When we think of a summer American food, what do you think of? Hot dogs, grilled to perfection with those black grill marks. Which is why on July 23rd, we take the time on this summer day to celebrate this classic food with National Hot Dog Day.

But how did the hot dog become the American food? Why is it served at baseball games? Who even invited the hot dog?

There are so many claims to who actually invited the hot dog that no one really even knows who created it. What we do know is that hot dogs originated from Germany, with their love of sausage making. They then came up with a mix of pork and beef for a sausage in Vienna, Austria that was German name was Wien. Then a man by the name of Johann Georg Lahner brought Frankfurter Würstchen to Vienna, when he added beef to his mixture and called it the Frankfurter. Most Germans call their hot dog sausage a Wiener; unless it contains pork then it’s the Frankfurt.

A German immigrant named Charles Feltman started selling sausages in rolls at Coney Island in 1870. He wanted to improve his business he started in Brooklyn, so he created the stretched bun we know today as the hot dog bun. This new hot dog bun made it convenient for eaters to grab the bun and walk down the street or eat on a bench without a plate.

But the big question, why do we eat hot dogs at baseball games? Why is it a tradition at every game! A man by the name of Chris von der Ahe, a German immigrant holds the title of the first person to sell hot dogs at the ballpark. After going bankrupt von der Ahen decided to go into the baseball business, even though he knew absolutely nothing about baseball. He ended up creating the St. Louis Browns, today known as the St. Louis Cardinals. With ticket sales at 25cents, his customers were able buy beer and hot dogs at the game.

Hot dog carts flooded the streets in the early 1900s, especially in New York City.   They sold hot dogs as cheap as 3 cents for just one. With the fast pace of New York City, hot dogs carts were great. A person could just stand in line, grab a hot dog and keep on walking. Not much has changed in New York City, maybe the price, I don’t think you can find a hot dog for 3 cents anymore.

Now what is in a hot dog? The basic hot dog consists of meat trimmings with fat, flavoring, then placed in a casing and cured. Beef and pork are the tradition meat for a hot dog, but if less expensive hot dogs are made with turkey and chicken. This American classic has had a lot of controversy in the past couple years.   The technology of mechanically separated meat, health hazards from the nitrate & even questionable ingredients. The hot dog business keeps strong, with nitrate free hot dogs and 100% meat hot dogs, no filler.

Not only is the hot dog an American classic, but also it has multiple records in the Guinness Book of World Records. In May 2012 the most expensive hot dog was recorded at $145.49 at the Capitol Dawg in Sacramento, California. A Japanese man by the name of Takeru Kobayashi holds the record for most hot dogs eaten at the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating contest with 69 hot dogs eaten.

With a little bit of history in your head, it’s time to fill that tummy with hot dogs. Looking for a healthy hot dog? Check out Applegate Natural & Organic Hot Dogs, made from 100% grass fed beef, sugar free & casein free.

Not looking to cook your own? Yelp has a full list of local hot dog shops near you, so download that app and get to eating those hot dogs! Want to eat hot dogs in Pittsburgh? Head over to BuzzNTheBurgh.com to check out this full list of local hot dog shops, click here.

Don’t forget to share those photos!! Use hashtag #NationalHotDogDay to share with the world.