On the third Saturday of March, American foodies celebrate what could be the most underrated holiday of the year: National Corn Dog Day. This scrumptious celebration was established in 1992 when a handful of food-savvy basketball fans realized that corn dogs were the perfect snack to savor while watching March Madness match-ups, making it appropriate that National Corn Dog Day coincides with the beginning of the NCAA’s annual tournament each year.
While almost everyone agrees that the corn dog’s greasy goodness is worthy of national recognition, very few can concur on the origin of the dish. A patent for a machine designed to deep-fry food items on skewers was approved in 1929, but historians remain unsure if this particular invention gave rise to the modern corn dog. In 1941, Portland, Oregon’s, Pronto Pup began selling a corn-meal-battered and deep-fried weenie on a stick, leading many to believe that this now-famous franchise is the originator of the hotdog. However, this claim is contested by a slew of other eateries, all claiming that the first corn dog was fried up in their own kitchens. One of Pronto Pup’s most prominent rivals is the “corny dog,” a tasty treat debuted at the Texas State Fair in 1942. This early version of the corn dog was created by a pair of vaudeville performers and is still a culinary staple of the Texas State Fair to this day. Because Pronto Pup’s variation of the corn dog was not trademarked until 1942, the creators of the corny dog were able to boast that their recipe was, in fact, the original.
No matter the official origin of the corn dog, this common selection of fair fare is undeniably all-American. Since their invention sometime in the early twentieth century, the corn dog craze has spread to other regions of the globe. Argentinians enjoy a breed of corn dog called a panchuker that is commonly topped with cheese, and culinary masterminds in Australia created the dippy dog, a recipe that calls for white or wheat flour instead of corn meal for the batter. Recently, the Japanese-inspired spicy tuna corn dog has taken the world of gastronomy by storm. This unorthodox fusion of cultural comfort foods is created by deep frying a spicy tuna sushi roll in corn meal batter to perfection.
Corn dogs are also the perfect food for competitive eaters. Delicious and easy to devour, the corn dog is the star of the show in the California State Fair’s annual Corn Dog Eating Contest. The most recent winner took home the $2,500 prize after consuming 32 corn dogs in only 8 minutes.
Even if you aren’t a competitive eater, take some time to celebrate this National Corn Dog Day by enjoying your favorite version of this tasty treat (and don’t worry, calories don’t count on holidays).
- 10 Fun Facts You Never Knew About Corn Dogs (spoonuniversity.com)
- NATIONAL CORN DOG DAY – March 20, 2021 | National Today
- The Corn Dog’s Origin – Who Invented It | Bar-S (bar-s.com)
- 5 Things to know about the corn dog – New York Daily News (nydailynews.com)
- Corn Dog Eating Contest Sponsored by Milo’s Corn Dogs and Pizza – Cal Expo & State Fair