Celebrate National Hot Dog Month in July | News

Summertime food lovers endure the long winter months in anticipation of the bounty of foods that summer has to offer. Fresh fruits and vegetables as well as backyard barbecue favorites are well worth the wait.

Whether you are at an afternoon ballgame, a family BBQ or walking the boardwalk of your favorite beach, summer just wouldn’t be the same without the all-American summer favorite, the hot dog.

This iconic American food is a staple to any Independence Day celebration, so it is no surprise that the month of July is National Hot Dog Month.

Hot dogs are served in about 95 percent of US homes, and according to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, Americans consume an estimated 20 billion hot dogs each year.

One venture could to say “frankly, that’s a lot of franks,” but that statement could just be a lot of bologna.

Most do use the terms hot dog and frankfurter interchangeably, but they are not exactly the same.

The American hot dog does originate from the German Frankfurter, however, US hot dogs tend to be all beef or a mixture of beef and pork trimmings. Whereas a frankfurter is made more like a sausage with a more sausage-spicy flavor compared to the milder flavor of a hot dog.

Hot dogs are also quite versatile as far as how you can prepare them. Their mild flavor and easy accessibility makes them a perfect addition to many casserole and stew recipes. You can also serve them with many different condiments such as relish, sauerkraut, mustard, or queso.

For the straight up, plain dog on a bun, hot dogs can be served boiled, steamed, fried or baked, but nothing beats the classic smokey flavor of a hot dog bursting with juice that is hot off the grill.

For the grill masters of the family, you’ve got the hot dog preparation covered. But for those who enjoy the “consuming of the hot dog” part and prefer to skip the “standing over a hot grill and cooking” part, there are several Massachusetts restaurants that specialize in the all-American hot dog and are well worth the drive to check them out.

Not so far of a drive, you can find Elliot’s Famous Hot Dogs, located at 39 Elliot St. in Lowell. A long standing tradition in the City of Lowell, Elliot’s serves an old school dog at a reasonable price. For something a little less old school, try their deep fried hot dog.

A bit further out in Allston is Spike’s Junkyard Dogs, located at 108 Brighton Ave. Spike’s specializes in the specialty hot dog. Try their signature Junkyard Dog featuring banana peppers, scallions and pickles, or the T-Bird Dog with plenty of honey mustard and swiss cheese.

You will never find yourself in the doghouse again after you take the family for a meal at The Doghouse, located at 189 Lower County Road in Dennisport. They offer take out or outdoor seating only, but they also offer an seemingly endless variety for the hot dog connoisseur.

Besides a traditional dog with your choice of condiment toppings, they also have a large selection of specialty hot dogs. The West Dennis Beach Dog features a dog topped with macaroni and cheese, crispy onions, and bacon bits. The Fourth of July Dog is topped with southern BBQ sauce, coleslaw, crispy bacon and fried tobacco onions.

If you like to eat “outside of the box” or perhaps “outside of the bun” would be more fitting, the Boston Hot Dog Company, located at 60 Washington St. in Salem prides themselves on being the perfect blend of fine dining flavor and the traditional hot dog experience. The key to this unlikely marriage is fresh and flavorful toppings on all beef or vegetarian dogs with freshly baked buns.

The Boston Hot Dog Company’s menu offers the “classics,” such as an original hot dog, a Chicago style dog (made with mustard, relish, onion, tomato, pickle, sport peppers on a poppy seed bun) and a corn dog.

Specialty dogs are out of the ordinary with such combinations as the Shorty Dog, covered with braised short rib, caramelized onions, blue cheese and crispy shallots or the California Dog, a veggie dog with cucumber, tomato, arugula, avocado covered with ranch dressing.

As Independence Day quickly approaches, some pessimists tend to think July 4 marks the beginning of the end of summer. While most will agree there is still plenty of summer left to enjoy, we can also agree that it will be gone before we know it.

Before July is just a fading memory, enjoy all there is to love about summertime and foods. Spark up the grill, or start up the car and get your fill of America’s classic summer food during National Hot Dog Month.


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