“Chicago-style” Hot Dogs


“Hat dawg, please, and drag it thru da garden!”  Now that’s how you order a “Chicago-style” hot dog in the Windy City.  I grew up there, and this is my favorite way to celebrate the Fourth of July.  I have so many memories associated with this meal (and it IS a meal) bread, veggies (thus the “drag it thru da garden” specification when ordering), and protein all in one very messy presentation.

We used to celebrate July 4th at the Hornaday’s cottage on Lake Michigan (right across the street from Mayor Daley’s house) in Grand Beach, Michigan.  Depending on weather, sometimes it was on the 3rd or the 5th of July, but it always included “Chicago-style” Hot Dogs and homemade peach ice cream.  Is there anything better than a hot dog at the beach?  All summer long, we’d celebrate by riding our bikes to The Snack Shack.  We’d order these hot dogs which were served with fries in those cute, red and white checkered cardboard boats.

Wherever you enjoy your “Chicago-style” hot dog, be sure to follow the rules:

1).  Never use ketchup on this hot dog!  Mustard = YELLOW (preferably French’s).
2).  Pickles should be both relish (preferably neon-green, Chicago-style) and dill spears.
3).  Tomatoes should be in wedges, not chopped or in ketchup form (see Rule #1).
4.)  Bun (poppy seed!) and dogs (all-beef with natural casing) MUST be steamed.
5.)  Sport peppers are great if you can find them, but sliced pepperoncinis will suffice.

Sorry if this sounds bossy, but I’m telling you, Chicago-ans are SERIOUS about their hot dogs!  Try it, and you’ll understand why.   That’s Rob. He’s from Michigan.  He TOTALLY gets the “Chicago-style” Hot Dog.

See the neon-green pickle relish AND the Claussen Dill Pickle spear?  The Sport Peppers are tiny, little, spicy and vinegar-y bombs that add a delicious hot-ness to the dog.  I bought the Vienna Chicago Style Relish and VIENNA ® SPORT PEPPERS
from amazon.com.  In Seattle, you can find wonderful All-Beef Hot Dogs in Natural Casings at AJ Meats on Queen Anne.

“Chicago-style” Hot Dogs
Recipe Type: Main Dish
Author: A Passionate Plate
Serves: 6
Although all the toppings here are a must, the secret ingredient here is Celery Salt – don’t skip it!
  • 6 All-Beef Hot Dogs in Natural Casings
  • 6 Hot Dog Buns (poppy seed buns, if you can find them)
  • Poppy Seeds (for the buns)
  • Yellow Mustard
  • Sweet, Green Pickle Relish
  • Sweet Onion, chopped
  • Tomato Wedges
  • Dill Pickle Spears (preferable Claussen from the refrigerated section)
  • Sport Peppers (or sliced pepperoncinis)
  • Celery Salt
  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil.
  2. Place the dogs in a steamer basket above the water and let them steam all the way through (5-10 minutes).
  3. Remove the dogs and steam the buns for about 2 minutes. Roll the buns in poppy seeds.
  4. Place the dog into the bun and drag it thru da garden (place all the ingredients on and around the dog in the order listed).
  5. EnJOY!


  1. nancy says:

    Central Market in shoreline will sell you the relish out of their deli,,,,if you need it quick

  2. MaryMiller says:

    After seeing this post I invited myself over to Joy’s house for Chicago Dog leftovers. As a self admitted fan of processed meats, I must say the hot dogs in natural casings were outstanding. Steamed and served with onions, mustard, neon relish, and those amazing sport peppers – a Chicago dog is amazing. Why isn’t this hot dog on every street corner in Seattle? It will be hard to eat a plain old hot dog again. Thanks, Joy!

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