Cooking & Living in Small Spaces with Style

Faux Chicago-Style Hot Dog

Meatsshirley byrdComment
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If you can't get to Chicago for this famous hot dog and you can't find all of the right ingredients, then fake it!!

I spent half my life living 90 miles north of Chicago.  It was a place I loved to visit.  I frequently hopped on the Amtrak train to go to Chicago and shop, to party and of course treat myself to its great restaurants.  But my most favorite restaurant was a tiny greasy spoon place that served Chicago-Style hot dogs.  

Now, because I live so far away that when I have a yearning for a Chicago-style hot dog, I can't even find poppy-seeded hot dog buns!  So I fake with substitutes.  And here's how.

What makes a real Chicago-Style hot dog?

Look for these ingredients:  

  • All-beef frankfurther

  • Poppy seed buns

  • Bright green sweet pickle relish

  • Chopped white onions

  • Sliced tomatoes

  • Slice of dill pickle

  • Yellow mustard

  • Pickled sport pepper

  • A dash of celery salt

According to the Wikipedia on Chicago-style hot dog

The complete assembly of a Chicago hot dog is said to be “dragged through the garden” due to the many toppings . . . . The method for cooking the hot dog itself varies depending on the vendor’s preference. Most often they are steamed, water-simmered, or less often grilled over charcoal (in which case they are referred to as “char-dogs”).

And for the record, ketchup is not to be applied!

I approach my "faux Chicago-style hot dog with close substitutions were necessary.  For poppy seed bun, I bought regular buns, buttered the tops and sprinkled on poppy seeds.  My initial search for sport peppers was unsuccessful, although I had later found that such places as Walmart may carry them.  And they can probably be ordered online.  A sport pepper is a pickled serrano pepper which add a tangy taste to the heat.  Sport peppers are a must for an "authentic" Chicago-style pepper.  I opted for a sliced banana peppers and that's why I call my Chicago-style pepper "faux"!  In all other ingredients I was in luck.

As for the frankfurther, I confess that didn't steam it.  I zapped it in the microwave.  My next confession is that I ate a number of them over a course of three days.  But I'm not telling how many.  LOL.

To my Chicago readers, forgive me.  But this is what one does when one lives a long way from the real thing!    


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