Hot dogs are enjoyed in endless ways, but one of the most iconic and beloved iterations of the
dish is the Chicago-style way of preparing them. This was popularized by a fast-food restaurant
chain called Fluky’s back in 1929. Today, their version remains arguably one of the best ways to
make a hot dog.
Now, you might be wondering what actually makes a Chicago-style hot dog different. The
answer is the ingredients used. There’s a very specific list of components that comprise an
authentic Chicago-style hot dog, and we’ll be going over each one in the sections below. Let’s
1. All-beef frankfurter
The star of the hot dog is the 100 percent pure beef sausage, of course. These were
popularized by Vienna Beef, and their version is the best choice you can go for in making a true
Chicago-style dog. Traditionally, the frankfurter is steamed or boiled in a bath to keep it juicy.
This also ensures that the subtle flavor provided by the spices shine through. Sometimes, the
frankfurter can be grilled.
2. Poppyseed bun
Take a regular bun but make it many times better by rolling it in poppyseeds. This is what a real
Chicago-style hot dog requires, and there’s no debating that fact. You can get these buns
prepared beforehand or just make them yourself. They are typically steamed so that they are
tender, while the poppy seeds add a unique texture.
3. Yellow mustard
Plain, yellow mustard is the best choice here. You don’t need the fancier stuff, as a real
Chicago-style hot dog has roots based in modest origins. This ingredient will add moisture and a
tangy zing to the hot dog.
4. Chopped onions
Raw, white onions will add flavor and crunch to the hot dog. You may even give them a nice
char on the grill to enhance their flavor, but simply peeling and chopping them will suffice.
5. Fresh tomatoes
Red tomatoes cut into circular slices are added for texture and sweetness. They also add a
fresh flavor to balance all the other ingredients. Sometimes, they are cut into wedges.
6. Green relish
Sweet, green relish is layered on top of the hot dog to add sweetness, sourness, and even more
texture. This type of relish gets its unique color from the addition of dye.
7. Pickled sport peppers
Pickled sport peppers are mild chili peppers that are pickled in brine. They provide more tang
and a touch of heat to the final dog.
8. Dill pickle spear
A piece of dill pickle is added to the top of the hot dog as one final addition of sweet and sour.
9. Celery salt
This type of salt is flavored with celery and adds a vegetal flavor to the entire hot dog. It also
acts as a seasoning to bring out the taste of all the other ingredients.
Some variations of the Chicago-style hot dog can feature lettuce, cucumbers, and sometimes
cheese. Sometimes, the tomatoes are also pickled beforehand. However, if you want an
authentic Chicago-style dog, only stick to the ingredients listed above.
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.