Experts: Yes, there is a right way to eat a hot dog - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Experts: Yes, there is a right way to eat a hot dog

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(WSIL) -- Many celebrate the Fourth of July holiday with fun, fireworks, and a lot of food.

According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, hot dogs are synonymous with our nation’s independence as Americans are expected to eat 150 million hot dogs on July 4 alone.

But are you eating them right? The NHDSC released a list of do's and don'ts when enjoying a hot dog. Here's how to do it right, according to the experts:


  • Serve sesame seed, poppy seed and plain buns with hot dogs. Sun-dried tomato buns or basil buns are considered gauche with franks.
  • Eat hot dogs on buns with your hands. Utensils should not touch hot dogs on buns.
  • Use paper plates to serve hot dogs. Every day dishes are acceptable; china is a no-no.
  • Condiments remaining on the fingers after eating a hot dog should be licked away, not washed.
  • Use multi-colored toothpicks to serve cocktail wieners. Cocktail forks are in poor taste.


  • Put hot dog toppings between the hot dog and the bun. Always "dress the dog," not the bun. Condiments should be applied in the following order: wet condiments like mustard and chili are applied first, followed by chunky condiments like relish, onions and sauerkraut, followed by shredded cheese, followed by spices, like celery salt or pepper.
  • Use a cloth napkin to wipe your mouth when eating a hot dog. Paper is always preferable.
  • Take more than five bites to finish a hot dog. For foot-long wiener, seven bites are acceptable.
  • Leave bits of bun on your plate. Eat it all.
  • Fresh herbs on the same plate with hot dogs over-do the presentation
  • Use ketchup on your hot dog after the age of 18. Mustard, relish, onions, cheese and chili are acceptable.
  • Send a thank you note following a hot dog barbecue. It would not be in keeping with the unpretentious nature of hot dogs.
  • Bring wine to a hot dog barbecue. Beer, soda, lemonade and iced tea are preferable.
  • Ever think there is a wrong time to serve hot dogs.

But for many, the true benefit of a hot dog is the happiness they bring. Other hot dog facts shared by the NHDSC include:

  • Mickey Mouse’s first on screen words were “Hot Dog!”
  • President Franklin D. Roosevelt served hot dogs to King George and Queen Elizabeth. The king ate two.
  • Americans say the celebrity they’d most like to enjoy a hot dog with is 97 year old Betty White.
  • A hot dog is not a sandwich.

The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council includes a full guide for etiquette in an online video:

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