No ketchup! And other hot dog rules to relish

Baseball is not just about the game, it’s about the food, too.

The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council estimates that fans will eat a whopping 21,357,316 hot dogs and 5,508,887 sausages during the 2014 Major League season, enough to stretch from Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles to Wrigley Field in Chicago.

That’s a lot of hot dogs. When it comes to hot dog-consuming cities, Los Angeles is No. 1, based on total retail sales for the 2012 calendar year. Hot dogs, according to the council, also have an official season. Memorial Day to Labor Day is when Americans consume the most, about 7 billion hot dogs.

If you’re planning on some hot dogs to celebrate the baseball season, below are the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council’s tips for hot dog “etiquette.”

  • Never put hot dog toppings between the hot dog and the bun. Always “dress the dog,” not the bun.
  • Apply wet condiments first, then chunky ones followed by cheese and any spices or seasonings.
  • Don’t use ketchup on your hot dog after the age of 18. Mustard, relish, onions, cheese and chili are acceptable.
  • Don’t take more than five bites to finish a hot dog, or seven for a foot-long wiener.
  • Eat hot dogs on buns with your hands. Utensils should not touch hot dogs on buns.
  • Always lick away condiments remaining on the fingers after eating a hot dog instead of washing.
  • And if you want to ramp up your dog, try different toppings. From ones topped with slaw, simple grilled onions or chili to Chicago-style with sport peppers, dill pickle, onions and mustard on a poppy seed bun.

Avocado and spicy relish hot dogs

For the relish

1 medium avocado, halved, pitted

1 large ripe tomato, diced

1 jalapeno pepper, stem removed, seeded, finely chopped

1/3 cup chopped cilantro

1/4 cup finely chopped white onion

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste

For the dogs

6 grilled hot dog buns

6 grilled all-beef hot dogs

6 tablespoons Mexican cheese blend, divided, optional

To make the relish, cut the avocado into 1/4-inch dice and place in a bowl. Add the tomato, jalapeno, cilantro, onion, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mix gently so you don’t break up the avocado pieces. Arrange the buns on a platter. Place the hot dogs in each bun and top each one with 1 tablespoon cheese, if using, so it melts slightly. Spoon relish on top and serve.

From and tested by Susan M. Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.

Analysis per hot dog: 330 calories (55% from fat), 20 grams fat (7 grams sat. fat), 26 grams carbohydrates, 12 grams protein, 786 mg sodium, 28 mg cholesterol, 3 grams fiber.

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