National Chili Dog Day
the last Thursday in July
Food & Drink
Pull up a chair and tie on a bib, it's National Chili Dog Day! Chili dogs are whipped up with a hot dog, soft white bun, and meat or chili sauce—like chile con carne—homemade or from a can. Cheese, onions, and mustard are often added. There are competing accounts as to where the chili dog got its start. It may have been in Texas, in Los Angeles at Arts Famous Chili Dog Stand, or in New York City at a baseball game. There are many restaurants where chili dogs can still be found, and some of them—such as Gold Star Chili, Brooks Gourmet Burgers and Dogs, and Hard Times Cafe—often offer specials on National Chili Dog Day, sometimes even giving out free chili dogs.
There are many regional variations of chili dogs in the United States. The Coney Island hot dog, or Coney dog, originated in southeastern Michigan and was created by Macedonian and Greek immigrants. It consists of a naturally-cased beef or beef and pork European-style hot dog topped with sauce made of beef heart, often with yellow mustard and onion. The half-smoke comes out of Washington, D.C. The sausage used in it is made up of a mixture of beef sausage and pork sausage and is spicier, bigger, and made of more coarsely ground meat than a hot dog. It is smoked and topped with chili sauce, herbs, and onions. The Carolina-style hot dog is a hot dog topped with chili, onions, and slaw, and sometimes mustard too, or mustard instead of the slaw. The Cheese Coney hot dog, a favorite around Cincinnati, is a hot dog in a bun topped with cheese, mustard, onions, and Cincinnati chili—a meat sauce with Mediterranean spices.
The Michigan hot dog or "Michigan," a specialty in the North Country of New York State, is a steamed hot dog on a steamed bun, topped with a meat sauce called Michigan sauce. The Hot wiener or New York System wiener, found most often in Rhode Island, consists of a small hot dog of pork and veal in a steamed bun topped with seasoned meat sauce, sliced onions, yellow mustard, and celery salt. A Texas wiener or Texas hot dog, prominent in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, is a deep-fried hot dog with hot sauce or chili sauce, sometimes topped with other condiments. Any of these are enjoyed on National Chili Dog Day!
How to Observe National Chili Dog Day
Have some chili dogs! Make your own or enjoy some at a restaurant. Make sure to check for special offers. Hard Times Cafe, Gold Star Chili, and Brooks Gourmet Burgers and Dogs have had offers on the day such as buy one get one free, reduced prices, and even free chili dogs. Another way to celebrate is by trying a few different regional chili dog varieties.