GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) – In honor of Super Bowl week, sink your teeth into this: Greensboro ranks second nationally in per-capita consumption of hot dogs.
And take a second bite: The only city to rank higher was Raleigh/Durham (so do we infer that High Point was part of the figures for Greensboro?).
Those figures were based on data compiled in 2020 and shared by a group called the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council. And believe us, if you want to go to the dogs and have plenty of mustard on your pitch, you can find it at this site. You will never have to catch up. (Is the hot dog a sandwich? Let us count the reasons.)
The council claims that in 2022 there were 916.9 million pounds of hot dogs sold at retail stores, generating about $3 billion in retail sales.
The graphic that showed the per-capita rankings didn’t include how many pounds of dogs are consumed in Greensboro, but we can say without question that North Carolina loves its dogs. Charlotte (No. 5) made it three of the top five consumers from our state.
Buffalo, New York, and Paducah, Kentucky, interrupted that flow. Nos. 6 through 10 were Knoxville, Tennessee; Birmingham, Alabama; Little Rock, Arkansas; and Richmond and Norfolk, Virginia.
None of those cities, though, ranked among the top 10s when you weighed them by pounds sold or dollar amounts. Los Angeles consumes about 30 million pounds of hot dogs every year. Yep, that’s 15,000 tons of pork, beef and/or turkey (we don’t think veggie dogs count).
LA was followed in the top 10 by New York, Dallas, Chicago, Philadelphia – should we say, “Go Eagles”? – Boston Houston, Atlanta, Miami and Phoenix. Kanas City showed up, well, nowhere. Sorry, Chiefs.
In fact, if a city has a vibrant baseball team, then its hot dog market is pretty good. A survey from the 2019 season found that 18.3 million hot dogs were consumed at major-league ballparks. Los Angeles Dodgers’ fans consumed 2.7 million by themselves.
Grinding the sausage
Oh, you say you prefer sausage? Apparently a lot of us do so, even more than hot dogs.
The council suggests that 1.2 billion pounds of “dinner sausage” were sold last year, bringing in $5.3 billion. Then you can add “breakfast sausage” – we didn’t know there was a difference – with 416 billion pounds for another $2 billion.
Louisiana topped the per-capita list for sausage sales – Baton Rouge and New Orleans ranked 1-2 – but Raleigh did show up at No. 5. In pounds sold, Los Angeles, New York and Chicago were the top three.
And baseball fans in San Francisco prefer sausage, selling 450,000 in 2019 to beat out the Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox. Fans overall ate nearly 4 million that pre-pandemic season.
5 tasty asides about hot dogs and sausages
We know that hot dogs don’t really go with Super Bowl fare. Most of them are consumed between Memorial Day and Labor Day (about 38% of sales). Same for “dinner sausage.” But we did find five fun facts about hot dogs/sausage that we thought you might find tasty:
1. Greensboro has its own varietal.
There are about 11 varieties of hot dogs from North Carolina. You’ve heard of major pork companies such as Smithfield, but there is a frank called the Beef Master that is made by Curtis, a company in Greensboro. You may know that name because it is the sponsor for the Tar Heel Sports Network.
2. Which is the best?
The Fayetteville Observer in 2021 tested and ranked the top 11, choosing Stevens Red Hots as No. 1. Bright Leaf Original was No. 2, and our local Beef Master came in third. It’s simply a matter of taste.
3. Hot dogs are a big hit at ballparks.
Major-league baseball teams are notorious for creating various types of hot dogs – the Dodger Dog has as own place in pop culture – and there are many regional favorites, too. Some of the minor-league parks in North Carolina sell by various names what is called the Carolina-Style Slaw Dogs, which are topped with mustard, homemade chili and, of course, coleslaw.
4. Sausage is more than one grind.
There are actually 31 varieties of sausage listed from around the world. It includes bratwurst and Andouille, of course, but you might be surprised to see that bologna and salami are included in the genre. Of course, there are Vienna sausages as well.
5. Mustard or ketchup?
If you are thinking about serving hot dogs or sausage at your Super Bowl gathering on Sunday, the hot dog council offers expert advice on “best pairings” which is a subtle way of suggesting that you should add mustard as your dressing, not ketchup (debate that as you see fit). And, yes, the type of mustard depends on the type of meat.