Hot Dog Etiquette

April 15, 2010 at 12:01 am 13 comments

Summer is fast approaching and I know everyone is looking forward to lots of weekend barbecues, parking lot tailgates and company picnics. It’s always fun when there is plenty of beer, brats and BBQ sauce.

But it can also be serious; some outdoor cooks are very protective of their secret sauce and grilling technique. To lighten things up, here’s a secret you can share with everyone.

The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council (NHDSC) has published a guide to hot dog etiquette. According to the American Meat Institute, the NHDSC website “is a fun, practical informational resource to consumers…”

Emily Post would not approve of some of these rules and that’s fine by them. The etiquette guide states that hot dogs have an unpretentious nature to uphold.

Here are some highlights of the rules:

  • Condiments go on the dog, not between the dog and the bun
  • Utensils are forbidden when eating on a bun
  • Don’t use ketchup after age 18
  • Don’t send a thank you note after a hot dog barbecue
  • Don’t bring wine to a hot dog barbecue

As you can see, they’re pretty specific. They even have a preferred order of condiments:

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.

Now that you’re an expert on hot dog and sausage etiquette, be on the look out for infractions. Go easy this summer, maybe give out some warnings. But next year, fine those who don’t comply. Perhaps they can pay the fine with potato chips, potato salad, french fries or some other form of picnic potato.

Broken Secrets | Written By: Chad Upton

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Sources: NHDSC, AMI

Photo: TheBusyBrain

Entry filed under: Food and Drink. Tags: , , , , , , .

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13 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Brett  |  April 15, 2010 at 9:13 am

    There’s actually hot dog etiquette?! That blows me away.

  • 2. Jojo  |  April 15, 2010 at 10:59 am

    it blows me away that it’s acceptable to put damn near everything in your refrigerator on a hot dog, but DON’T USE KETCHUP! Ketchup snobbery needs to stop. It’s GOOD on some things. Hot dogs are one of those things.

  • 3. Janis  |  April 17, 2010 at 10:53 pm

    All I can say, is don’t go to the movies with my friend Fred. He always gets a hot dog (oh yeah, popcorn and a giant Pepsi too) and he knows nothing about etiquette of any sort. He’d want to know when I took French lessons.
    How about those machines that let you put “butter” (really oil) on your own popcorn? The first time he did that he flooded his lap with oil. He made me walk 2″ in front of him leaving the theater because it looked like he pee’d his pants.

  • 4. dee  |  April 21, 2010 at 7:18 am

    If I drink my wine out of a plastic glass, and I bring my own cork screw, does that make it ok? Too many rules. Can’t a girl get drunk and eat hot dogs in peace?! Screw it, I’m going home.

    Also, I like ketchup on my hot dogs. Why is it any of your business how I season my food? I can put chocolate sauce and whip cream on my hot dog if I like. It’s not like you have to eat it.

    Damn it, now I want hot dogs. And wine.

  • 5. Jim  |  April 21, 2010 at 5:31 pm

    Ketchup is for fries (and scrambled eggs). Just because you like it on a hot dog doesn’t make it right. :) And please, please, please don’t let it anywhere near a good hamburger.

  • 6. The Nomnivores  |  April 28, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    We’re very partial to the Bratwurst hotdogs on sale in the UK around Christmas; etiquette schmetiquette, however – it’s always yellow mustard and ketchup slathered on top, or it just isn’t a hotdog!

  • 7. Shannon  |  April 28, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    OK so Sausages demand mustard and chopped onions and nothing more.. but regular hotdogs are Crying for Ketchup!

    Sorry Ketchup snobs.. it’s a fact.. Ketchup is freaking amazing on a hot dog.. along with mustard and cheese and onions.. YUM-O!!!

    Now I want hot dogs.. Thank you Broken Secrets for making it easy for me to plan supper tonight * Hugs *

  • 8. red drum  |  April 28, 2010 at 6:04 pm

    Actually the order depends on where you are from. We put our mustard, onions and relish on, then chili, then cheese. That way nothing falls off. go dog.

  • 9. ilikemeltedcheese  |  May 6, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    if you want the cheese to be warm and melted though, you can’t put it on top of all the other ingredients…….

    and ketchup is delicious

    that’s all

  • 10. Vulpis  |  July 19, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    Bah. I say fie to those rules. Ketchup is fine, as long as it isn’t used in excess? And don’t put ingredients between the dog and bun? Kinda foolish, as heaping everything on top just makes it fall off–which then promptly requires using a utensil to consume the topping avalanche (as I recently dealt with when my brother went a bit overboard with the chili.. :-) ) Not to mention, if you’re using sliced cheese and/or bacon on your dogs, it works a *lot* better to put it along the sides. And then there’s my sausage dogs (or more accurately, cheddarwurst–thank you Hillshire and Johnsonville for combining two good tastes! ;-) )–some good honey mustard on the bottom of the bun, then the sausage, then ketchup along the sides, which apparently would *totally* scandalize these ‘experts’.

  • 11. Ketchup Etiquette « Cracking Chris Short  |  October 25, 2010 at 8:35 pm

    […] in adult settings.  Chad Upton even thinks that ketchup is for children when he states, “Don’t use ketchup after age 18” when eating hot dogs.  Much like how it’s rude and insulting to add salt and/or […]

  • 12. Ketchup Etiquette « Cracking Chris Short  |  October 25, 2010 at 8:58 pm

    […] in adult settings.  Chad Upton even thinks that ketchup is for children when he states, “ Don’t use ketchup after age 18” when eating hot dogs.  Much like how it’s rude and insulting to add salt and/or […]

  • 13. Jim  |  July 26, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    Very true, ketchup on a hotdog is for children. Some hotdog cart owners / workers here in Jersey will refuse to put ketchup on your hotdog. They will hand you the bottle for you to put on yourself so as not to be responable for messing up the dog.


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