WASHINGTON, May 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Americans are expected to eat at least seven billion hot dogs between Memorial Day and Labor Day, according to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, in Arlington, VA. That's enough for every man, woman and child in the world to enjoy a hot dog. The Council estimates that Americans eat 20 billion hot dogs each year, but more are eaten in the warm weather months when the grills are fired. During Fourth of July weekend -- the biggest hot dog holiday in the United States -- Americans are expected to enjoy 155 million hot dogs. The Council anticipates this summer could see hot dog consumption records due to a continued strong economy. Although Americans are united in their love for hot dogs, they don't always agree what they like to put on their hot dogs. Hot Dog Council research shows that a generational split exists among Americans: the overwhelming majority of American kids prefer ketchup on their hot dogs, while most adults say mustard is their favorite hot dog topping. Council polling also revealed a disturbing fact. When asked what they would like on their hot dogs if their moms weren't watching, 25 percent of kids said they would prefer chocolate sauce. In addition to cookouts and picnics, Americans will also be enjoying hot dogs in record numbers at major league ballparks this summer. A recent Council survey of major league ballpark concessions revealed that approximately 26.5 million hot dogs will be consumed at Major League Baseball games this season. Council data also shows that hot dogs rank among the top five meats that will land on the barbecue. Other grilling favorites, according to the poll, are sausages, steaks, chicken and hamburgers. The Council offers several tips for a safe and delicious summer barbecue: * Keep hot dogs and sausages cold, either in the refrigerator until ready to grill or in an ice cold cooler while away from home at picnics. * Hot dogs are pre-cooked, but should be thoroughly reheated until steaming hot. Be sure to separate hot dogs from other uncooked meats and poultry. * Precooked sausages, like smoked bratwurst and knackwurst, need to be reheated until steaming, hot just like hot dogs. * Fresh sausages, like fresh Italian and fresh bratwurst, need to be cooked slowly and evenly over mature coals until the sausage is grey throughout and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the sausage reads 160 degrees F. for meat sausage and 165 degrees F. for poultry sausage. Fresh sausage also may be parboiled in water for 15 minutes and then grilled. However, grilling should immediately follow parboiling; interrupted cooking is not recommended. * Remember to place hot dogs and sausages on a clean plate after grilling. * Wash hands thoroughly in hot soapy water after handling any of these products. * Observe all expiration dates on precooked products. Consumers with questions about meat and poultry safety should call USDA's Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-800-535-4555. For more information about hot dogs and sausages, visit the Council's Web Site www.hot-dog.org. The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council is a project of the American Meat Institute Foundation. The Council offers recipes, photographs, cooking and storage tips, fun-filled facts and trivia and other general information about hot dogs and sausages and hosts the ever-popular site www.hot-dog.org. The Council also sponsors July's National Hot Dog Month and National Hot Dog Day, scheduled for July 19, 2000.
SOURCE National Hot Dog and Sausage Council