How to Make the Perfect Chicago-Style Hot DogAn extremely strict guide to hot dog perfection
One of the many joys of each Riot Fest is the countless number of fans traveling from around the country—even around the world—to attend the festival and taste the many flavors of Chicago, Illinois. As we approach the largest hot dog grilling event of the year, we thought it’d make perfect sense to share with our out-of-town crowd the most iconic recipe of our hometown: the elusive, dashing, and oh-so delicious Chicago-style hot dog.
Here are all the ingredients you will need:
✶ 1 Vienna beef frank
✶ 1 poppyseed bun
✶ Mild yellow mustard
✶ Vienna Chicago-style relish
✶ Fresh chopped onions
✶ 2 tomato wedges
✶ 1 kosher dill pickle spear
✶ 2 Vienna sport peppers
✶ A dash of celery salt
Follow the instructions below with extreme precision, and you’ll have yourself a genuine Chicago-style dog dragged through the garden.
STEP 1: THE DOG
There’s plenty of great beef in Chicago, to be frank. But if you want to honor the history of the true Chicago dog, your best bet is to go with the ever-so-famous Vienna beef frank. Treat yourself and get some poppyseed buns, too. Yeah. That’s the good stuff.
STEP 2: THE TOMATO WEDGES
Two wedges. No more, no less. That’s the rule. If you put one extra tomato on there, you’re from the suburbs and not Chicago. Sorry, I don’t make the rules. Tuck them into the bun, like a kid getting tucked in bed for a bedtime story.
STEP 3: THE PICKLE SPEAR
One (count ‘em: 1) pickle spear. Kosher dill, to be precise. Slide that guy on the opposing bun side of your tomatoes; Chicago-style hot dogs must always be consumed with the tomato side on the left and the pickle side on the right.
STEP 4: THE PEPPERS
Vienna brand sport peppers are your best bet. Although I stated above that two peppers is the perfect amount, it appears that one of our graphic designers took some liberties and added a third sport pepper. We’ll let it slide since he spent all day drawing hot dogs without even getting to eat one.
STEP 5: THE MUSTARD
A proper Chicago dog is armed with some classic yellow mustard on top. Please do not use dijon, spicy brown, or any other form of mustard, otherwise you will look like a snob. What’s that? “Can I put ketchup on my Chicago-style hot dog?” No, you whiny baby, you may absolutely not. That’s a one way ticket to getting yourself thrown in the Chicago river.
STEP 6: THE RELISH & THE ONION
The holy trinity of condiments is completed with the addition of Vienna Chicago-style relish and a fresh chopped onion. Sprinkling both on top in a fancy manner will suffice, but if you strive for perfection, placing each individual onion slice one-by-one will yield a more picturesque dog.
STEP 7: A DASH OF CELERY SALT
Does this say a “breeze” of celery salt? A “sprinkle”? A “whisper”? No. I didn’t think so. This final step to perfection is the most important one of them all—after all, the saying goes (which all Chicagoans know): Mess up the dash, throw it in the trash. Don’t screw it up now, or you’re back to step one.
If you followed all the instructions above (and provided you didn’t slip up once, you clumsy buffoon), your creation should look exactly like this:
And that’s how the bun is done. You can practically taste Chicago, perfectly embroidered into your perfect hot dog. You should be proud—unless you messed up and had to start over, then you should be sort of proud. But still, proud, and eating a really delicious hot dog.
From all of us at Riot Fest: have a great 4th of July weekend. We hope we’ll see you another certain weekend in September for our 15th anniversary festival.