Chicago-style Hot Dog

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Chicago-Style Hot Dog
Does anyone else feel like Memorial Day is sneaking up on us very quickly?  Maybe it’s because the temperatures have been cooler than normal.  Or, maybe it’s just me and my busy days of being a new mom again.  But, seriously, the holiday is right around the corner and I’m not sure of our plans to celebrate!

One thing I am sure about, though, is that we will be grilling up some grub, which includes Chicago-style hot dogs.  Although the most common Chicago-style dog is cooked by steaming in hot water, it doesn’t hurt anyone to grill them instead.  I’ll take this time to admit that I’ve never boiled a hot dog and I honestly don’t think I ever will.  But, heck, I’ll throw one in the microwave when time is of the essence!  😉

Ben and I grew to love this “dragged through the garden” style hot dog during our six years in Chicago.  Through out both of my pregnancies, I craved hot dogs.  Did you know pregnant women are not supposed to eat them??  I wish I was never told this, because although I’m not sure of the reason they are outlawed, I listened to my conscience and avoided them for nine months.  Consequently, one of the first meals I made after coming home from the hospital were these hot dogs.  And, wow, they taste even THAT much better after not having them for so long!

To assemble a Chicago-style hot dog, you need:

  • all-beef frankfurter
  • mustard (NO ketchup)
  • chopped white onions and tomatoes
  • sweet pickle relish (bright green to be true to form)
  • sport peppers (hard to find outside of Chicago)
  • dill pickle spear
  • celery salt
  • poppyseed bun (also hard to find outside of Chicago)

For the two ingredients that are difficult to find outside of the Chicago area, here are my solutions.  The sport peppers were impossible to find when we lived in Apple Valley, CA and now I’m having trouble here in Mississippi.  So, I’ve substituted them with pepperoncini peppers in a jar.  Ben said he likes these even better.  When it comes to the poppyseed buns, you can either make your own completely homemade, or buy a pack of buns at the store, brush the fatter side with melted butter and sprinkle with poppyseeds which is what I did for the photo above.

Here’s the recipe.  Although, really, it’s just a list. 🙂

Chicago-style Hot Dog

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 1 serving

Serving Size: 1 hot dog

Chicago-style Hot Dog

All-beef frankfurters wedged in a poppyseed bun then "dragged through the garden."

  • All-beef frankfurter (hot dog), steamed or grilled
  • Poppyseed bun
  • Yellow mustard
  • White onion, chopped or diced
  • Roma tomato, chopped or sliced
  • Sweet pickle relish (bright green, if you can find it)
  • Pickled sport peppers (or can substitute with pepperoncini peppers)
  • Dill pickle spear
  • Dash of celery salt

Place the hot dog in the bun. Layer with remaining ingredients, including one pickle spear and topped with a dash of celery salt. Chow down and try not to make a mess! 🙂

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  1. Oh, thank you SO much for getting this right. If you need Chicago-exclusives, I’d be more than happy to send some your way. It’s just not the same without the S.Rosen poppy seed bun and real sport peppers…

  2. I feel like this whole year has snuck up on me! This hot dog looks great.

  3. Mmmmmmm how I love hot dogs!!! I’m born & raised in Chicago, so to hear that sport peppers and poppy seed buns are hard to find elsewhere is so surprising to me! I just assumed that that’s what everyone bought for BBQ’s when gathering up the essentials for a hot dog…. I guess Chicago’s delicious foods can sometimes somewhat spoil me 😉
    ps: now I want to run to Portillo’s to get an amazingly perfect Chicago style dog…. thanks for the lunch idea! 🙂

    — Mary

  4. Days are just flying by!! But that wouldn’t stop me in track, like this hot dog. Oh my!

  5. Love this! The only way to eat them!

  6. these look so damn good! i have been craving hot dogs for some odd reason and you’re right, pregnant women aren’t supposed to eat them! i will have to wait till #2 arrives to enjoy this one but it looks like its worth the wait!! can’t wait to try it out!

  7. How funny! I just found out I am pregnant and hot dogs are all I seem to want! Well, the condiments, that is. Specifically ketchup and mustard. My husband laughed at me extensively the other night. I read that you CAN have them while pregnant so long as they are cooked to steaming … I’ll have to check with my doctor on that one, though. Until then, I’ll just eat condiment sandwiches!

  8. Oh yes! I love a loaded hot dog, this looks amazing!

  9. I had my first authentic Chicago dog last year and it was AMAZING! I’ll definitely be recreating them at home this Summer.

  10. I’ve recently fallen in love with Chicago-style hot dogs, thanks to Sonic. I’m sure what I’ve had doesn’t compare to an authentic one from the “Windy City”! I live in Alabama, so like you Nikki, poppy seed buns and sport peppers are a rare find. Do you live near a Publix store? I recently found sport peppers there, so now I can recreate these dogs at home!

  11. Only one addition to the instructions: steam or microwave the buns for about 15 seconds wrapped in paper towel. ensures that they are soft and warm and perfect!

  12. Eric Joyce says:

    A substitute for “Sport Peppers” are the peppers from Trappeys
    I use the vinegar as a hot sauce and pull out the peppers for the dogs.
    An alternative are the peppers from Steak & Shake,

  13. Sandi Feller says:

    I’ve lived in Chicago for almost 76 years so I pretty much know the original recipes for most Chicago foods. Always use Vienna brand kosher style hot dogs and kosher style dill pickles. That’s our secret for making the best hot dogs in US!

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