I love love love hot dogs, but I'm a traitor to my Chicago roots; I have to pile on the ketchup and onions. I hate Chicago-style hot dogs, and I get sooooo tired of people making a big deal about how I prefer my dog. (My picture is even on the Wall of Shame at Flub a dub Chubs.) I've always wondered where all of those nasty Chicago-style hot dog ingredients came from. Thus, it's the topic for this week's "Did you know, Chicago?" feature.
So what exactly is in a Chicago style hot dog? It is a Vienna Beef hot dog in a steamed poppy seed bun topped with yellow mustard, chopped onions, green relish, a Kosher pickle spear, a tomato wedge, sport peppers and a dash of celery salt.
The Chicago-style hot dog was born during the Great Depression on Maxwell Street. Abe Drexler opened the original Fluky's, a hot dog stand on the corner of Maxwell and Halsted, in 1929 and began serving this famous meal.
The original hot dog was called a "Depression Sandwich." Five cents would get a customer "the works," which for some was an entire meal in itself.
The foundation of a traditional Chicago-style hot dog was the Kosher Vienna Beef hot dog. Why Kosher Vienna Beef? During the Great Depression, Vienna Beef was THE dog of choice. And since the founders were Jewish and Abe Drexler was Jewish, Kosher hot dogs all around. Today, Vienna does not make Kosher dogs, but to make a true Chicago-style creation you need to get an all-beef hot dog.
The ideal hot dog requires a substantial bun to handle the steam warming and heaping ingredients. Typically, a traditional dog is made with S. Rosen's Mary Ann Poppy Hot Dog Bun.
Today there are more hot dog stands in Chicago than McDonald's, Burger King and Wendy's restaurants combined.
So, what's with the strict "NO KETCHUP" policy? I couldn't find one! It really seems like you don't use ketchup just because you don't use ketchup. Abe didn't use it, so it's wrong.
Filed under: Did You Know, Chicago?
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