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Nov 4, 2012
Chicago Style Hotdogs

Homemade Chicago Style Hotdog at

Last week I posted about homemade hotdog rolls. Man are they good. Well, this week is one application of these fresh homemade rolls - the Chicago style hotdog. What a unique application it is.

The Chicago style hotdog is a staple of quick eats in the Chicago area. Folks from this area are hardcore about their hotdogs and what is allowed to go on top. It is widely acknowledged that the originator of this hotdog is the hotdog stand Fluky's. Fluky's began in 1929 in the streets of Chicago. They served what was known as "The Depression Sandwich." This "sandwich" was a hotdog on a bun with mustard, relish, onions, dill pickle, hot peppers and lettuce and tomato. It cost $0.05 at the time! This combination hasn't changed much over the years other than nixing the lettuce and adding some celery salt on the finished product. Seems crazy, right? To be honest, this was the first time I have tried a Chicago style hotdog. I was skeptical because I didn't think the toppings would go well together. I was dead wrong. This is an amazing hotdog masterpiece where each topping seems to provide a logical purpose. The mustard, onion and relish contribute to the standard hotdog flavors. The spicy peppers provide nice heat that is immediately balanced out by the cool tomato and dill pickle. The celery salt also provides a wonderful burst of flavor. Chicago, you've done this one right!


Dill Pickle Spears
Yellow Mustard
Sweet Relish
Diced White Onions
Tomatoes (sliced into small wedges)
Pickled Sport Peppers (aka pickled serrano peppers)
Celery Salt
All Beef Hotdogs
Hotdog Buns with Poppy Seeds

The only real hurdle you may have in making this recipe is trying to find a pickled sport pepper. Grocery store managers will look at you like you have three heads if you ask for a pickled sport pepper. My advice is unless you have a superstore with an amazing amount of unique products don't even bother looking in a standard store. After being rejected by numerous grocery stores I turned to the internet. The web taught me that pickled sport peppers are actually pickled serrano peppers. A light bulb went off. I have a local Mexican grocery store near my house that sells a variety of hot peppers. It turns out that the shelves were lined with a bunch of pickled canned peppers and pickled serrano peppers were aplenty. So first look for an ethnic grocery store if you don't have a high end grocery store. If all else fails you can order them on the internet.

Pickled sport peppers for Chicago style hotdogs

After you find these pickled serranos or "sport peppers" you should be good to go. Assemble all of the ingredients. Dice your white onion and make nice little tomato wedges.

Chicago style hotdog ingredients

I like to grill hotdogs over medium or medium low heat. Let them take their time on the grill. No need to rush things. Roll the dogs around over direct heat until they start to sweat and are completely heated through. I know real hotdog fans may prefer the dog boiled or steamed. But c'mon, this is a grilling blog after all.

grilling a chicago style hotdog

Line the hotdog with mustard then top it with diced onions and relish. Insert a dill pickle spear on one side and the tomato wedges on the other. Then lay the pickled serrano peppers on top. Finally give the dog a generous shake of celery salt. There you have it. The true hotdog masterpiece! Note the blue cheese coleslaw on the side. It's the perfect side dish for this!

Authentic Chicago Style Hot Dog at

Two things I forgot to mention. 1. No ketchup. Ever. 2. If you can't find pickled serranos I think it's perfectly acceptable to add pickled jalapenos. Granted I'm not from Chicago and I may lose a few readers for this comment, it seems to me that the pickled serrano peppers are just a little spicier than a common pickled jalapeno.

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By John Thomas
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