Citizens – the following post pains me at both a visceral and spiritual level, for in writing it I must betray my most deeply-held ingrained certainty that New York City is the magnetic center of all things.
This is going to hurt…
Chicago-style hot dogs are superior to New York’s.
There, I’ve said it. With that out of the way, and secure in the knowledge that NYC still totally rules when it comes to Pizza, I shall now educate you on the joys of the Chicago dog.
A Chicago-style hot dog, Chicago Dog, or Chicago Red Hot is unique to the city and is one complex piece of fast food! It includes an all-beef frankfurter on a poppy seed bun, topped with yellow mustard, chopped white onions, neon green sweet pickle relish, a dill pickle spear, tomato slices or wedges, pickled and hot sport peppers plus a dash of celery salt to tie it all together.
The complete version of a Chicago hot dog is said to be “dragged through the garden” due to the many vegetative toppings. The truth is this dog is a symphonic and sublime mixture of sweet, hot, spicy, vegetal, bready and meaty flavors plus many different textures.
The method for cooking the hot dog itself varies depending on the vendor’s preference. Most often they are steamed (my preference), water-simmered, or less often grilled over charcoal (in which case they are referred to as “char-dogs”).
The canonical recipe does not include ketchup, and there is a widely-shared, strong opinion among many Chicagoans and aficionados that ketchup is unacceptable. A number of Chicago hot dog vendors do not even offer ketchup as a condiment.
They are correct.
Many sources attribute the distinctive collection of toppings on the Chicago-style wiener to historic Maxwell Street and the “Depression Sandwich” reportedly originated by Fluky’s restaurant in 1929.
The founders of Vienna Beef frankfurters — the most common brand served today, first sold at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago — and the proprietors of Fluky’s were both Jewish, which may account for the wieners’ pork-free, kosher-style character.
Citizens, this is one recipe I wouldn’t DARE mess with. Follow it canonically, follow it slavishly and follow the instructions found here.
Battle on, The Generalissimo