite sausage just might be dog.
Pro: They’re the ultimate portable meal
The dog’s long and narrow design sits elegantly in the hand. Plus, it comes with an edible plate in the form of a bun.
Con: One just isn’t enough food
And yet, one hot dog is somehow too many.
Pro: They’re cheap
Paying four bucks for a weiner? Fuggedabout it! Hot dogs cost nothing. Anyone can be a baller with hot dogs.
Con: They’re cheap
You get what you pay for. In this case, ground cartilage and a splash of hot dog water.
Pro: They have an all-American origin story
The history of the hot dog is shrouded in mystery. But legend has it that they were introduced by German immigrants selling “dachshunds” from carts on Bowery in NYC, where they remain a staple snack.
Con: They look like weiners
Much like the Washington Monument, hot dogs are one of our nation’s great phallic symbols.
Pro: They’re highly memeable
America loves memes so much, we voted one into office. Then we pulled ourselves out of the darkness with this overplayed Snapchat filter. #Merica
Con: They’re full of surprises
If you’re not turned off to hot dogs yet, here’s one last fun fact. Here are six things Americans have found inside of hot dogs, according to TIME.
The tip of a razor blade
A large ant
“What looks like insect larva”
A hot dog written on with magic marker
A clump of hair “or something rat-like”
Dog bless America!