Summit Up: Where hot dogs are the new steak |

Summit Up: Where hot dogs are the new steak

Enjoy a taste of the ballpark at home with grilled frankfurters. Serve with a variety of toppings. (AP Photo/Meat Board Test Kitchens)

Good morning and welcome to Summit Up, the world’s only daily column that’s waiting on its acceptance as an honorary member of the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council. Really, we just can’t get our minds off wieners.

OK, we admit that sounded strange – and borderline creepy – but when you read these numbers, we’re pretty certain you’ll be pondering some (pronto) pups as well.

The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, or NHDSC as most of you probably know it, conducts an annual survey every year to see just how much Americans love processed meat stuffed into national casing.

The numbers are staggering.

But, since baseball season is almost upon us, let’s keep the statistics linked to our national pastime. So, the NHDSC estimates that a total of 21,378,064 hot dogs will be sold at ballparks this season or, depending on the length of your preferred wiener, enough dogs to round the bases 29,691 times. Link all those dogs together, and they can stretch from the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., all the way to Coors Field with plenty left over to give a hot dog to every fan at every home game for the entire 2010 season.

We know, that’s a heck of a lot of hot dogs.

Now, we here at Summit Up take great pride in our dogs, but if you were to make a visit to the NHDSC’s official website (, you’ll see that no one’s passion for franks runs deeper than this Washington D.C. based organization.

The NHDSC conducts scientific research to benefit hot dog and sausage manufacturers. It also serves as an information source to both consumers and the media.

This is where their nifty website comes in.

Open up the home page, and you’ll see a wonderful depiction of Hot Dog City, a town complete with a newspaper and information center. We here at Summit Up have yet to be able to confirm or deny the town’s actual existence. After all, when you get to the site, it automatically plays the town’s theme song, written and recorded by the band Buster’s Dream. I’d doubt that well-respected musical group would lie to us about the existence of something as great as Hot Dog City.

The best part of the site, though, is the plethora of information it has. If you ever had a wacky wiener question, this is where you’d check it out.

For instance, did you know that the first words Mickey Mouse ever uttered in a cartoon were “hot dog” in the 1929 film “The Karnival Kid?” Or how about that both Elvis Presley and Led Zeppelin both have songs entitled “Hot Dog?” A few other facts: The average hot-dog vender’s cart weighs 40 pounds; hot dogs are an official item on the menu at the Vatican; and Miller Park in Milwaukee is the only Major League park that serves more sausage than wieners.

Pretty interesting, eh?

The website also gives you the necessary means to order a hot dog in a foreign country. A tip: Next time you’re in Italy, you want to ask for a “caldo cane.”

Remember, though, hot dogs are not to be eaten recklessly. For instance, never under any circumstances should anyone over the age of 18 put ketchup on a dog. The NHDSC outlines that clearly in its wiener rules. And, if you need reassurance, Clint Eastwood even said so in the fourth Dirty Harry film. We wouldn’t want to upset Dirty Harry.

Anyway, we prefer our dogs Chicago style: Vienna beef, poppy seed bun and topped with mustard, relish, peppers, onions, tomato and a pickle.

Doesn’t get any better than that.

Well, it’s Saturday, and we’re off to check the mail to see if our membership card has arrived.

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