My husband and I met and married in our favorite city in the world, the city where we both “grew up” – Chicago. When a fantastic job opportunity moved us west to Las Vegas, we initiated what became a tradition during our five year stint there – a traditional, Chicago style BBQ.
The first year, we went all
broke OUT. Baby-back ribs, Italian beef on french loaves, pulled pork sandwiches, and my personal favorite staple – Chicago style hot dogs. The subsequent years, we pinched a few pennies and stuck with the pulled pork and hot dogs, but nixed the extras and asked our loyal guests to contribute their own Chicago-themed offerings.
Knowing we’d be headed back to our beloved Chi-town in a few short months, this year we decided to go with our favorites, and add a few extra Chicago touches.
Her recipe was both amazing and a godsend, and you are welcome to grab a few laughs at my amateur maneuvers at trying to recreate it in my Chicago Style Pizza Escapade. I can definitely promise it was devoured and enjoyed!
Outside of the pizza, we pulled together our typical pulled pork sandwiches. Cat Yates came to the rescue again with her pulled pork recipe, though I made certain to add one extra ingredient. (My husband inserted the root beer as well. His personal favorite addition.) We have a slew of spices from Chicago’s own Spice House, including a yummy spice called Milwaukee Avenue Steak Seasoning. It is AH-MAZE-ING on a slow-cooked pulled pork.
Chicago Style Hot Dogs are one of my all-time favorite foods in my native land, and I have made it a priority to have them each year. Thankfully, there is one place in Vegas I was able to find the necesarry ingredients. For those in need, Chicago Hot Dog on Rancho in Las Vegas sells all the fixin’s:
Always a hit. First food to disappear at this year’s party.
This year I tacked on a dessert, and I decided to make it memorable. Basic Betty Crocker brownie mix,of course ( I am in NO way a baker), but I added special touch:
Given that we were throwing this party two months prior to moving out, we kept the party decorations to a minimum. My extremely talented friend Alli lent me her talents with two super cute and very Chicago themed decorations.
I may have mentioned once or twice or a dozen times that we threw this party while prepping for a cross country move. So it makes perfect sense that I would decide, a week and a half before the party, to give myself (and the hubs) a nice big project on top of everything else – yep. I did that. (Anyone who knows me is not shocked.)
When I approached my husband about building a set of bags boards for the party, he initially turned me down flat. Actually, I’m pretty sure he told me in no uncertain terms that I was insane, and the words “HELL NO” may have escaped his lips. I honestly don’t remember how I gained his cooperation, so let’s assume I was eloquent and persuasive, rather than whiny or demanding.
If you’ve never heard of Bags, or Bag Toss or Cornhole as it is typically called, it’s a great game for events like this. It’s not unheard of in Vegas, but it is predominantly a Midwestern game. You have two boards set up a set distance from each other, and four bean bags per team. The goal is to get your bags in the hole, or at least on the board. Any bag of the opposing team that lands in or on negates your own points. You can buy premade sets online at a number of retailers, but naturally I wanted to make ours. Don’t forget to check out my full tutorial on how we made our Chicago Style Bags Boards!
What other Chicago related activities or themes would you incorporate? For that matter, what other themes would you use for a party?