Thursday, July 23, 2015

Chicago Style Hot Dog

     The Classic Chicago Dog!  
     The flavor of a Chicago Hot Dog is like no other hot dog.  The ingredients combine to give this hot dog a very tasty summertime flavor!
     Upon first glance, it is easy to assume that a Chicago Dog is just an ordinary hot dog with a few extra toppings.  After taking a second look, one can see that some of the hot dog toppings do not look like average run of the mill condiments.  
     There are a few ingredients on this hot dog that are difficult to find outside of Chicago area.  Neon Relish, Sport Peppers and Famous Dave's Spicy Dill Pickles are required for making an authentic Chicago Style Hot Dog.  These products can be found at Chicago Hot Dog Shops and hot dog stands that feature Vienna Hot Dogs, but these shops are usually not located in regions where a different kind of hot dog brand or style is dominant.  Neon Relish, Sport Peppers and Dave's Spicy Dill Pickles are available at internet shopping website like Amazon.  
     Chicago Style Hot Dog:
     The ingredients are listed in the same order that a Chicago Hot Dog is assembled.  The cooking methods are mentioned too.   The pictures above show how the finished Chicago Style Hot Dog should look.  

     Poppy Seed Hot Dog Bun
     Only a Poppyseed Hot Dog Bun can be used to make an authentic  Chicago Style Hot Dog.  A plain hot dog bun will not do.  The Poppyseed Hot Dog Bun should be warmed in an oven or on a dry griddle.

     Yellow Mustard 
     Plochman's Yellow Mustard is the official mustard for Chicago Hot Dog's.  Any kind of American style yellow mustard can be substituted.  I prefer Dijon Mustard, but that is a matter of personal taste.  For an official Chicago Hot Dog, the yellow mustard is squirted or spread on the hot dog bun, before any other ingredients are placed on the bun.

     Vienna Hot Dog
     Chicago Style Hot Dogs are made with Vienna brand all beef hot dogs.  There are several different hot dog styles and the Vienna style recipe is similar to the authentic Vienna Sausages that are made in Austria.  Vienna brand hot dogs have no casing.  These hot dogs are plump and they have a mild flavor.  Vienna Hot Dogs are available in a few different sizes.
     For an authentic Chicago Hot Dog, the Vienna Hot Dog is supposed to be steamed or simmered in a pot of water.  Most modern Chicago Hot Dog stands just lightly grill the hot dog on a flat top steel griddle or a rotating hot dog grilling machine.  Chargrilling is an option, but chargrilled Chicago Style Hot Dog is called a Char Dog.

     Chopped Onion 
     Chopped onion is required on an official Chicago Hot Dog.  Spanish Onion or Yellow Onion are the best choice.  About 3 or 4 tablespoons of small chopped onion is plenty.

     Spicy Dill Pickle Spear 
     The local Chicago top pick for the dill pickle spear is Famous Dave's Spicy Dill Pickles.  This brand of pickle can be found at many national grocery store chains.  If this brand is not available, any kind of spicy kosher dill pickle can be substitute.  When selecting a substitute, the golden rule is "the spicier the better!"  The spicy pickle is cut into a thin spear and wedged between the hot dog and the bun.

     Sliced Tomato
     A slice of tomato is cut in half and wedged between the hot dog and bun.  If the tomatoes are small, leaving the tomato slices whole is okay.  The tomato brightens the flavor of a Chicago Hot Dog and it adds good eye appeal.

     Neon Relish 
     Neon Relish is a neon green color sweet pickle relish.  A few select Greek spices gives this relish a unique flavor.  There is only one company that markets a product called Neon Relish, but I have not seen the brand name since I lived in Chicago.  The Neon Relish brand is the best, but it is nearly impossible to find these days.
     The next best choice is Vienna brand Chicago Style Relish.  The Vienna product tastes good too.  There are also a couple of local Chicago brand name sweet pickle relishes that are worth trying.  Regular sweet pickle relish is not an acceptable substitute for Chicago style Neon Relish!

     Sport Peppers
     Sport Peppers are pickled small green Serrano Chile peppers that have the stem trimmed off.  Sport Peppers are used to make many Southern Food recipes, so they are fairly easy to find outside of Chicago area.  There are many brands of Sport Peppers to choose from.
     Celery Salt
     The ingredient that most chefs outside of Chicago overlook is Celery Salt.  Celery Salt is added last and it is sprinkled over the finished Chicago Dog.  A light sprinkle of celery salt gives a hot dog a delicate flavor.  Some people like a generous amount of celery salt on a Chicago Hot Dog and this creates a much deeper flavor.  

     Viola!  The classic Chicago Hot Dog!

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