Like candy on Halloween, hot dogs are the quintessential summer ballpark food, and the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council (NHDSC) estimates that baseball fans will consume more than 19.4 million hot dogs and over 4.3 million sausages during the 2016 Major League baseball season. The combined hot dog and sausage total could stretch from Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay, Florida, to Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California. The hot dog total alone would reach as high as 5,425 One World Trade Centers, the tallest building in the U.S.
“There are challengers galore, but hot dogs remain king of the concession stand,” said NHDSC President Eric Mittenthal. “From childhood through old age there are two things guaranteed to put a smile on your face: baseball and hot dogs. It’s the perfect combination.”
The Los Angeles Dodgers can relish in victory as the team’s fans are once again projected to consume the most hot dogs, totaling more than 2.6 million—a jump of more than 100,000 from last year. That is enough to round the bases at Dodger Stadium 3,693 times, and based on last year’s attendance, means that nearly 70 percent of fans at Dodger home games will eat a hot dog.
The New York Yankees have again claimed second place, as fans are expected to consume more than 1.55 million hot dogs. Batting third are the Cleveland Indians at 1,252,463 hot dogs, followed closely behind by the Texas Rangers with 1,206,780 anticipated hot dog sales. The Chicago Cubs round out the lineup of top hitters, with fans expected to consume more than 1,000,000 hot dogs, representing a 17 percent increase over last year.
In perhaps the greatest upset this season, the San Francisco Giants have unseated defending sausage champions the Milwaukee Brewers to reclaim the top spot, with 475,000 sausage sales expected. The St. Louis Cardinals threw a curve ball, rising to clinch second place with fans expected to consume 400,000 sausages. The Boston Red Sox, meanwhile, earned third place with Fenway Fans expected to eat 327,500 sausages this year. The Brewers rank fourth at 280,000 sausages.
MLB Hot Dog and Sausage Guide Launched
While perennial hot dog favorites remain staples at ballparks across America, teams are introducing new creations that are sure to be all-stars. With so many new options, the NHDSC launched a new guide highlighting photos and descriptions of this season’s most unique hot dog and sausage offerings, along with a sampling of classic favorites. Now, fans can savor all the choices available to them in one, convenient location.
Some of the top 2016 MLB rookies include:
Cracker Jack & Mac Dog: Pirates fans will no longer have to choose between two of baseball’s most cherished foods: Cracker Jacks and hot dogs. This creation, offered by Aramark, features a hot dog topped with Cracker Jacks, mac and cheese, salted caramel sauce and fried jalapeños on naan bread.
T.E.D. – “The Everything Dog:” Braves fans should come hungry to eat thisstandard foot-long hot dog, layered with fries, chili, nacho chips, beer cheese and jalapenos, topped with popcorn and a Coca-Cola infused BBQ sauce served in a pretzel bun.
Cheeseburger Dog: Diamondbacks fans can indulge on this hot dog made of char-grilled hamburgers that have been ground up and mixed with chopped smoked bacon, green onion and cheddar cheese. They are then breaded with milk and flour, deep-fried and served on a bun with smoked bacon and secret sauce.
Wicked Pig: This sandwich topped with sausage, pulled pork, Danish bacon, prosciutto, ham, coleslaw and pork rinds, finished with BBQ sauce, is sure to please any pork loving Rangers fan.
“The hot dog and sausage innovation at ballparks is truly amazing” said Mittenthal. “Just a few years ago, macaroni and cheese or pulled pork were considered unusual hot dog toppings, but today almost anything goes.”
Another trend is local hot dogs such as at Wrigley Field where Cubs fans can enjoy new hot dogs and sausages from local favorite Hot Doug’s and Gilbert’s Craft Sausages while the Nationals are debuting a stand from local restaurant Haute Dogs and Fries and the Indians will feature hot dogs from Happy Dog, including one topped with Fruit Loops.
West Virginia Dog Triumphs in Regional Hot Dog Contest
One hot dog more stadiums might consider in the future is the West Virginia Dog, the newly crowned 2016 Hot Dog Madness regional hot dog champion. Following more than three weeks of spirited competition, West Virginia successfully defended its title as the best regional hot dog, managing to thwart a strong challenge by the Seattle Dog, which struck out in the bottom of the ninth to earn second place. The New York and Chicago dogs rounded out the final four.
The West Virginia Dog features chili, mustard and coleslaw on a steamed bun. Fans chose it by voting on the NHDSC Facebook page in a bracket style contest featuring 16 different regional hot dogs from the he North, South, West and Midwest.
“West Virginia fans are very passionate about their hot dogs and for the second time, let their voices be heard to help crown our winner, said Mittenthal. “While the regional dog debate has been settled for this year, we know other areas will be rallying their fans to support their dogs next time around.”
Fans who voted in all 15 matchups won a free NHDSC t-shirt, while the participant who shared the polls with the most people on Facebook received a $100 gift card for their favorite hot dogs. Winners will be announced later this week.
For more on annual consumption data, hot dog and sausage facts, culture and more visit www.hot-dog.org.
Source: National Hot Dog & Sausage Council