Washington, D.C. — The economy may still be lukewarm, but America’s love affair with hot dogs is red hot, especially in our nation’s ballparks, according to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council’s annual survey.
The NHDSC predicts that ballparks around the country will serve 21,378,064 hot dogs this season, enough to round the bases 29,691 times. If laid end-to-end, the dogs would stretch from the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., to Coors Field in Denver, Colorado, with enough left over to give a hot dog to every fan at every Colorado Rockies’ home game for the entire 2010 season. In addition, the NHDSC predicts ballparks will sell 4,933,853 sausages this year.
When it comes to individual stadiums, Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, tops the survey again this year. Fenway Park will serve up more than 1.67 million hot dogs during the 2010 season, according to projections. Always boiled and grilled, the Fenway Frank is served on a New England style bun (split from the top) and topped with a choice of mustard and relish. Of note, Fenway is also the first MLB ballpark to install a Hot Nosh Glatt Kosher hot dog vending machine.
Moving into second place this year in our survey are the Chicago Cubs of Wrigley Field, where fans are expected to consume 1.54 million hot dogs this season. It’s no surprise that the stadium’s top dog is the Chicago Dog, an all beef hot dog topped with sport peppers, a pickle spear, diced tomato wedges, diced sautéed onion, green relish, celery salt and yellow mustard in a poppy seed bun. Also making its Wrigley Field debut this year is the High Plains Bison Foot-long Buffalo Dog, a footlong bison dog served with blue cheese, coleslaw and buffalo sauce.
Rounding out the top three is last year’s second place finisher, the Philadelphia Phillies. Fans are expected to consume 1.45 million hot dogs at Citizens Bank Park this season. To give the dog its due, the Phillies are asking fans this year to select a new signature hot dog for the park. The top three finalists are the South Philly Hot Dog, an all-beef hot dog topped with broccoli rabe, spicy roasted peppers and sharp provolone on a crusty Italian roll; the Olde Philadelphia Hot Dog, an all-beef dog topped with Amish pepper hash, dill pickle and yellow mustard on a poppyseed roll; and the Summer Hot Dog, an all-beef dog topped with cucumbers, pickled onion salsa and ancho pepper sauce on a pretzel roll.
Fans may vote through April 12 by going to http://bit.ly/B3xwn. The winner will be served throughout the 2010 season.
Dodger Stadium finished fourth in the poll, with 1.2 million hot dogs projected, with Citi Field, home of the New York Mets, coming in fifth with 1.15 million in projected sales.
“There’s no question that hot dogs and sausages hit home runs year after year,” said Tom Super, spokesman for the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council. “Even with vast additions to stadiums’ menus, fans still relish the hot dog as their number one food choice at the ballpark.”
Other stadiums around the country offer a range of options to hot dog-hungry fans. At Nationals Stadium in Washington, D.C., fans nosh on the Ben’s Chili Bowl Half Smoke, a half-smoke sausage covered with chili, shredded cheese, diced onions and mustard. Pittsburgh Pirates’ PNC Park features The Pittsburgh Dog, a foot-long hot dog topped with diced tomato, coleslaw, grilled onions, provolone cheese and French fries. Rangers Ballpark in Arlington offers the “Mini Triple Play,” a mini hot dog, mini bratwurst and mini cracked black pepper sausage on a mini hot dog bun, along with Nolan Ryan sausage on a stick. Petco Park, stadium of the San Diego Padres, is home to the Sonoran Dog, which comes wrapped in bacon. The stadium also offers its own recipe Grandstand Mustard. A staple at Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks, is the Arizona Dog, an all-beef foot-long topped with nacho cheese sauce, chorizo sausage and corn tortilla strips.
And back by popular demand at Dodger Stadium this year, thanks to a Facebook campaign pushing for its return, is the spicy Picante Dog. The Picante Dog joins the famous Dodger Dog, which was first introduced in 1962 and is such an icon that it has its own Bobblehead figurine.
When it comes to hot dog’s close cousin the sausage, no one is in the same ballpark as the Milwaukee Brewers, home of the world-famous Klement’s Sausage Race in the sixth inning of each game. It is projected that 910,000 sausages will be served this year at Miller Park. Miller Park is the only stadium in Major League Baseball where sausages outsell hot dogs. In fact, the stadium sells more sausages than 22 teams sell hot dogs.
The New York Mets finished a distant runner-up to the Brewers, with approximately 376,650 sausages expected to be sold at Citi Field this year. Finishing third in the NHDSC’s second-annual sausage consumption survey is U.S. Cellular Field, home of the Chicago White Sox, with 325,000 projected in sausage sales.
New Ballpark, New Offerings
While both the New York Yankees and the New York Mets opened new stadiums last year, only one team this season is moving to a new home — the Minnesota Twins. With the team’s move to Target Field comes some changes to the menu which will feature Minnesota-focused signature items inspired by local restaurants, Twins’ greats and regional ingredients.
When it comes to dogs, say goodbye to the Dome Dog and hello to Minnesota-made Schweigert hot dogs. These dogs were a fan favorite when the Twins last played home games indoors. Fans may choose from a new hot dog lineup that includes the Original Twins Dog, a traditional pork and beef hot dog made from the same recipe as the ones served in the team’s first ballpark and the Twins Big Dog, a quarter-pound all-beef dog that will be served at portable grills and select concession stands.
Tastes of Home
While rivalries abound in Major League Baseball, our poll shows that the hot dog brings both sides together, with stadiums striving to feature the regional flavors of their biggest competitors. Nationals Park in D.C., for example, is home to a Taste of the Majors stand that includes the D.C. Dog with chili, onions and mustard; the Philly Dog with cheese sauce, peppers and onions; the Sea Dog (Florida) which is a foot-long cod sandwich; the Atlanta Dog with chili and coleslaw; and the New York Dog topped with sauerkraut and mustard.
Visitors to Angels Stadium in Anaheim may choose from the traditional Angel Dog, an all-beef hot dog topped with mustard ketchup, relish and onions; a traditional Chicago Dog; a New York Coney with chili, melted cheddar and onions; a Boston Dog topped with glazed baked beans and bacon; or Kansas City Barbecue Dog topped with smoked beef brisket and a tangy barbecue sauce.
Kauffman Stadium, home of the Kansas City Royals, and Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros, also feature a number of regional favorites including Diablo Dogs, Texas Dogs, Island Dogs, Chicago Dogs, Cincinnati Cheese Coneys and New York City Dogs.
Enjoying a dog at the park doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg either. Many ballparks across the country are offering their own “stimulus packages” to hungry fans during tough economic times. Miller Park, for example, hosts “Spring Madness” every year, during which they sell hot dogs and small sodas for a dollar. The stadium typically sells around 110,000 hot dogs during three days. The Cincinnati Reds have two hot dog stands that offer dollar dogs all season long. Many other teams, too, offer $1 hot dog days, family packs or even all-you-can-eat specials throughout the season.
Lucky Phillies fans can get free hot dogs without even leaving their seats thanks to a one-of-a-kind hot dog launcher that shoots hot dogs into the stands between innings. The launcher is a collaborative effort between Hatfield Quality Meats and the Phillies to create a unique and memorable fan experience at the ballpark.
The launcher has become such a phenomenon that Hatfield, with help from the Phanatic (the Phillies’ mascot), put together a humorous behind the scenes "documentary" on the making of the hot dog launcher which has become a Youtube hit (http://bit.ly/biQt26).
For the first time this year, the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council also polled ballparks on which condiments are most popular. While Miller Park dispenses 1,300 gallons of its “secret stadium sauce” a year, it is ketchup and mustard that top the overall poll in a landslide. For example, Progressive Field, home of the Cleveland Indians, dolls out 2,202 gallons of Heinz ketchup and 1,234 gallons of Berman’s Brown mustard a year.
While ketchup is fine for burgers and fries, the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council hopes these numbers do not reflect a larger trend — putting ketchup on hot dogs. As many know, it is against hot dog etiquette rules to put ketchup on a hot dog after the age of 18.
“The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council is pleased to see large quantities of mustard and ketchup being dispensed in our nation’s ballparks, but it is our hope that it is children who are enjoying ketchup on their dogs, not adults,” says Janet Riley, NHDSC president and the Queen of Wien. “Our ‘no ketchup after age 18’ rule is no April Fool’s joke. After all, rumor has it that within the city limits of Chicago you could be arrested for such an offense!”
For additional information, visit the Council online at http://www.hot-dog.org/.
Established in 1994, the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council conducts scientific research to benefit hot dog and sausage manufacturers. The Council also serves as an information resource to consumers and media on issues related to quality, safety, nutrition and preparation of hot dogs and sausages.