Frankly ... Here Are Some Hot Dog Do's and Don'ts

Learn about toppings, safety tips and a little etiquette when it comes to this barbecue favorite.
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Hot Dog BBQ Party

Hot Dog BBQ Party

Are you a real hot-dog fanatic? If you are, you know the right way to devour a dog. If not, consider these dos and don'ts from the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council:

  • Do eat hot dogs on buns with your hands. Utensils should not touch hot dogs on buns.
  • Do serve sesame seed, poppy seed and plain buns with hot dogs. Sun-dried tomato buns or basil buns are considered gauche with franks.
  • Do use paper plates to serve hot dogs. Everyday dishes are acceptable; china is a no-no.
  • Do lick the remaining condiments on your fingers. They should not be washed.
  • Do use multicolored toothpicks to serve cocktail wieners. Cocktail forks are in poor taste.
  • Always "dress the dog," not the bun. Condiments should be applied in the following order: Wet condiments are applied first, followed by chunky condiments like relish, onions and sauerkraut, followed by shredded cheese, followed by spices, like celery salt or pepper.
  • Don't use a cloth napkin to wipe your mouth when eating a hot dog. Paper is always preferable.
  • Don't take more than five bites to finish a hot dog. For footlong wieners, seven bites are acceptable.
  • Don't leave bits of bun on your plate. Eat it all.
  • Don't put fresh herbs on the same plate with hot dogs. Mustard, relish, onions, cheese and chili are acceptable.
  • Don't send a thank-you note after a hot-dog barbecue. It would not be in keeping with the unpretentious nature of hot dogs.
  • Don't bring wine to a hot-dog barbecue. Beer, soda, lemonade and iced tea are preferable.

Favorite Hot-Dog Toppings

Mustard - 30 percent
Ketchup - 22 percent
Chili - 12 percent
Relish - 10 percent
Onions - 5 percent
Sauerkraut - 3 percent

---National Hot Dog & Sausage Council

Safety Tips

  • Although hot dogs are fully cooked, you should reheat them and make sure they are steamy hot throughout.
  • When you leave the grocery store with hot dogs, head straight home and refrigerate or freeze them immediately.
  • If there is no product date, hot dogs can be safely stored in the unopened package for two weeks in the refrigerator; once opened, only one week.
  • Freeze hot dogs no longer than one or two months.
  • Never leave hot dogs at room temperature for more than two hours. In the hot summer months, when the temperature goes above 90 degrees, no more than one hour.

---U.S. Department of Agriculture

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