The exhilarating experience of watching a live Major Baseball League game is never complete without munching on ballpark foods. Classic snacks like hot dogs, cracker jacks, and popcorn are essential stadium foods at every game. But occasionally, fans are introduced to innovative culinary creations that come to represent baseball teams.
You may have heard of the Texas Rangers Fowl Pole, the Seattle Mariners toasted grasshoppers, the Fenway Frank in Boston, and the Pittsburgh Cone at PNC Park. Yet even with these new additions, one classic ballpark specialty has stood the test of time and remained a fan favorite since its creation. It’s none other than the Dodger Dog.
This iconic hot dog is just as famous as the team it represents, the Los Angeles Dodgers. One of the most popular hot dogs in American sporting history, the Dodger Dog is a Los Angeles staple and a must-try when you visit the City of Angels.
Read on to discover the history of the Dodger Dog and find out how you can get your hands on this tasty hot dog, even outside the Dodger Stadium!
According to The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council (NHDSC) data, the Dodger Dog is among the most popular hot dogs sold and consumed at baseball games. It’s a testament to the solid fan base of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Dodger Dogs are a significant part of the Dodgers culture, much like the Dodger Stadium, Vin Scully, Sandy Koufax, and Clayton Kershaw. But how did a simple hot dog meal make its way to the hearts of millions of fans to achieve worldwide fame?
Let’s dive into the story behind the well-loved Dodger Dog.
Founded in 1883, the Dodgers were originally based in Brooklyn, New York. However, in 1958, team owner Walter O’Malley decided to move the franchise to Los Angeles.
The Dodger Dog wasn’t invented until 1962. It was the brainchild of Thomas Arthur, Dodger Stadium’s first concession stand manager, and was made for the stadium’s opening day in the same year. He wanted to pay homage to the Dodgers’ East Coast origins, so he took inspiration from Coney Island’s foot-long hot dog frank.
Arthur called the product “Foot Long Dog,” but since the actual hot dog was only 10 inches long, the name drew flak from customers. So, he came up with a new name, and thus the Dodger Dog was born.
This All-American hot dog is made of a pork and beef blend first produced by the Morrell Meat Company. In 1972, Dodgers sponsor Farmer John took over the production. Fans loved the original Dodger Dogs so much that they were met with backlash when Farmer John tried to switch from serving grilled hot dogs to boiled ones. Because of these passionate fans, Dodger Dog has remained the same.
As legendary announcer Vin Scully used to say, a Dodger Dog is part of a one-of-a-kind Dodger Stadium experience. This great marketing resonated with Dodger fans and propelled the annual sales of the Dodger Dog to 3 million, making it the nation's most famous baseball hot dog.
For nearly 50 years, fans who watch the Dodgers’ baseball games, whether at the stadium or home, also relish (pun intended) a good Farmer John Dodger Dog. But after the 2019 season ended, Smithfield Foods, Farmer John’s parent company, announced they were no longer renewing their contract with the Dodgers.
The Los Angeles Times reported the statement issued by Smithfield Foods, which read in part:
“Farmer John had a long-standing and valued relationship with the Dodgers. After the 2019 season, Farmer John made the difficult business decision not to renew its contract with the Dodgers. Unfortunately, through the latest contract negotiations, we were unable to come to an agreement that was beneficial for both parties.”
Since the Dodgers hold the trademark for Dodger Dogs, Farmer John cannot produce and sell them after the cessation of their contract.
In 2021, The L.A. Dodgers introduced Papa Cantella’s as their new meat partner. The Southern California sausage company led by Tony Cantella succeeded Farmer John in producing the beloved Dodger Dogs.
Over the years, Angelenos’ favorite hot dog snack has evolved to offer more flavors and styles that cater to its diverse customer base. Aside from the Traditional Dodger Dog made of pork, there’s now an all-beef Super Dodger Dog.
Some twists to the classic Dodger Dog flavor are picante (spicy) dogs, kosher dogs, and veggie dogs. The Doyer Dog boasts nacho cheese, chili, jalapeños, onions, and chopped tomatoes as toppings.
Other variants include brats, Louisiana hot sausages, and Polish sausages. Depending on your taste buds, you can request a grilled or steamed hot dog.
Apart from Chavez Ravine, you can also buy the iconic Dodger Dogs in supermarkets within Southern California. For years, Farmer John sold official Dodger Dogs retail packs in local grocery stores. This strengthened the product’s popularity, allowing Dodger fans to enjoy the ballpark snack right in the comfort of their home.
Papa Cantella’s continued this practice when they took over. In 2021, they announced the launch of Dodger Dogs in grocery stores across Southern California, including Ralph’s, Vons, and Albertsons.
Restaurants around Los Angeles also offer Dodger Dogs, so you can still try this world-famous snack even if you can’t catch a game at the Dodger Stadium.
Show your love for your favorite team and the Dodger Nation by sporting a classic Dodger Dog graphic tee. Whether you’re catching the game live from the stadium or right at home, it’s the perfect way to channel your team spirit—aside from munching on a delicious Dodger Dog, of course!
If you want something quintessentially Californian, don’t forget to check out our California collection! And if you're going to represent your roots, you can find the perfect shirt from our city-inspired apparel, which features Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco.