Chicago-Style Hot Dog


There's only one right way to eat this hot dog, and this is it



I’m kicking off my latest hot dog series with a city that has some super strong opinions on the subject – Chicago.  

The Chicago-style hot dog dates back to the 1800s, when large groups of German immigrants began to call Chicago home. By 1850, Germans made up one-sixth of Chicago’s population and their customs and food started to take root in the culture of the Windy City. The Chicago-style hot dog is just one of their many contributions.  

While Chicago has definitely put their own unique spin on the hot dog, the Chicago-style dog really started as a Frankfurt/Vienna-style dog. Of course in Frankfurt, Germans had been enjoying tasty pork sausages and cold beer for centuries. Yet, it wasn’t until the early 1800s that a butcher in Vienna had the clever idea to add a bit of beef into the recipe. And, thanks to the German immigrants looking for a taste of home, that combination is what arrived in Chicago.  

However, the modern Chicago-style looks just a little different than that traditional frankfurter. Today, there’s certainly no sausage in Chicago’s Vienna-style hot dogs. All beef dogs are steamed or boiled before being served on a poppy seed bun. Then, the toppings are where things really start to get serious. According to Genie, who shared this recipe, there is a very specific combination of toppings that encompass a Chicago-style hot dog.

With the bun and dog in place, you’ll need to add a bit of yellow mustard, chopped white onions, a spear of dill pickle, a few slices of tomato, a dash of celery salt, relish, and peppers. But not just any ol’ relish or peppers, oh no. According to Genie, you’ll need authentic Vienna Beef brand’s, “Chicago Style Relish,” and “Sport Peppers.” (Substitute at your own risk). There are actually so many toppings coming together on this hot dog that it’s referred to as, “dragged through the garden.” But I’m not complaining and neither is Genie. 

As an immigrant kid, Genie found a lot of comfort in the Chicago-style hot dog. Growing up, it was a delicious way for her and her family to connect to the new cuisine around them. And how beautifully fitting that modern immigrants found such joy in the immigrant-inspired Chicago-style hot dog.  

Watch the Video

Chicago-Style Hot Dog


  • poppy seed hot dog bun
  • Vienna Beef sausage
  • yellow mustard
  • neon green relish
  • white onion chopped
  • tomato sliced
  • dill pickle spear
  • celery salt
  • sport peppers


  • Steam or boil sausage to cook.
  • Steam bun to warm through. Add hot dog to bun.

Topping order

  • Mustard, relish, onions, tomato, pickle, celery salt, and sport peppers.
  • Enjoy!
Course: Dinner, Lunch
Region: North America
Keyword: Crowd-pleaser


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