According to Wikipedia a Chicago Dog consists of a poppy seed bun, an all-beef, natural casing dog with mustard, chopped onion, green sweet relish, a dill pickle spear, tomato slices, sport peppers, and celery salt. Normally the dog is steamed or boiled, but I prefer to grill them, although technically this makes them a Char Dog, not a Chicago Dog.
There is some room for compromise. Here in the Pacific Northwest, I find I can't easily find poppy seed buns so I substitute Stadium Buns. Since the bun will hold several ingredients it must have some substance. The namby-pamby hot dog buns sold in the local supermarket will not serve. Although the "official" recipe calls for all-beef dogs with natural casings, I prefer a Polish Dog or a Spicy Dog and I try not to think about what the casing is made of.
Two items do not allow for compromise however. First you MUST use sport peppers. There is no substitute. Chances are you cannot find Sport Peppers in your local market if you live outside the Chicago area. I have provided a link below where you can order sport peppers at a reasonable price for home delivery. Second, do NOT use ketchup of catsup.
I usually put together an assembly line of ingredients so each person can put together his or her own Chicago Dog in the ideal order.
- Cooked Dog
- Plain Ordinary Mustard (put on the dog, not the bun)
- Chopped Onion (I put a row on each side of the bun)
- Sweet Green Relish (cover the onions)
- Deal Pickle Spear (I like one on each side)
- Tomato Half Slices (I use four half slices two on each side to line the entire bun)
- Sport Peppers (one on tope of each tomato slice)
- Celery Salt (a healthy shake over the Chicago Dog)
The resulting dog provides an entire meal and appeals to all the taste buds. My family asks me to make them at least once each month. I'm always glad to do so. They are among my favorites.