Chicago-style hot dog

That’s the Chicago (dog) way

Originally appeared in the July 28, 2011 edition of The Southside Times.

Ten years ago, I was living in the “City of the Big Shoulders,” attending culinary school.  On some of the more lonely afternoons between classes (and with just a few bucks in my sauce-spattered pockets), I’d make the half-mile walk to Division Street to Sammy’s Red Hots for a Chicago dog and fries.  It was comforting to indulge in a simple treat, just one of the gastronomic novelties the Windy City had to offer.  So here’s the deal: for the sake of authenticity, nine separate components need to be represented in a true Chi-town dog.  Read more after the jump:1) steamed poppy seed bun; 2) sliced tomato; 3) chopped onion; 4) neon green relish; 5) pickled sport peppers; 6) kosher pickle spear (or slice); 7) yellow mustard;  8 ) dash celery salt; and 9) beef hot dog (if you can get Vienna Beef, all the better).  The dog itself should be steamed, but other methods (except boiling) are acceptable.

Okay, you got me—there’s not much cooking involved with this installment (in fact, the most labor intensive aspect might be procuring your ingredients); but you’ll find that construction (and consumption) of a genuine Chicago-style hot dog will be an indelible edible.

Chicago-style hot dog

Serves 1

  • One all-beef hot dog
  • One steamed poppy seed bun
  • Two slices fresh tomato
  • To taste, chopped white onion
  • To taste, neon green relish
  • Two whole sport peppers
  • One kosher pickle spear (or slice)
  • To taste, yellow mustard
  • Dash, celery salt

1.  Over medium-high heat in a medium sauté pan, cook hot dog until skin begins to brown (no more than five minutes).  Do not heat dog until it splits open.  Add a small amount of water to the pan, reduce heat and cover.  Allow the dog to shallow-steam for the remainder of the cooking process (although hot dogs are precooked, shoot for a cooking temp around 165° F; steaming them for about another seven minutes).

2.  Meanwhile, prep your remaining ingredients.  When hot dog is ready, place in steamed bun and top with components.  Serve with a cold soda and a guilty side (read fries, potato chips, or any other of their starchily delicious ilk).

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