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The tale of a chef and his favorite regional hot dog.

Chicago, the windy city, second city, Chi-town, no matter what you call it Chicago has a lot going for it. It is one of the big three cities, has a central location, many great ethnic villages, multiple sports franchises, a deep deep dish pizza (well maybe not that) and an amazing specialty dog with a history. The simply delicious dish, got its start back on Maxwell street during the great depression where it soon became popular with the city dwellers who visited that area. Today it can be found hundreds of locations through out the city and country some with slight modifications, but still a Chicago dog. To me the true version is called the "Dragged through the garden" varietal this stays true to the original recipe of a all beef frank, in a steamed poppy-seed bun, yellow mustard, nuclear green pickle relish, celery salt, sport peppers, onions, a pickle wedge and two tomato slices. That is a lot to put on a little hot dog.

This recipe is held dear my many of the shop proprietors or hot dog slingers, some even going as far as refusing to offer ketchup; adding ketchup to a Chicago dog is considered a blasphemous move and a sure sign your an outsider. Word to the wise if you need ketchup bring a little packet, keep it in your pocket and add it in secret, don't even let me see it, because I agree with the purist, just say no to ketchup. For many once they try a true Chicago dog there is no going back, the snap of the dog, the soft steamed bun placed in a juxtaposition against the crisp pickle, and the bright green relish with the mustard creating an mouth watering sauce to top it all off. I fell in love with this simple Chicagoan street food years ago and even though I have tried some of the best food this country has to offer I will always have a soft spot for it.

Here is my version, I know I just preached the virtue of the original recipe, but my changes are small, and allow for the fact that you may not be able to find the correct color relish and my personal guilty pleasure I like a more flavorful salt than celery salt. It is simple, quick, and makes for a fun dinner with kids. Enjoy this recipe when you need a quick dinner or just want a street dog Chicago style.




  • All beef hot dogs, Vienna red hot preferable (2oz ea) 4 ea

  • Hot dog buns, poppy-seed (plain will do as well) 4 ea

  • Mustard, yellow American 2 TBSP

  • Lawrey's salt 1 tsp

  • Pickle relish, store bought 4 TBSP

  • Onion, yellow, small dice 4 TBSP

  • Tomato, roma,cut in half length wise, sliced thin 8 slices

  • Sport peppers, (sliced pepperonchini can work in a pinch) 8 ea

  • Pickle spears, crisp 4 ea


  1. Wrap each hot dog individually in a piece of paper towel, place on a microwave safe plate. and microwave for 30 seconds.

  2. Unwrap the hot dogs put them in the buns, re-wrap with the same paper towel and microwave for an additional 20 seconds. The hot dogs should be hot and the buns soft.

  3. Top each dog with the toppings in this order:

  • mustard

  • salt

  • pickle relish

  • onion

  • tomatoes

  • sport pepper

  • pickle spear

  1. They are ready to eat at this point, can be served with fries, or any side you wish, but fries are the gold standard.


#Recipe #Chicago

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About Pig

Call me Pig, it's not my real name, but it will do for our purpose.  As you'll find out, I'm a research chef, not a blogger. I travel the country looking for new trends and documenting great American independent restaurants.

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