Where hot dogs really come from is still widely debated until today. Hot dogs vary in so many ways in various countries and they have been called many different names. In Sydney and in other parts of the world, they’re famously sold in hot dog carts on practically every street, but can be called frankfurters, wieners and sausages. So what’s the deal with these different names?
Let’s take a closer look at the most popular terms that are often used interchangeably.
Technically speaking, a sausage is ground meat wrapped in a casing made from animal intestine or a synthetic material. In some cases, sausages are cooked as part of the process and the casing can be removed afterward.
Sausages come in different varieties. Below are the most common examples.
- Vienna sausage. The Vienna sausage is very similar to hot dogs and frankfurters with similar ingredients used. What makes these sausages different is that they are softer and smaller in size. The term often refers to small open end sausages that are packed in cans.
- Pork sausage. This sausage variety is made from trimmings or pork cuts and seasoned with black pepper, salt and other spices.
- Dry sausage. This variety is fermented and dried and some are smoked during the drying process. Compared to other varieties, dry sausages have a long shelf life.
Originally called weinerwurst, the wiener was brought by German Americans. The term is German for Vienna sausage which was eventually shortened to wiener. It is usually used interchangeably with hot dog or frankfurter. Just like Vienna sausage, wieners got their name from Vienna, a city in Austria. They have a texture and taste that are very similar to North American hot dogs, however, they are typically thinner and longer with an edible casing. Wieners may have the same formula as frankfurters. Nowadays, they are popularly served at parties straight from the grill through mobile catering.
Frankfurters, or franks, can be either be all beef or a beef and pork combination. The term may mean the same thing as hot dog or wiener. Franks are usually seasoned with garlic, pepper, salt, sugar, ground mustard and nutmeg. They are cured, smoked and then cooked. Their size can vary from small cocktail size to big dinner size.
There are 3 known varieties of frankfurters.
- Frankfurter Würstchen. This is a thin and boiled sausage made of pure pork with a casing made from lamb intestine. The pork is smoked using a special method which gives them a distinct taste. This variety of frankfurters are only heated in hot water and should not be cooked.
- Frankfurter Würstel. This is a type of sausage that is basically the same as Vienna sausage. Their ingredients, taste, size and method of preparation may vary depending on the manufacturer and where they are sold.
- Frankfurter Rindswurst. This variety is made of pure beef meat which can be boiled, broiled or grilled. The term means Frankfurt beef sausage in German.
There may be different names used by consumers today but they all point to the same thing – hot dogs. Juicy and tasty hot dogs. And for any hot dog lover, the taste is all that matters.
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