Make these traditional Chicago-style hot dogs at home! Yellow mustard, sweet pickle relish, tomatoes, onions, dill pickles, sports peppers, and celery salt are all in this condiment.
The Chicago Hot Dog is a crunchy and juicy all-beef hot dog that was named after the city where it was invented.
It is topped with yellow mustard, sweet pickle relish, fresh tomatoes, and onions, a dill pickle spear, spicy, pickled chilies known as sport peppers, and celery salt. One soft hot dog bun has a dinner and almost a salad (poppy seeds are best) in it.
You can prepare Chicago’s famed hot dogs at home without traveling to the city. It will not be identical, but sometimes close enough is sufficient! Especially when you’re desiring a hot dog with more substance than a dollop of mustard or ketchup – haters are going to hate it.
These hot dogs are slightly sweet from the relish, salty and crunchy from the pickle, tangy from both the mustard and the sport peppers, and crisp from the tomatoes and onions.
Whether you’re preparing these for a weeknight family dinner or a barbecue party, they cook quickly and require minimal topping preparation. Plus, everyone enjoys assembling their own hot dogs as they come off the grill, making your job even easier.
Serve them with potato salad, grilled summer corn, or chips!
The All-Beef Hot Dog is a Chicago Dog Must
The hot dog must be 100% beef with a natural casing, giving it a satisfying snap when biting. When in Chicago, you will likely be served the renowned Vienna Beef brand. Typically, I purchase Boar’s Head all-beef hot dogs with a natural casing at my neighborhood supermarket in New Jersey.
To remain as true as possible to the Chicago hot dog stands, boil the hot dogs. I prefer to grill mine (making it a “char dog”) because I grill frequently during the summer, which is the season I connect with hot dogs.
I believe the smokey flavor imparted by the grill only improves it. I don’t go as far as blackening the skin or developing a crust; you want the dog to remain somewhat soft so that the casing can still snap.
Chicago dogs, whether boiled or grilled, are delicious at any time of year, so don’t let the season determine when you serve them.
The Best Hot Dog Bun
Due to an industrious Polish baker who learned his trade in Germany prior to settling in Chicago in the early 1900s, the Chicago dog is traditionally served on a poppy seed bun.
He catered to German and Polish immigrants in search of a taste of home in his rye bread, but his poppy seed buns quickly gained popularity. Currently, suppliers of hot dogs steam the buns to make them fluffy and pillowy.
What is a Sport Pepper?
The sport pepper is the official pepper of the Chicago dog, though it can be difficult to get outside of Chicago and other southern states. They are a little, pickled, light-green chili pepper with a medium-hot heat (similar to a serrano pepper) and a sour taste.
Those of us who don’t reside in the Windy City may access them online, thank goodness. Instead of biting into a whole chili, I prefer to cut it to more evenly spread the heat.
The Sweet Pickle Relish
In Chicago, there is a sweet pickle relish that purists claim enhances the hot dog-eating experience. Or perhaps they simply enjoy the radioactive glow. The only difference between this relish and others on the market is that it has been colored with food coloring to achieve its stunning hue.
Swaps and Substitutions
The ingredients of a Chicago Hot Dog are quite unique, yet not everyone has access to these midwestern specialties. Here are some substitutes to help you come as near as possible to the genuine thing.
- Replace poppy seed hot dog buns with potato hot dog buns.
- Replace the fluorescent green relish with regular sweet relish.
- Slices of pickled jalapeno or pepperoncini may be substituted for the sport peppers.
- If you dislike the idea of eating whole peppers, pickle spears, or tomato wedges, you can dice them to make them easier to consume.
- 8 all-beef natural casing hot dogs
- 8 poppy seed hot dog buns or potato buns
- Yellow mustard for topping
- Sweet pickle relish for topping
- 2 medium tomatoes, cut into 8 wedges each
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 8 dill pickle spears
- 16 sport peppers or pepperoncini, whole or diced
- Celery salt for topping
Prepare the grill:
Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for medium heat at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. You should be able to hold your hand over the grill for around three seconds.
Grill the hot dogs:
The hot dogs should be grilled. Turn them with tongs as they cook for around 8 minutes. You desire a substantial quantity of color on them. Place on a plate.
Build the Chicago dogs:
Insert a grilled hot dog inside a roll. Add yellow mustard, sweet pickle relish, two tomato wedges, onions, one dill pickle spear, and two sports peppers on the top of the burger.
The celery salt is potent, so only a thin dusting is required to complete the dog. Put together the remaining hot dogs. Consume quickly!
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