Behind the Popularity of Hot Dogs, Especially in America

During America’s Fourth of July, we imagine flags hung on people’s houses, fireworks exploding in the air, and people eating their traditional and tasty hot dogs while they celebrate. That’s how popular hot dogs are. They’ve become part of America’s tradition and culture when it comes to food. But does that alone explain why hot dogs are so popular in the USA? Definitely not.

When we say or hear the word “hot dog,” we think of a sausage placed inside a fresh bread roll with ketchup and mustard on top. This sounds very humble and modest, yet it is a prominent feature of America’s food culture. Let’s consider what makes hot dogs so popular in the USA.

There are many reasons why hotdogs are so popular in America. Firstly, they’re easy to cook and assemble. Secondly, they’re cheap, and thirdly, kids love them almost as much as chicken nuggets. Hotdogs can be found for sale almost anywhere in the USA, making them a quick and easy go-to treat on your lunch break or even on your way home from work.

Some bloggers claim that hot dogs top the list of America’s favorite foods. So, there must be a number of reasons that justify their popularity. In this blog, we’ll share with you the 14 reasons why hot dogs are popular in America. 

1. You don’t have to be a Michelin-star chef to cook hot dogs. 

That’s right. More often than not, people buy frozen hot dog sausages to make at home. There are numerous ways to cook hot dogs. You can cook them by grilling or boiling them. It’s even easier than frying bacon in a pan! All Americans can agree that a meal that requires simple boiling of sausages and then sticking them into rolls with the condiments of your choice is the easiest, tastiest meal possible – no cooking experience required.

2. They’re hard to miss in America.

Believe it or not, it’s relatively tougher to find an American street hamburger than a street hot dog. You’ll find street vendors selling hot dogs whenever you walk out on the streets in America. There’s no need to head to a specific store or a busy marketplace just to get your hot dog fix. It’s not uncommon to see vendors selling hot dogs inside malls, stadiums, cinemas, parks, and even the art museums in New York. 

3. Hot dogs are easy to eat.

Hot dogs are more convenient than street tacos and hamburgers. The assembly of the hot dog makes consuming it so convenient. Think of this: when you eat a hamburger, you’ll have the sauce, lettuce, and even the meat falling out of the buns. When you eat a taco, all the good stuff will just spill onto your clean shirt. 

Hot dogs, on the other hand, are hard to make a mess with. The sausage, relish, ketchup and mustard, all stick to the bun. You’ll see parents buying hot dogs for their kids because they don’t have to worry about the mess they’ll make. On the go meals are about more than price and taste – ease of handling comes into play too. And when it comes to street food, hotdogs are the least messy of them all. 

4. Children in America love them just as much as they love chicken nuggets. 

Oh yes! Kids love to devour hot dogs. Give a group a pile of hot dogs, and they won’t last long. Hot dog vendors add color to the food, making them appetizing and attractive to children. Vendors add colors to them by creating a unique combination of sauces and toppings or by using ‘dyed‘ hot dogs. It’s just like having plain vanilla ice cream with hot fudge and chocolate sprinkles. More often than not, kids associate taste with colors – and a hot dog looks as tasty as it is!

5. They’re popular in food-eating contests.

Hot dogs have become an integral part of food-eating contests, mainly because they’re cheap and easy to make and serve. Hot dog eating contests attract a lot of people because of the fascination behind a person eating more than fifty hot dogs in under ten minutes. These food-eating contests go way back to the early 1970s and are usually held on the Fourth of July. 

6. They’re cheap, period.

Hot dogs are inexpensive. People in America enjoy something that’s value for money. Even the richest people in the world love a good saving. If you’re trying to cut back on costs but still need a quick meal on the go, you can buy a hot dog fairly cheap or make them even cheaper at home. Who doesn’t like a cheap meal that tastes great?!

7. They make people happy.

According to a research report on ScienceDirect, it’s scientifically proven that certain foods make people happy, and it’s strongly linked to people’s memories and friendships. Ask any American what they grew up eating. You’ll hear the word hot dog. You’ll see people eating hot dogs in baseball stadiums as they watch a memorable match between their favorite teams. You see kids and parents eating hot dogs at festivals and events. The hot dog has been the go-to meal at just about every celebration and festive event. 

8. They’re tasty.

Even if you don’t live in America, once you bite into the hot dog, you’ll love it. It’s undeniable that they’re delicious, and it’s great that you can get meat and plant-based hot dog options out there. The condiments and the relish add to the taste. In fact, hot dogs are more customizable than other foods. Ever been to a barbecue and seen a spread of toppings to add to your hot dog? Now, that’s a taste sensation waiting to happen! 

9. Hot dogs are a marketing stunt.

Hot dogs tend to inspire other foods to reach more hungry customers. For instance, have you ever thought about hot dog-flavored potato chips? Neither have we, but Seven-Eleven sells them. You see, people almost crave the smokey flavors of a traditional American hot dog. 

10. Hot dogs can transform a meal into something memorable.

People can get creative with hot dogs. For example, are you craving Italian but with an American touch to it? Well, instead of having spaghetti and meatballs for dinner, why not have spaghetti and hot dog sausages? You can thank influencers for making that one popular. It’s an odd combination on paper, but it’s a fantastic treat on your dinner plate. Instead of having pepperoni pizza, why not have hot dog sausage pizza? Hot dogs are versatile – you can transform them into a variety of delicious meals if you’re creative enough.

11. They’re a part of America’s history.

One of the reasons why the hot dog is the traditional – yet iconic food of the country – is that they’re a part of American history. The existence of hot dogs traces back to the mass immigration to the United States during the 1800s. Hot dogs became America’s icon in 1939 when President Roosevelt served them to a British King called King George the Sixth. And King George asked for more! So, every time a proud American takes a bite of a hot dog, they taste the history and legacy behind it.

12. Hot dogs are a healthier junk food option. 

Perhaps this is a misconception, but there’s a portion of Americans who believe that hot dogs can be a healthy option. Some dieticians even ranked hot dogs high on the Keto Diet list. And perhaps this gives people an even stronger reason to have hot dogs as part of their everyday meals. One thing is for sure: if you have to choose between a packet of greasy chips and a hot dog, the hot dog is most likely the healthier junk food option.

13. Summer holidays and hot dogs are a match.

Family barbeques are common during the summer holidays. Families invite their friends and relatives to their backyard barbeques and spend time eating, drinking, and generally being merry. And the two easy dishes they’ll prepare are hamburgers and hot dogs. It’s not surprising to see grilled hot dogs at every summer barbecue, and we’re willing to guess that they’re a welcome sight for hungry eyes and bellies.

14. They’re essential for summer cookouts.

According to a survey carried out by the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, 73% of Americans believe that a cookout isn’t complete without hot dogs. They’ve become an essential part of American culture, grilling traditions, travel, and summer celebrations.

If you’re looking for a quick and easy tasty meal packed with American history, the hot dog is for you. These reasons combined make the iconic classic treat extremely popular—not only in America but also in other countries.

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This article was co-authored by our team of writers and editors who share one thing in common: their passion for food and drinks!

JC Franco
Editor | + posts

JC Franco works as a New York-based editor at Foodrinke, driven by his lifelong love for food. His culinary journey began in childhood, as he eagerly assisted his mother with her local sandwich and bakery business, relishing every opportunity to sample her creations. Known among family and friends as an easy eater, JC has a particular affinity for Chinese, Italian, Mexican, and Peruvian cuisine. At Foodrinke, he channels his passion for food into his work, sharing his enthusiasm and knowledge with readers.