The Anatomy of a Chicago Style Hot Dog

0 Comments | May 26, 2015


Chicago Style Hot Dogs are one of the most popular varieties of regional hot dogs in the World. If you have never had a Chicago Style Hot Dog this guide will tell you how to create the perfect Chicago Dog.

The Ingredients
In order to create a truly authentic Chicago Style Hot Dog, it is important to start with authentic ingredients. While m ost of these ingredients are easy to find, you can substitute any of the ingredients listed

The Hot Dog
Vienna Beef Franks2
Most Chicago Style Hot Dog are made of all beef franks that contain no fillers. Don’t even think of using a hot dog made from chicken, pork or some other meat. In Chicago it seems like 80% of the hot dog joints use Vienna Beef brand hot dogs. Vienna Beef dogs are excellent and are available at most grocery stores.  For a real treat, try the “jumbo” sized version of your favorite brand. Remember, the retail version of dogs that you can find in your local grocery store are typically not the same as the dogs you get from a hot dog stand. The retail version is usually smaller in size and many people think they don’t taste as good.

Neon Green Pickle Relish
Vienna Pickle RelishClassic Chicago Dogs are famous for their sweet bright green pickle relish. Finding the perfect pickle relish can be a struggle, but luckily there are lots of different varieties available. Any sweet relish will work well on your Chicago Dog, including Vienna’s Relish, but there is something special about a Chicago style hot dog with authentic neon green pickle relish that looks like a throwback to the psychedelic 60’s or the byproduct of an alien invasion.

Yellow Mustard
Yellow Mustard
Yellow mustard is another classic topping of a Chicago Dog.  According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, mustard is the hot dog condiment of choice. Any classic yellow Mustard is acceptable, but do not use brown or Dijon mustard on your Chicago Dogs! And whatever you do, definitely don’t even think about putting ketchup on your Chicago dog. Chicagoan’s believe that if you are over the age of 10, you know better than to put ketchup on a hot dog.

The Dill Pickle Spear
AClaussenPickleSpears2 classic Chicago Dog will have a pickle spear laid on top. The pickle you choose should compliment, but not overpower any of the other toppings. A refrigerated dill pickle spear is recommended because the pickle should have a nice crunch and the seasoning should be mild. We recommend Claussen pickles that can be found in in the refrigerated deli meat section of any grocery store.These pickles are usually available in both spears slices and halves. If you buy the halves, make a spear by slicing down the middle of the pickle to make a spear.

Red Tomato
We recommend buying a red ripe Roma tomato and cutting it into 8 wedges. To be truly authentic do not chop your tomato or cut it into slices!  Place 2-3 thin tomato wedges on top of your hot dog on the other side of the dill pickle spear.

White Onion
Use a standard white onion and chop it. If you don’t like the bite of your typical onion, place the diced onion in ice cold water for about 5 minutes, then drain and use.  The ice bath removes the strong flavor and odor and leaves a smooth sweet flavor.

Sport Peppers
Sport PeppersAuthentic Chicago dogs have a spicy element to them.  This is traditionally created by topping a Chicago Dog with two to three Sport Peppers. These small green peppers are about 1-1/2 inches long and have a medium-hot taste. Sport peppers should be placed whole on top of your dog and not sliced. If you can’t find sport peppers, don’t make the mistake of using peppers that are too hot. Keep in mind that the reason the Chicago Style Hot Dog is so popular is its subtle melding of all of its flavors. No single ingredient should overpower the others.

Celery Salt
Celery salt is often described as the defining ingredient of a Chicago Dog. Celery salt is usually available at any grocery store.

Poppy Seed Bun
Genuine Chicago Style Hot Dogs are traditionally served on a steamed poppy seed bun, although many Chicago hot dog joints use just a regular steamed bun. Our favorite hot dog bun comes from Turano Bakery or S. Rosen’s Bakery.

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