The earliest form of the hot dog, the sausage, has made appearances in culture as early as 9th Century B.C., in Homer’s epic, The Odyssey. However, traditional hot dogs or frankfurters, a sausage in a bun, are considered to originate from Frankfurt, Germany. First appearing during the 13th Century, frankfurters were served to the public during royal coronations.
American hot dogs are said to have come across the Atlantic with German and Austrian immigrants. It may have seemed like just a small token of their homeland as they made their way toward the new world, however this staple of baseball games, backyard barbecues, and kid’s birthday parties couldn’t be more ingrained in American culture.
Allegedly, in 1871, German emigre and butcher, Charles Feltman opened up the first hot dog stand in Coney Island, Brooklyn selling thousands of hotdogs in buns within its first year. Hot dogs gained even more popularity among American at the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Countless hot dogs were sold to visitors who enjoyed the inexpensive and easy meal. The same year, German bar owner Chris von der Ahe is believed to have established the close relationship between hot dogs and baseball, as he also owned the St. Louis Browns major league baseball team.
The origins of the term “hot dog” have long been in dispute. Â The name hot dog seems to refer to the German dachshund dogs that many Germans brought over to America, along with the hot dog recipes themselves. The name probably refers to the jokes made about the long, thin dogs and their resemblance to the German delicacy. Germans even called their frankfurters “little-dogs.”
Though many theories exist as to the origins of the name, one thing is for sure: hot dogs have their place in many hearts (and stomachs) world wide.