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Chicago Hot Dogs

The road to hot dog heaven leads straight to Chicago, where they know how to layer on the flavor.

Martha Stewart Living, July 2011

Some traditions you just don't mess with, and a Chicago dog is one of them. The Windy City boasts more hot dog stands than fast-food franchises, so this might be its most popular and venerated food. All-beef frankfurters (steamed or simmered in water) are "dragged through the garden," meaning they're piled with a bunch of veggie condiments. Ketchup is not included. No way, nohow. Ask for it and a street vendor will laugh you right off Michigan Avenue. This isn't a recipe to play with or upgrade.

Try rocking these dogs at home for your next casual buffet. Top each with a spicy sport pepper (pinch-hit with a peperoncino if you can't find this regional favorite), and don't forget the celery salt. It's all about the celery salt. So set out the fixings and teach your guests about this Chi-town ritual. And next time you happen to be there, stop by Hot Doug's (, my favorite spot for these classics.

Assembly Required

You can make up a platter of the dogs, but it's also fun to arrange the toppings in bowls and let your friends do the rest.

Get step-by-step instructions on How to Build a Chicago Dog.

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