Time for a cookout? Hot dog!

Published 8:38 pm Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The grill work isn’t done until there are a few hot dogs plumping off to one side.

The best Independence Day grillmeisters know that you can’t just load the grill with big round patties of beef and be done with it, especially if you’ve got kids coming to the party.

The grill work isn’t done until there are a few hot dogs plumping off to one side, threatening to roll off into the coals or onto the ground.

Hamburgers and hot dogs go together like peanut butter and jelly, like salt and pepper, like bacon and — just about anything you could mention. And no Fourth of July celebration would be complete without hot dogs.

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As American as hamburgers might be, the king of American food must be the ubiquitous hot dog.

The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council estimates that Americans spent more than $1.7 billion on hot dogs in supermarkets last year, with the folks in Los Angeles leading the pack in per-capita consumption.

Today alone, the organization says, Americans will eat 150 million hot dogs. That’s enough to stretch from Washington, D.C., to Los Angeles more than five times.

And you might not have known it, but there’s a “hot dog season.” The Council considers the period from Memorial Day to Labor Day the prime time for consuming what must be one of America’s favorite treats. Americans will eat 7 billion hot dogs — 818 per second — during those months alone.

Start grilling, now. You’ve got a lot of eating to do.