Chicago style HOT DOGS

A Chicago style hot dog, Chicago Dog, or Chicago Red Hot is an all-beef frankfurter on a poppy seed bun. The hot dog is topped with yellow mustard, chopped white onions, bright green sweet pickle relish, a dill pickle spear, tomato slices or wedges, pickled sport peppers and a dash of celery salt. The complete assembly of a Chicago hot dog is said to be "dragged through the garden" due to the many toppings.

 

The method for cooking the hot dog varies depending on the vendor's preference. Most often they are steamed, water-simmered, or less often grilled over charcoal in which case they are referred to as "char-dogs". The Chicago style recipe does not include ketchup, and there is a widely shared, strong opinion among many Chicagoans and aficionados that ketchup is unacceptable because it was once used to cover up low quality or spoiled meat. A number of Chicago hot dog vendors don’t even offer ketchup as a condiment.

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The hot dog arrived in Chicago through Frankfurt from Vienna. Pork sausages have been known in Frankfurt since the 13th century. Sometime in the 19th century a butcher in Vienna added beef to the sausage mixture. He called this a "wiener-frankfurter". Eventually reaching Chicago, Franks served in buns became popular at fairs and baseball games. Reportedly the pork-free and kosher-style all beef frank was originated by Fluky's in 1929. During the Great Depression they were sold for a nickel out of carts along Maxwell Street. Two Austrian Hungarian immigrants sold their Vienna Beef franks at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

 

The "dragged through the garden" style is heavily promoted by Vienna Beef and Red Hot Chicago, the two most prominent Chicago hot dog manufacturers, but exceptions are common, with vendors adding cucumber slices or lettuce, omitting poppyseeds or celery salt, or using plain relish or a skinless hot dog. Several popular hot dog stands serve a simpler version known as the "Depression Dog": a steamed natural-casing dog with only mustard, onions, plain relish and sport peppers, wrapped up with hand-cut french fries.