‘Never ever’ put ketchup on hot dogs, experts say: ‘Grow up’

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Lifelong hot dog lovers better ketchup with the latest toppings trends this July 4.

Slathering a frankfurter in a layer of cool, tangy ketchup is a foodie faux pas for folks 18 and over, according to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, which argues that the condiment is strictly for kids.

In fact, the top dog of the organization says dressing a wiener with ketchup is, well, kinda weenie.

“If you can vote, it’s time for your taste buds to vote for a hot dog without ketchup,” NHDSC president Eric Mittenthal told The Post. 

“The sweetness is just not the ideal match for a hot dog,” continued the big cheese. “As New Yorkers know, mustard, onions and sauerkraut are preferable toppings.”

But whether the glaze deserves a place on your plate this Independence Day is up to each celebrant’s free will.

Mark Rosen, vice president of marketing for Sabrett, the official hot dog of Madison Square Garden, tells The Post that in this dog-eat-dog world, there’s absolutely “no shame” in putting ketchup on a hot dog. 

“We don’t see too many adults doing it anymore,” said Rosen. “But if they do, it’s totally fine.”

“Do whatever floats your boat and puts a smile on your face this holiday and every day.”


Stock footage of a couple sharing a hot dog.
The president of the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council tells The Post that adults who are old enough to vote should abandon their affinity for ketchup on hot dogs.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

But Mittenthal, who also works as the Chief Strategy Officer at the North American Meat Institute, has long been adamant that ketchup and hot dogs don’t mix. He voiced his distain for the tomato-based sauce in a 2021 press statement, saying, “No matter how you top it, any hot dog is delicious…Well, except for [hot dogs] with ketchup.”

He added, “The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council etiquette guide says only children should eat their hot dogs with ketchup.”

And he’s right. The zingy red spread has been ferociously blackballed by the council for over a decade. 


Two little kid boys eating hot dogs outdoors.
The NHDSC believes adults should abstain from putting ketchup on hot dogs because it’s viewed as a childish habit.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

A man eating a hot dog with ketchup.
Arguments surrounding ketchup have gone viral on social media, seeing many debating who should eat and where it should be stored in the home.
Getty Images

“Never, ever put ketchup on a hot dog after the age of 18,” an NHDSC spokesperson advised in a 2008 frank-eating tutorial. 

“We all have to grow up sometime,” added the anti-ketchup crusader. 

And a faction of TikTok tastemakers concur. 

Under the viral hashtag #HotDogNoKetchup, which has amassed over 114,000 views, gourmands who’d rather their dogs ketchup-free are proudly promoting their preference. 

Ketchup is for kids, not adults,” insisted content creator Jim Florentine in a saucy snippet. “Get over it…Ketchup is liquid sugar and chemicals.” 

Influencer Uncle Gabe echoed similar sentiments to his over 1 million followers, saying, in part, “I’m eating a hot dog [without] ketchup, because I’m not an idiot.”

Alina Gene, a TikToker from Chicago — where hot dogs, served on poppy seed buns, are typically topped with mustard, fresh tomatoes, sweet relish, a dill pickle spear, chopped onions, sport peppers and a dash of celery salt — separately denounced pairing ketchup with the delectable. 

“Chicagoans hate it when you try to put ketchup on our hot gods…We just take our sausages very seriously here,” said Gene in a video address.

“We put mustard on our sausages because that’s meant to compliment the sausage,” she explained. ‘Ketchup drowns out the taste of a sh- – -y sausage.”


Stock image of a Chicago-style hot dog.
A Chicago TikTok user explained why ketchup on hot dogs is widely frowned upon throughout her city.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

But link-lovers across the nation seem to disagree. 

A May 2021 survey by the NHDSC found that 61% of Americans enjoy smothering their hot dogs with a few healthy squeezes of ketchup. The crimson goop ranked second among hot dog-enhancers, outperforming relish, chili and cheese in the poll. It closely trailed mustard, which reigns supreme as the countrywide favorite. 

The controversy surrounding condiments resurfaces just days after Pepsi announced its new soda-based garnish “Colachup” — a gooey blend of Pepsi, smoked tomatoes and spices meant to adorn the full length of footlongs.


A woman and man putting ketchup on their hot dogs.
Although the NHDSC insists that ketchup is for kids, a 2021 report by the organization found that most US citizens enjoy the sauce as a wiener topping.
Getty Images

The debate, too, follows the end of the timeworn argument over where ketchup should be stored, when the Heinz company revealed that its bottle belongs in the refrigerator, causing Twitter outrage in June.

“We started something,” Heinz replied, after countless Twitter replies. “It has been a wild ride.”

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