On this day, our nation celebrates National Hot Dog Day to honor one of the world’s finest food creations. The history of the hot dog is heavily disputed, so to pinpoint the origin of the deliciously sandwiched meat is a difficult task. Depending on who you ask, you might hear that the frankfurter developed in the 1600s in Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany, but many hot dog historians (yes, they do exist) claim that Johann Georghehner — a butcher from Coburg, Germany — actually came up with the idea and took it with him to Frankfurt where it was adopted.
As for the hot dog’s introduction to the states, one tale tells the legend of a German immigrant who sold the sausages wrapped in milk buns from a push cart in New York’s Bowery District during the 1860s. The year 1871 marked the first Coney Island hot dog stand, where Charles Feltman — a German butcher — sold the treats like gangbusters. The Columbia Exposition in 1893, held in Chicago, helped to popularize the product when scores of immigrants sold their own versions of the hot snack. In that same year, creative entrepreneur Chris von der Ahe — a wealthy man of German decent who owned the St. Louis Brown Stockings (later to be renamed the St. Louis Cardinals) — began selling hot dogs at his stadium and the food took off, eventually finding residence in every sporting station across the nation.
While it’s still disputed to this day whether or not Chris von der Ahe was the first man to place hot dogs in a baseball stadium, there’s no question that the hot dog is one of the most popular items at any sporting event, specifically baseball. Furthermore, the hot dog — like many things — has seen its facade restructured and remodeled into newer vessels of meaty madness. Sure, you can just go with the original and splash some mustard or ketchup atop, devouring it like a Bavarian beast. Nowadays, you can let your imagination run wild with an assortment of hot dog variants being served at baseball stadiums all over the states.
Me? I just like my hot dogs plain. For you, though, you fine purveyor of exotic edibles, you may find that the crazier a hot dog gets, the more saliva that builds up in your mouth until it’s frothing from the sides. In that case, take a gander at some of the craziest hot dogs dotting the baseball landscape, and enjoy National Hot Dog Day like a champ.
Texas Rangers Boom Stick
Ingredients: Two-feet of dog, chili, cheese, jalapeños and caramelized onions
This $26 hot dog was named after the favorite bat of former Texan slugger Nelson Cruz. Weighing in at an enormous three pounds, the massive hot dog debuted in 2012 and was so popular that it helped rake in half a million dollars that year. The idea for the gigantic dog was almost put on hold when the stadium couldn’t find a vendor who made hot dogs or buns that big. So, they teamed up with a local bakery to custom make the wieners and buns, and the 2-foot delicacy will now live in infamy as one of the largest stadium dogs.
Minnesota Twins Brat Dog
Ingredients: Hot dog stuffed bratwurst wrapped in bacon, pretzel roll, sauerkraut, caramelized onions and peppers
What’s more tempting than meat stuffed with meat then wrapped in more meat? The Brat Dog is three layers of meat topped with some traditional elements. This hybrid-meat mountain debuted last year, and has since risen in popularity after the 2014 MLB All-Star game in Target Field.
Baltimore Orioles Mac n’ Cheese Crab Dog
Ingredients: Split hot dog, mac n’ cheese, jumbo lump crab meat, Old Bay seasoning
Whoever came up with the ingenious idea to throw a heaping mound of mac n’ cheese atop a hot dog should be commended. For years, the hot dog and mac n’ cheese were staples of a child’s diet, but the whole shebang can now be ingested by children and adults alike because they have converged into one entity. Thank you, Baltimore.
Arizona Diamondbacks D-Bat
Ingredients: An 18-inch corndog stuffed with cheddar cheese, jalapeños, and bacon
Challenging the Boomstick in length, the Arizona Diamondbacks D-Bat is enough food to satisfy the hunger of at least two baseball fans. And, coming in at $25 per dog, the D-Bat should probably be split amongst your friends to save some dough.
Atlanta Braves Dixie Dog
Ingredients: Hot dog, flash-fried pulled BBQ pork, mustard BBQ sauce, pickles, southern slaw
Pulled pork and hot dog meat sandwiched together sounds like a good idea because it is. While the mustard BBQ may set your mouth aflame, the pickles are there to cool it down resulting in a salty, savory treat that’s sure to keep you full through the ninth inning.
Las Angeles Angels Halo Dog
Ingredients: All-beef hot dog wrapped in bacon, charro beans, Anaheim peppers, and shredded Monterey Jack
If you like your hot dogs spicy and influenced by south of the border cuisine, then look not further than the Halo Dog. Stacked with loads of beans and peppers, this one might become a bomb in your gut, but it’s a welcomed bomb. Just don’t get upset when your stomach lining becomes enraged with your choices.
Pittsburgh Pirates Smokehouse Dog
Ingredients: Hot dog with pulled pork, onion straws and Kansas City-style barbecue sauce
Pulled pork makes another appearance on the hot dog list because it’s friggin’ delicious. Fried onions are always a welcomed addition to a hot dog, giving it some crunchy texture, as well as livening up the flavor. What the hell is Kansas City-style barbecue sauce? Not sure, but it has the word barbecue in it, so just eat it.
San Diego Padres Sonoran Dog
Ingredients: Hot dog wrapped in bacon on a potato bun, stuffed with onions, tomatoes, pinto beans, topped with mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise, and jalapeño sauce