Chicago-style hot dogs are one of the most iconic culinary creations that the city of Chicago has to offer. Developed around the early 20th century, locals and tourists have enjoyed the famous hot dog for generations.
A traditional Chicago-style hot dog comprises an all-beef hot dog placed in a steamed poppy seed bun. It is then topped with a variety of condiments and toppings, including yellow mustard, chopped white onions, bright green relish, a dill pickle spear, tomato slices or wedges, pickled sport peppers, and a dash of celery salt.
The bright colors of the condiments and the crunchy texture of the toppings make the Chicago-style hot dog so distinct. But the key to its deliciousness is all in the preparation. The hot dog must be steamed, not boiled, and the poppy seed bun must be steamed as well. This ensures that the hot dog and bun are both soft and flavorful.
The Origin of the One-of-a-Kind Hot Dog
The winding journey of the Chicago hotdog began during the Great Depression when vendors at the city’s Maxwell Street Market created a more filling meal for those struggling financially. The sandwich contained a sausage and a generous helping of vegetables, making it an affordable and convenient meal for the working class.
This “food of convenience” eventually transformed into a beloved cultural icon, and the process of building a Chicago dog is almost a religious experience. Every tiny detail is essential, from the steamed poppy-seeded bun to the all-beef sausage that is steamed, never grilled. The colors are key, too, with the mustard being a bright yellow and the relish a shocking green.
Finding the Best Chicago Dogs
The Chicago-style hot dog is well-known and popular, but finding a good one outside the city can be challenging. Some restaurants still make them, but the best way to get your hands on one is to explore trusty Chicago dog places or make it yourself.
If you don’t have access to the traditional ingredients necessary to make a Chicago Dog, don’t sweat it. You don’t have to go to extreme lengths to get the exact items you need. Instead, find something close to what you need and make the best of what you have. If you’re in Chicago, you might as well take advantage of the local ingredients, but if you’re not, don’t worry about it and make do with what’s available.
Outside of Chicago, the Chicago-style hot dog tends to take on regional variations. For example, the hot dog is often served in the Midwest with cheese, chili, and onions. In the South, some may serve the hot dog with coleslaw, mustard, and onions. And in the West, the hot dog can be filled with various toppings, including jalapenos, onions, and avocado.
Toppings may vary, but the classic Chicago-style hot dog always includes yellow mustard, chopped white onions, bright green relish, a dill pickle spear, tomatoes, a pickled sport pepper, and a dash of celery salt.
The Chicago-style hot dog is a classic dish that generations have enjoyed. It is a unique type of hot dog that is distinctively Chicagoan and one of the city’s most recognizable culinary exports. The Chicago-style hot dog is a delicious and iconic food, and it is a great way to experience the flavors of Chicago.
Are you looking for hot dogs in Valparaiso, IN? Check out George’s Gyros Spot. We serve Chicago dogs, Italian beef, gyros, polish dogs, and cheeseburgers. Our restaurant is affordable, and we serve all our food quickly with exceptional service. See our menu!