Who Invented the Hot Dog?


Quick Answer

Legend suggests that Gaius, the cook for Roman emperor Nero, invented the hot dog. According to the stories, Gaius roasted a pig without removing its intestines, which were filled with air. Gaius stuffed ground meat, wheat and spices in the empty intestines and made the first sausage.

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Full Answer

After Gaius produced the first sausage, it spread across Europe. Germany adopted the sausage, and created the first modern hot dog in 1484. Two major cities claim to be the birthplace for the hot dog. Frankfurt, Germany, and Vienna, or Wien in German. Frankfurt created the frankfurter or frank while Vienna created the wienerwurst or wiener.

German immigrants brought the hot dog to the United States in the 1860s. By 1915, Nathan Handwerker, a Jew and Polish immigrant, started the well-known Nathan's Famous hot dog stand at Coney Island. As of 2014, Original Nathan's Famous hot dog stand is still open in Coney Island. By the time of the Great Depression, Nathan's hot dogs were famous all across the United States, even coming to the attention of the president of the United States. President Roosevelt and his wife actually served grilled hot dogs to the king and queen of England in 1939 at a picnic.

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