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Aug 11, 2008 09:00 AM

Ketchup on Hot Dogs

I know some people think this is wrong, but I don't know why.

I like hot dogs with chili, mustard, and cheese


ketchup, mustard, and relish (Dodger Dogs)

I know some people just cringe at ketchup on a hot dog and some places won't serve it, but I have never had it explained satisfactorily. XH just about flipped when he saw his own children eating ketchup on hot dogs.

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    1. I think people associate ketchup on hotdogs as a childhood thing, something one "grows out of" when one becomes older and "sophisticated." In this context, the hotdog is merely a delivery vector for the ketchup. Kids like sweet crap, mine will dunk everything on his plate in the stuff. But at a certain critical juncture in a child's development, they switch from ketchup to mustard. At that point, the heirarchy is changed and the hotdog and the topping become part of a symbiotic whole.

      Of course you have the snooty types who feel that ketchup on a dog is an abomination. I don't mind ketchup at all and think the sweetness goes well on particularly salty brands of hotdogs, Hebrew Nationals in particular.

      8 Replies
      1. re: monkeyrotica

        I didn't exactly grow up on eating hot dogs, being German and all, but frankly, whenever I have one, it has to have ketchup and mustard on it. No thanks to the relish, tho, that's kinda overkill on the sweetness.

        1. re: linguafood

          Don't you think that's putting a rather fine point on it? I mean, are Wurstbrötchen actually more different from a NY hot dog than the latter is from a Chicago dog? When said Wurst comes out of a steamer, the only real difference I see is that the sausage and the bread are usually of higher quality (though not always).

          I would love to see the reaction of some of the anti-ketchup purists to a Berliner Currywurst :-)

          (And for my part, I'm not so into ketchup generally ... on fries, dogs, whatever. Good Currywurst being the notable exception. )

          1. re: tmso

            The only context that I would eat an American-style hot dog in is in its cotton-y "roll", with Heinz ketchup and French's mustard. What can I say, in my case it probably is some sort of childhood memory, where hot dogs were 'something different'. Same as with burgers, but let's not start a new burger debate :-D

            A good German bratwurst doesn't need any ketchup, only mustard. Hot mustard. Nor does it need a Brötchen, in my opinion.

            I could lead a very happy life if I never ate a currywurst again...

            1. re: linguafood

              I still fail to see the difference between an American hot dog and a steamed Frankfurter/Wiener würstchen, but I guess I can see it being a childhood thing. Probably similar to the distinction between grilled hotdogs and bratwursts in the US (what?). Still, if you're going for the super-American variation, you need the sweet relish. Not that I like it (I don't actually like hotdogs), but it's *the* big typical difference I can see between a hotdog and a Wurstbrötchen. The cottony roll isn't strictly necessary, you do sometimes see something closer to a petit pain or a brötchen. Especially if it's grilled.

              As for a good bratwurst, I agree (except I'd go for medium-hot, so as not to overpower the sausage). But the same goes for all sausages, if they're good. Not-so-good, well, I point you to the extensive ketchup selection in German supermarkets. Still, give me a grilled Italian fennel sausage any day of the week instead.

              As for currywurst, I think it's very much the Berlin equivalent of a hotdog. Loved by some, disdained by some, eaten by the majority. I've had a couple (I think 3, actually) and I'll certainly have at least one more. Probably not many more than two more, though ;-)

              1. re: linguafood

                >>A good German bratwurst doesn't need any ketchup, only mustard. Hot mustard. Nor does it need a Brötchen, in my opinion.<<

                My brats has to have a base layer of sauerkraut and then add a bit of ketchup to take the "sourness" out of it. Yummie! :-D

                Now the local old timers seem to have the need for horseradish and mustard on every dog or brat they intend to devour. Even though hot mustard seems to contain horseradish, it just isn't the same in their opinion.

                Ketchup seems to be still an option, to all concerned parties.

          2. re: monkeyrotica

            I totally agree with your opinion. When I see adults drown food in ketchup I consider that some sort of developmental flaw. I'm not one to judge though. I do keep organic ketchup on hand for sauces and the occasional french fry but NEVER on a hot dog!

            1. re: stricken

              "When I see adults drown food in ketchup I consider that some sort of developmental flaw. I'm not one to judge though."


            2. re: monkeyrotica

              As you say it may
              became a symbiotic whole.
              So as you become older your tastes
              and your preferences may change.
              As I became older I changed
              from Ketchup to Mustard and onions.
              I still like a lot of Ketchup.
              I still buy the jumbo sizes of Ketchup
              and Mustard at the store. I also
              buy a large whole onion everything
              I go to the store.

            3. I have never understood the "oh no never ketchup on a hot dog" thing. Seems kind of affected to think that there's a "proper" way to eat something as low on the "dining out" chain as a hot dog. I like my hot dog with everything, pretty much.

              1. Show me a place nearby that refuses to serve me ketchup on hotdogs and I'll show you a fracas.

                7 Replies
                1. re: TarheelYankee

                  the Roast Grill in Raleigh is famous or perhaps, infamous for not allowing ketchup

                  1. re: chicaraleigh

                    really? I wish I'd have known that, I was just there (in the Raleigh area).

                    What do they say when you ask for it?

                    edit: I just googled it, I see how they can get away with it, by not offering anything else on the "menu" that would create the possibility of using ketchup.

                    (rolling eyes)

                    1. re: TarheelYankee

                      Father's Office in LA serves fries n addition to their famous burger, and they still somehow "get away" with a ketchup ban.

                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                        I've seriously never heard of such a thing... what do they care if you want ketchup on your dog?

                        1. re: TarheelYankee

                          Seriously. I didn't even know there was some kind of snooty movement against ketchup. Oh well. I'll put whatever I want on my hotdog, and for me it's absolutely necessary to have one with chili, cheese and ketchup, and one with ketchup, yellow mustard and relish.... I don't think I'd be a patron somewhere that felt they were 'above' using ketchup *gasp*

                          1. re: MichelleRenee

                            oh michelle, you'll find that we chowhounders get snooty about all kinds of things. just stick to your guns and do your own thing -- that's what we all pretty much do anyhow.

                            ps, i'm a southerner and grew up putting everything on a hot dog -- mayo, ketchup, mustard, relish. and doggone it, i might just do that tomorrow. i haven't had a hot dog in a while.

                   may be a knockwurst, and i may skip the mayo and ketchup in favor of kraut. on the other had, a regular dog, like off a bbq grill with a little charring, would be good naked or all dressed up. hmmm, do i have charcoal?

                      2. re: TarheelYankee

                        well, as far as I one asks for it because there's a huge sign with a circle with a \ thru it and the word ketchup underneath

                        next time i'm over there, i'll make my son order ketchup and see how it goes then report back :-)

                        i think i also saw on the history channel's "history of the hot dog" that SuperDawg in Chicago will give you packets of ketchup but won't actually put ketchup on the dog

                        as for me, i like a hot dog with just about anything, but never never ketchup AND chili on the same dog....

                  2. I'm a mustard and coleslaw (or sauerkraut) man myself, but why anyone should care about ketchup on a frank is beyond me. After all, sweet relish on hot dogs is perfectly acceptable - why not ketchup?