*information for this post was in part supplied by Hormel Foods through their Hormel Extended Family Blogger program. No compensation was received for this post.Did you know that July is National Hot Dog Month? Not only can you celebrate all month long, but there is even a specific day dedicated to the love of hot dogs - last Thursday (July 23rd) was also National Hot Dog Day (now why do Mom's get just a day and Hot Dogs get both a day and a month?). Here are some fun facts about hot dogs to get you started:
- Americans are expected to eat at least 7 billion hot dogs this summer, according to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council (http://www.hot-dog.org/)
- Ten percent of annual retail hot dog sales occur during July
- Sausage consumption is on the rise with sales reaching $2.5 billion in 2014
Depending on where you grew up, the way you enjoy your dog may be very different (who knew?). When I was a kid, my preferred way to eat a hot dog was very plain. I preferred it just zapped in the microwave. If it was grilled or cooked on the campfire, my primary request was that it was still mostly pink. As for toppings, ketchup was sufficient to meet my needs. As I have gotten older, my tastes have changed. After trying stadium mustard, I decided that it was my preferred 'plain' dog topping and now I skip the ketchup. But, I also like to dress it up too!
For a long time, adding some chili and cheese to it was a great way to enjoy a hot dog. Used to be that I reserved chili dog consumption to eating out, but now I know that I can simply use a can of Hormel chili (no beans variety for me) to create this flavor at home.
Then, we tried this local hot dog shop that dresses their dogs in so many varieties that I would never have considered. It was here that I found another favorite - the Greek Hot Dog. Top your hot dog with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, kalamata olives, green onion and feta cheese. It is amazing how good that combination tastes.
Of course, corn dogs were always a favorite when we were at the fair. I found a quick and easy way to prepare them at home as Corn Dog Muffins, and they are portable...perfect for taking to the kids' baseball or softball games.
Now, switch that dog up for some sausage - the standard variety or for even more range of flavor chicken sausage - and for me, at least, it opens up many additional ways to dress the sandwich. I am a big fan of topping my regular sausage with a bit of mustard and some sauerkraut. Or, topping it with some grilled onions and peppers.
I was exploring the Hormel Recipe Site and their Hot Dog Pinterest Board and found some other really interesting sounding hot dog recipes that I will have to try. How about Mac n Cheese Dogs?Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs?
Hosting a cookout? Why not keep the menu simple, and the possibilities endless by setting up a toppings bar. Fire up the grill and prepare for your guests some hot dogs and some sausage (I recommend a chicken sausage to mix it up). Maybe even wrap a few in bacon for added flavor. You can go for some plain hot dog buns or get New England Style with their top split. For your toppings bar, use a variety of bowls to hold your toppings. I would include the following - ketchup, mustard, diced onions, pickle relish, Mac and Cheese, chili, shredded cheddar cheese, diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce, cucumbers, kalamata olives, green onions, jalapenos, salsa, grilled peppers and onions.
What other toppings would you include on your toppings bar?
No compensation was received for this post. All opinions expressed are mine or those of my family. I am completing this post as a participant in the Hormel Foods Extended Family Blogger program. Hormel Foods provided some product samples for my family to try. I also receive thought starters and information that can be used in a post.