Have you ever sunk your teeth into a real Chicago-style hot dog? If the answer is yes, then this
article perfect for you. If, however, your answer is no, then you should definitely go out and get one! In this article, we’ll offer up a taste of what you’re missing out on tell you what makes these
Chicago staples are so beloved around the country.
First, let’s take a look at its origins.
A brief history of the Chicago-style hot dog
It was in 1880 that the hot dog first found its way to American shores. Brought over by German immigrants, hotdogs were predominantly a staple food source for the working class. However, it wasn’t until 1893, when Vienna Beef produced their own version, that the hot dog reached commercial success. With hot dogs then being consumed voraciously by the public, it wasn’t
long before the company released what would eventually become the hot dog of choice for
Chicagoans: the all-beef frankfurter.
Fast forward a few years later to 1909, the all-beef frankfurter finally met its perfect match – the poppy seed bun – in a small, Polish-owned bakery. By that time, hot dogs had already become mainstream and were widely enjoyed on the streets. Many different versions had become available, but only one managed to stand out from the rest. This was the version created by the fast-food chain Fluky’s and consisted of an all-beef frankfurter encased in a poppy seed bun,
then topped with a distinct mix of different vegetables. It was this variation that won Chicagoans’
hearts and the rest – as they say – is history.
The ingredients that make up a true Chicago-style hot dog
A real Chicago-style hot dog consists of an all-beef sausage, a poppy seed bun, mustard, white
onions, tomatoes, pickled peppers, green pickle relish, a dill pickle spear, and a touch of celery
salt. It sounds like a mouthful, and it definitely is one of the most delicious combinations of
flavors you’re likely to come across.
What makes Chicago-style hot dogs so delicious?
The popularity of the Chicago-style hot dog is primarily due to the thoughtful interplay of the different ingredients used. Each one is there to serve a purpose, whether it is to impart a certain
flavor or add a unique texture to the final dish.
Let’s start with the hot dog itself. It’s plump, juicy, and packed with flavor. The casing also adds a certain bite that would otherwise leave the dish unsatisfying to eat. As for the bun, the poppy seeds found in it add an unreplicable mouthfeel that provides body and crunch. The rest of the
ingredients add tons of texture and notes of sour, sweet, and spicy to bring balance, while the
mustard adds moisture and extra tang and serves to bring everything else together.
Apart from the ingredients themselves, however, the proportions in which they are added and even how they are positioned on the hot dog are both crucial to the final dish. Every bite must
have a healthy mix of all the ingredients mentioned so that the diner can enjoy everything the
the hot dog has to offer throughout the entire experience.
While there are many ways to prepare the components needed for a Chicago-style hot dog,
there’s one ingredient that must never be thrown into the mix – ketchup! It has no place in the final dish and will only serve to throw off the balance of the flavors present.
If you’re aching for a taste of the real deal, head on over to George’s Gyros Spot in Chesterton,
Indiana and indulge yourself with our very own authentic Chigaco-style hot dogs.