We don’t live anywhere near Chicago, but I often get cravings for Chicago style hot dogs. Fortunately, we do live locally to one of the nation’s best hot dog hole-in-the-wall places, Hot Dog Heaven here in Orlando. And that’s not just coming from me, Travel and Leisure magazine voted them one of a few restaurants in the nation that have America’s best dogs. This famous little joint, much more known for their food than atmosphere, was where I first fell in love with the Chicago dog. Unfortunately though, they’re located on the other side of town, and I just really don’t want to drive sometimes. The one problem I run into is alot of the ingredients for Chicago dogs aren’t readily available, so I’ve come up with some shortcuts to make them easily with common grocery store ingredients.
The first essential ingredient you must have is poppy seed buns, but you’re probable not going to find these at just any grocery store. If you can wait a day, go to your grocery store’s bakery and order some poppy seed hot dog rolls. If you need them the same day, purchase any type of hot dog bun and some poppy seeds. Spray the buns with olive oil spray and sprinkle with poppy seeds. Place under the broiler to lightly toast.
The all beef hot dogs are pretty easy to find. Be sure to purchase a quality dog. All the other ingredients are pretty common too, except for the sport peppers. As far as I know, these are a regional specialty that can’t be found in other parts of the country, unless you order them online. Instead of special ordering sport peppers, I used serrano peppers for my dogs. If you can’t find these peppers, or the sport peppers, just use tabasco peppers. They’ll be a little spicier, but you can find them in the condiments isle.
Chicago Hot Dogs
Poppy seed hot dog buns
All beef hot dogs
Bright green sweet pickle relish, or any sweet relish
a crisp dill pickle spear
sport peppers, serrano peppers, or tabasco peppers, pickled
thin tomato wedges
poppy seeds and olive oil spray if you have plain buns
1. Cook hot dogs according to package directions.
2. If you were not able to get poppy seed buns, take your plain hot dog buns and place on a cookie sheet. Spray with olive oil spray and sprinkle with poppy seeds. Place under broiler for just a minute or two until buns are warm.
3. Top hot dog with toppings, sprinkle with celery salt and enjoy a little taste of “almost authentic” Chicago anywhere.