Vendor after vendor I visited along the shores of Lake Michigan left me with no doubt as to what constitutes an original Chicago hot dog. I will not be accused of riffing on this one. The essentials are a Chicago red hot dog (simmer the hot dogs with a beet if you can’t find these at your local store), a poppy seed bun (not easy to find), authentic neon-green relish (also not easy to find), and celery salt. And never, ever, use ketchup.–Lucinda Scala Quinn
LC A You Original Note
Okay, so this is how they do their dogs in the Windy City. Or so we’re told by this author. We’ve actually had a little contention brewing, with Chicagoans telling us that it must be sport peppers and not pepperoncini on their dogs, which is actually something we’d heard before. So use whichever you please. What we really want to know is how YOU do YOUR dogs. Tell us all about your original dog in a comment below. C’mon, ‘fess up. Crushed potato chips? Shaved truffles? Grape jelly? Oh boy, we can’t wait to hear.
Chicago Hot Dog Recipe
- Quick Glance
- 10 M
- 20 M
- Makes 4 dogs
- 4 hot dog buns, split
- 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted butter, melted
- 2 teaspoons poppy seeds
- 4 all-beef hot dogs
- 4 dill pickle spears
- 1 tomato, cut into 8 wedges
- About 1 1/2 tablespoons yellow mustard
- About 2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish (the neon-green stuff if you can find it)
- 1/2 white onion, chopped
- 4 jarred pepperoncini, drained
- Celery salt, to taste
- 1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
- 2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Brush the outside of the buns with the butter and sprinkle with the poppy seeds. Place them on a baking sheet, cut-side down, and toast in the oven for 5 minutes.
- 3. Meanwhile, simmer the hot dogs in the pot of water until heated through, about 8 minutes.
- 4. Place a hot dog in each bun. Place a pickle spear on 1 side of each hot dog and 2 tomato wedges on the other side. Squirt or drizzle the mustard in a zigzag pattern over the hot dogs. Spoon a dollop of relish onto each one, and scatter some white onion over each one. Place a pepperoncini on top of each hot dog, sprinkle with celery salt, and serve.
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Testers ChoiceTesters Choice
Aug 13, 2013
I’ve always been curious about the dragged-through-the-garden Chicago-style hot dog. I’m a die-hard ketchup fan (I know I risk my life saying that), but I loved this version. Though this is more a set of assembly instructions than a recipe, the result is still delicious. Tangy, a little sweet, crunchy, some heat…what more could a summer meal want.
Aug 13, 2013
This was my first Chicago-style hot dog and I really enjoyed it, so it won’t be my last. Here in North Carolina, if you ask for a hot dog all the way, you get slaw, chili, mustard, and onions. I’m not much for eating chili on mine, and have mine without chili even when I make it at home. I couldn’t convince hubby to try the Chicago dog, but my son and I enjoyed ours. I don’t care that much for sweet pickle relish, but it worked with all the other ingredients and I liked the way the buns were toasted with the butter and poppy seeds. I used Nathan’s all-beef hot dogs.
Aug 13, 2013
This recipe makes for a decent hot dog. The choice of all beef is always a winner in my book and the toppings were fine, even if I’m not a fan of the bilious green relish. I liked the way the tomatoes and onions were put into the sides of the bun. We also preferred heating them in water as opposed to cooking them on the grill; hot dogs are always juicier that way. I didn’t have to make the poppy seed buns since they were available at my local grocery store. I did forget to look for pepperoncini at the store so I used Peppadew peppers instead. The sprinkling of the celery salt was a nice addition to the overall taste, as was the pickle spear. All in all, everyone enjoyed the Chicago Hot Dog.
The only problem I noted was that it was a little difficult to eat—very messy. I might suggest that a top-opening bun would make this easier. Most buns available are open on the side and this makes the toasting and filling a more hands-on project.
Chicago Hot Dog Recipe © 2013 Lucinda Scala Quinn. Photo © 2013 Jonathan Lovekin. All rights reserved.