Dear Guru: Mustard Sally


I'm withholding my otherwise witty comment.

I’m withholding my otherwise witty comment.

Why do we put mustard on hot dogs?

#Kzinti #from #Twitter

I’ll be happy to answer that perceptive question. But first I feel the urge to sing.

Mustard Sally, think you better slow your mustard down.
Mustard Sally, think you better slow your mustard down.
You been running all over my hot dog.
Oh! I guess we’ll have to have your mustard on the ground.

Yo, cat! Sup? I have to say thanks for the question. I relish this opportunity. I shall endeavor to layer my response. Yep. Like an ogre. Ogres have layers. Onions have layers.

Personally I’m a fan of ketchup. It goes on burgers and fries, of course, but also macaroni and cheese, scrambled eggs and, you guessed it, hot dogs. This puts me at odds with The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council which advises on their official website, “Don’t [u]se ketchup on your hot dog after the age of 18.”

I didn’t get the reference to age at first. Is it a veiled reference to their products being barely legal? Then I did a Google Image Search for the phrase “hot dog.” Caution: Do not try that at work. Or home. Or anywhere else where you have eyeballs. What has been seen cannot be unseen and pretty much guarantees I’m done with hot dogs for the rest of my life.

Mustard is apparently an acceptable condiment. Per Wikipedia, it “was originally prepared by making the ground seeds into a paste with must.” Must is “freshly pressed fruit juice (usually grape juice) that contains the skins, seeds, and stems of the fruit.”

The first known use of the word mustard to describe a condiment in English was back in the “late 13th century, though it is found as a surname a century earlier.” However, mustard was apparently around much longer than that. “Rashi says that Abraham served calf tongue with mustard to the angels who visited him.”

The official ketchup-hating website has a condiment bracketology for hot dogs. Yes, it’s true. They are serious about their hot dogs, no buns about it. I’ll break it down for you. IMHO. As you’ll see, Mustard is the #1 seed. (Ha ha ha. Gulp.)


Note: These responses are based on what I think goes best on a hot dog, not which condiment I like best. I’m trying to honor the spirit of the original question. Remember that? This thing that spawned all of this? And does anyone besides me see the insidious politics at play in this supposedly “random” bracketology? Bastards.

Let’s go.

Round 1

Mustard vs. Mayo – Mustard wins, even though, for some strange reason my wife breaks out the mayo for hot dogs. I’ve never fallen for it, though.

Cole Slaw vs. Sauerkraut – Seriously? Cole slaw is actually offered for consideration? I think it only existed to round out the sweet 16. Sauerkraut wins by a nose!

Chili vs. Ketchup – Chili is a worth competitor. The bracket placement is unfortunate here. Go home. Ketchup wins!

BBQ Sauce vs. Relish – Another unfortunate placement. I’ve never tried BBQ Sauce on a hot dog but I would consider it. Too little, too late. Relish wins.

Onions vs. Pulled Pork – The latter sounds too damn trendy. Onions FTW! And plenty of ’em.

Sweet Peppers vs. Hot Peppers – Here’s where things get political. Did the damn Pepper Alliance bribe someone? Someone has to win, so let’s go, reluctantly, with Sweet Peppers.

Tomato vs. Bacon – This one is tricky. Tomato and Ketchup on the same dog? Yep, yep. I know this will be controversial with some of you but Bacon is outta here!

Pickle vs. Cheese – Another potential redundancy (relish and pickle?) but this time it’s a no-brainer. Cheese sends Pickle away in search of a hamburger.

Round 2

Mustard vs. Sauerkraut – Interesting match-up but in the end Mustard is too damn strong.

Ketchup vs. Relish – Sweet or dill, either way, you can’t touch this. A hot dog can survive without Relish. Ketchup moves on.

Onions vs. Sweet Peppers – This is just sad. Onions, baby.

Tomato vs. Cheese – This is basically a bye week for the fromage. Tomato is crushed.

Round 3

Mustard vs. Ketchup – Sometimes the best don’t make it to the finals. It’s damn close but Ketchup wins in a sneaker.

Onions vs. Cheese – Finally the competition is getting fierce. As fierce as my breath after eating my dog. Onions have the staying power here.

Round 4 – The Finals

Ketchup vs. Onions – It’s a Cinderalla story! The number six seed, Ketchup, is going to Disneyland! Onions proved to be too yellow for this battle. In other words, if forced to choose only one ingredient on a hot dog, I would go with ketchup and nothing else. If we were talking corn dogs, then mustard cuisine would have ruled supreme. That’s not kosher right now.

Of course, none of this answers the question why but unfortunately we’re out of time. And patience. That’s a question that will have to wait for another day. Hot dog!

8 responses

  1. I’ll take my hotdog loaded with everything and to go.
    Please pack extra napkins and a portable shower unit.
    And Tums.

    Yours in discomfort,


    1. That dog don’t bark. It’s too loaded.


  2. NotAPunkRocker | Reply

    Suddenly, I have lost my appetite. Not because of the condiment battle, but what you did to that poor song. :-/



    1. Yesterday I kept singing that song to myself. My wife thought I was nuts. Slow that mustard down!


      1. NotAPunkRocker



  3. Ketchup on a hotdog is an abomination.


    1. I knew this post would prompt harsh reaction. See? I’m not afraid to tackle the tough issues.


      1. I’m sure you approached it with relish.


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