Did you know that July is National Hot Dog Month? It makes sense that the same month we celebrate our nation’s independence we also celebrate one of its favorite foods — and one of the dishes most closely associated with Chicagoland!
While the exact origins of the hot dog are unknown, it is believed that this classic dish gained popularity when Austrian and German immigrants brought their signature sausages to cities around the United States. These sausages were inexpensive and easy to eat on the go, making them a hit for busy city-dwellers and spectators at sporting events. In fact, it is believed that the name “hot dog” comes from a cartoonist who heard vendors hawking “hot dachshund sausages” during a baseball game.
As time went on, locations around the U.S. put their own unique spin on the sausage. Here in Chicago, the iconic Vienna Beef brand can trace its roots all the way back to the legendary World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893, when it was introduced by Austrian immigrants Emil Reichel and Sam Landry. The eclectic combination of toppings that makes for a traditional Chicago-style dog — mustard, relish, diced onions, tomato, pickle, celery salt, and sport peppers in a steamed poppy seed bun — is also deeply tied to the city’s history. As WBEZ explains, it is believed that the Chicago dog as we know it today
developed around the Depression, inspired by various ethnic groups in the city. The mustard came from the Germans. Onions and tomatoes from the Greeks. Sweet relish from the Czechs. And the sport pepper from the Italians.
In other cities, you’ll find plenty of other variations on the hot dog, be it smothered in chili and cheese in Detroit, topped with coleslaw in Atlanta, or battered and fried in Texas.
However you prefer them, hot dogs are a big deal. According to statistics compiled by Mental Floss, Americans collectively go through 150 million hot dogs on July 4th alone. During the “peak” summer season between Memorial Day and Labor Day, Americans generally consume about 7 billion hot dogs. Supermarket customers spend more than $2.8 billion on hot dogs each year, and more than 19.4 million hot dogs are sold at ballparks each season.
Ready to indulge in a hot dog or two? Whether you like them beefy or plant-based, piled high with relish or slathered in mustard, there are lots of ways to celebrate all things hot dogs in Chicagoland this summer:
Cook Up Your Favorite Hot Dogs at Home
The hot dog is as versatile as can be — and there are lots of ways to cook up this tasty treat at home, whether you like your franks boiled, grilled, seared, or smoked. And fortunately, whether you’re a culinary novice or a seasoned pro, there are all sorts of handy resources that can help you to step up your hot dog game this July:
- Want to perfect our local legend? Bon Appetit offers up “9 Steps to the Ideal Chicago-Style Hot Dog” Delish also has a guide to making “the best Chicago-style hot dogs” at home.
- Want to master a new way of cooking your hot dogs? Epicurious has a great post on “The Best Way to Cook Hot Dogs and Make Them Perfect Every Time.” Food52 has conducted rigorous trials to find “The Absolute Best Way to Cook a Hot Dog.”
- Looking to throw the ultimate summer cookout? Try Thrillist’s “11 Simple Ways to Take Your Cookout to the Next Level” or keep reading our blog for ideas you can use to design an outdoor kitchen and dining area perfect for your home, set up the ideal outdoor sitting area, and create the indoor and outdoor entertaining spaces you’ve always wanted.
Order From a Chicagoland Favorite
With more restaurants opening for indoor and outdoor summer dining, plus takeout and delivery available from countless neighborhood faves, it’s up to you how you get your dog on this summer.
Whether you feast on a local restaurant’s patio or rooftop or bring an order home to enjoy in your own backyard among family and friends, here are a few resources perfect for discovering Chicagoland’s best hot dogs:
- Get to know the Chicagoland food scene with our guides to the best neighborhoods for foodies in the city and suburbs.
- What could be better than a hot dog at a ball game? Find a stadium near you in our guide to “6 Chicagoland Neighborhoods for Serious Sports Fans,” or see who’s playing by checking out the schedule for the Cubs, the White Sox, the Joliet Slammers, the Schaumburg Boomers, or the Chicago Dogs.
- Rediscover an old favorite or try something new. Eater Chicago maps “The 20 Essential Chicago Hot Dogs.” Chicago Parent explores “Where to Find the Best Hot Dogs in Chicagoland.” Time Out Chicago lists “The 14 Best Chicago Hot Dog Restaurants.” The Chicago Tribune counts down 23 must-visit hot dog joints in the city and suburbs.
When Home Means More, You Need a Team With More to Offer
Is your home working for you? For many of us, the way we think about our homes has changed — and that might mean you’re ready to make a move to find one that better fits where you are now.
Home is about so much more than just four walls. Buying or selling a home is a big deal, and with everything we experienced in 2020, our homes have never been more important. That’s why your local Baird & Warner agent is with you at every step of the way, with the tools and support you need to make your real estate journey easier — including in-house connections with local experts in mortgage and title.
So whether you’re looking for your starter home or you’re ready to move on from one, your Baird & Warner agent can help you through every part of the buying and selling process.