Originally created 05/27/98

Foot-long fanatic

It's the Titanic of hot dogs. A super-size wiener smothered with chili, mustard, onions, ketchup, relish, coleslaw, cheese, bacon and maybe even jalapenos.

It requires a Godzillian appetite and, often, a knife and fork.

So who would want to handle one of these monsters?

Mike Feaster.

He's been coming to the Sno-Cap Drive-In on West Avenue in North Augusta since it opened in 1964. When he wants a hot dog, it's the Long Dog with mustard, onions and chili."I buy it because of the novelty, and the weenie is longer than the bun," Mr. Feaster said.

On a good day, the Sno-Cap sells 50 Long Dogs, said owner Rachel Franklin. The 12-inch wiener comes with mustard, onions and chili for $1.95. Coleslaw is 25 cents extra.

Although commonly referred to as a foot-long, most elongated hot dogs are really just 10 inches long. More often than not, it's the bun that's 12 inches.

Extra-long hot dogs are available at several restaurants in the Aiken-Augusta area, including local Dairy Queens and Sonic drive-ins.

The Dairy Queen on Central Avenue sells about 60 Superdogs a day. The wiener is 10 inches long and weighs a quarter of a pound. It's always served with a knife and fork. It comes with mustard and ketchup for $1.79. You can add chili, cheese, coleslaw, onions and relish. To pile on everything costs $2.72.

At Sonic, the Extra-Long Chili-Cheese Coney is 10 inches long and rests in a 12-inch bun smothered with chili and cheese for $2.39. You can add coleslaw, bacon or jalapenos. Fully loaded it's $3.89.

The longer dog is the top dog at the Washington Road Sonic.

"I sell 87 percent more of the Extra-Long Chili-Cheese Coney than any other hot dog," said Manager Chuck Elliott.

Consumers of the long hot dogs say they get more wiener for their money.

"You save 5 cents. You just feel like you're getting something with the Long Dog," said George Yoder, who always orders the Long Dog on his trips to Sno-Cap.

"It's a matter of economics," said Julie King, who occasionally orders the Superdog at Dairy Queen. "I'm hungry today, and it's cheaper than two."

Customers who think they are getting a good deal are right.

"You get more for your money with the Superdog," said Mike Mulherin, owner of the Dairy Queen on Central Avenue. "It is the better bargain."

The price of two regular hot dogs at Dairy Queen is $1.98, while the Superdog is only $1.79. At most restaurants that sell the longer wiener, one long is cheaper than two short.

But some folks are just fooling themselves by ordering one big dog instead of two small ones.

"You don't think you're eating as much, but that's probably not true," said Travis Doss, a fan of Sonic's Extra-Long Chili-Cheese Coney. "It's all psychological I guess."

Hot dog history

Here are some hot dog facts from the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council:

  • Sausage is one of the oldest forms of processed food, having been mentioned in Homer's Odyssey as far back as the ninth century B.C.
  • Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany, is traditionally credited with developing the frankfurter in 1484. The people of Vienna (wien), Austria, point to the term "weiner" to support their claim as the birthplace of the hot dog.
  • It's likely that the North American hot dog comes from a widespread common European sausage brought to the New World by butchers of several nationalities.
  • Also in doubt is who first served the dachshund sausage with a roll. One report says a German immigrant sold them, along with milk rolls and sauerkraut, from a push cart in New York City's Bowery during the 1860s. [z]n[] In 1871, Charles Feltman, a German butcher, opened up the first Coney Island hot dog stand selling 3,684 dachshund sausages in milk rolls during his first year in business.
  • In 1893, the Columbian Exposition brought to Chicago hordes of visitors who consumed large quantities of sausages sold by vendors. People liked this food, which was easy to eat, convenient and inexpensive.
  • In the same year, sausages became the standard fare at baseball parks, a tradition started by a St. Louis bar owner, Chris Von de Ahe, who also owned the St. Louis Browns baseball team.
  • Today's hot dog on a bun was probably introduced during the St. Louis Louisiana Purchase Exposition in 1904 by Bavarian concessionaire Anton Feuchtwanger. He loaned white gloves to his patrons to hold his piping hot sausages. Most of the gloves were not returned, and the supply began running low. He reportedly asked his brother-in-law, a baker, for help. The baker improvised long soft rolls that fit the meat -- thus inventing the hot dog bun.
  • The term "hot dog" was coined in 1901 at the New York Polo Grounds baseball stadium. One cold April day, concessionaire Harry Stevens was losing money with ice cream and ice-cold soda. He sent his salesmen out to buy up all the dachshund sausages they could find, and an equal number of rolls. In less than an hour his vendors were hawking hot dogs from portable hot water tanks with "They're red hot! Get your dachshund sausages while they're red hot!" In the press box, sports cartoonist Tad Dorgan was nearing his deadline and desperate for an idea. Hearing the vendors, he hastily drew a cartoon of barking dachshund sausages nestled warmly in rolls. Not sure how to spell "dachshund" he simply wrote "hot dog!" The cartoon was a sensation -- and the term "hot dog" was born.

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