Chicago-Style Hot Dog Recipe

My husband Morgan could be called a hotdog fan. The Chicago-style dog is one of his favorites. He says:

“The hot dog is a humble food. Many of us who live outside of the large cities of the Northeast don’t get to experience the true beauty of the Hot Dog. All too often it’s a boring picnic staple, its flavor drowned in ketchup and mustard. Growing up in the South, about the best Hot Dog I could think of was a chilidog with mayonnaise slaw, mustard, and onions. It’s a combination I still love, but it is meat-candy compared to the complexity of flavor found in the incredible Chicago-Style Hot Dog. The first time I had one of these, I was converted. Ever since then, even when I lack most of the ingredients that identify the true Chicago Dog, I still have a tendency to toss on some tomato or a pickle spear whenever I can.”

Chicago-style hot dogs

Chicago-Style Hot Dog Recipe
makes as many as you get supplies for


  • all-beef hot dogs. Vienna Beef brand is preferable *
  • poppy seed hotdog buns.
  • yellow mustard. (French’s or similar)
  • bright green relish **
  • onions, chopped.
  • tomato, cut into wedges.
  • dill pickle spear ***
  • celery salt.

* Morgan says that the best he can find around here is Hebrew Nationals.

** This is a concoction that we can’t find in the South. Sweet relish will do.

*** ‘Kosher’ variety, such as Clausen’s, is preferable.

Preparation Instructions:

1) The hot dogs should be steamed and not boiled. To do this, bring a pot of water to a boil, then turn it down just to a simmer or a little below. Toss in the Hot Dogs and let them warm in the water for about 20 minutes.

2) Dice the onion, make sure the pickle is in spears, and cut the tomato into wedges. The wedges should be chunky enough to give you a good tomato flavor but not so thick that they can’t fit into the bun.

3) Just before the dogs come out of the pot, steam the buns. The easiest way to do this is to wrap them loosely in microwave-safe plastic wrap and microwave them for about 15 seconds or so.

4) Place the hotdog into the bun. The correct order of the toppings is important, it is: mustard, relish, onions, tomato on one side, pickle spear on the other, and a dash of celery salt across the top.

Note: In a pinch, Morgan has tried lots of different toppings. Some of his favorite variations include the hot dog pictured above and below, which has mustard, green pepper, onion, spicy pickles, chopped heirloom tomato, and celery salt. Finding the right type of bun around here is impossible without making them ourselves.

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