Dog Days: Don't Miss the Chicago Hot Dog Festival This Month

Close-up photo of hot dogs cooking on a grill.

On the first weekend of August, Second City backyard chefs liberate their favorite grilling gear. Storage units across Chicago fly open as frankfurter fans get ready to celebrate our delicious Hot Dog Festival. Here's a tasty overview of the annual event that inspires so much mouthwatering fun.

History Starts at the Museum

Our wonderful Chicago History Museum holds more than 22 million artifacts and documents that chronicle local and national history. Our irresistible Chicago hot dogs trace their flavorful heritage back to hearty locals braving the Depression. The institution and the meal are revered across the city, so it seemed natural four years ago to celebrate them both with an outdoor party at Lincoln Park. Since then, the Chicago Hot Dog Festival has continued to grow and benefit the Museum's ongoing good works.

Ketchup Stops at the Fries

An authentic Chicago-style hot dog wears a bright yellow mustard coat. Some friendly debates try to put ketchup on top of everything, but purists know better. That all-beef frank belongs in a poppy seed bun that looks like it’s been dragged through the garden. Chopped onion, sliced tomato, sport peppers, pickle spears and relish give it a gloriously overloaded profile. This is a dog that deserves the works, and it delivers a satisfying snap with every bite. It's an original, and most natives here in Chi-Town savor the traditions that keep it a culinary classic.

Cooking Options Go Both Ways

Do you keep an heirloom Dutch oven in self-storage? Does your perfectly cured grill winter in your storage unit? The Chicago hot dog prefers a slow simmer, but it's become accustomed to a smoky barbecue. Originally, this street-perfect dish was prepared ahead of time and kept warm in vendors' steam carts. Today, the delicious dog plumps up with a 5 to 7 minute hot bath or gloriously grills in about the same amount of time. Depending on your preference, either technique produces an entree that lives up to its history and goes down best when shared with friends.

We tip our forks to everyone who supports our Chicago History Museum and annual Chicago Hot Dog Festival. If you need a little extra space for organizing your own yummy celebration this year, check out Safeguard Self Storage options for Chicago, IL backyard chefs. We keep your grilling gear in great shape all year-round.

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