Cookouts and summer go hand in hand. Have you ever wondered why? Sunny, warm weather is a obvious reason, but why do we celebrate Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Labor Day with grilled meats and cold salads?

It all started back in the 1800s, when Colonists in Virginia would gather to smoke large animals over a fire pit. The tradition originally came from the West Indies. After the nation’s founding, political leaders began marking the date with large rallies which included – you guessed it – whole roasted pigs and sometimes oxen.

In the 20th century, the occasion become more of a family affair, rather than a public gathering. Especially with the invention of the popular charcoal grill, companies encouraged families to throw their own cookouts and barbecues.

Today, hamburgers and hot dogs are still on the menu for most cookouts, and we’ve got three hot dog variations to add some flair:

Hawaiian Hot Dogs get their tropical flavor from a sweet and spicy Pineapple Salsa. While it’s delicious on the dogs, use leftover salsa as a dip for chips or pita.

2. Chicago-Style Hot Dog

The Chicago-style hot dog, topped with pickles, yellow mustard, tomatoes, sport peppers, relish, onions and celery salt, was a result of the melting pot of Chicago. The original sausage hot dogs were imported from Germany and sold at the 1893 Columbian Exposition World’s Fair. The popularity of the Chicago dog grew during the Great Depression, when people bought the “sandwich” for just 5 cents.

Go Asian with a Vietnamese hot dog, featuring fresh cucumbers, shredded carrots, a sriracha mayonnaise and mint leaves.

4. Watch the Video

See how all these dogs come together with our helpful video below:

And for even more recipes for summer cookouts, visit our seasonal recipe collection.