The Architecture of the Hot Dog

February 12, 2010
1 Ratings
  • Serves As many as you want
Author Notes

From the city of Big Shoulders, Carl Sandberg, Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright comes our most perfect hot dog. I've made trips to Chicago and dragged friends along just for the dogs. I have a thing about hot dogs. So watch a ball game or your favorite Al Capone movie and have a red hot, "dragged through the garden".

Please note that in Chicago's best hot dog palaces if you ask for ketchup you will be escorted out of the building by security. —pierino

What You'll Need
  • 6 Hebrew National all beef hot dogs in natural casing
  • 2 or more french baguettes (this is Windy City heresy but I'll explain)
  • 1 jar yellow ball park mustard
  • 1 jar green pickle relish
  • 2 tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • at least six pickle spears
  • 12 chicago style sport peppers
  • celery salt
  1. Cut the baguettes to fit the length of your hot dog. Toast them lightly while you grill or steam the dogs. We prefer the former. Your hot dogs need some spine to them, and the skin should snap and not burst.
  2. Assemble. Celery salt is an indispensible ingredient. If you can't find sport peppers substitute a similar Italian style jarred pepper, say piquante. Please note the condiments go on top of the hot dog, they don't schmeared on the bun. This is important.
  3. My major act of apostasy here is omitting the traditional poppy seed bun. This is because they can be hard to find outside the midwest. But also because I tasted outrageously good foot long dogs served on a baguette recently. I'll explain later.
  4. Now enjoy your dog and watch Kevin Costner and Sean Connery in "The Untouchables".

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • ShelbyBelby
  • fiveandspice
  • betteirene
  • ibbeachnana
  • wssmom
Standup commis flâneur, and food historian. Pierino's background is in Italian and Spanish cooking but of late he's focused on frozen desserts. He is now finishing his cookbook, MALAVIDA! Can it get worse? Yes, it can. Visit the Malavida Brass Knuckle cooking page at Facebook and your posts are welcome there.

8 Reviews

ShelbyBelby April 16, 2016
rip hot dougs :(
arcane54 October 27, 2013
My dear Dad used to take me to Maxwell Street (moved but not recreated now) and my goal was the hotdog. Great memories of the hat shop, fortuneteller, the fellow hawking pants for "fat men and happy men". Thanks for this.
fiveandspice May 16, 2011
Oh how I love a good hotdog. This is probably sacrilegious, but personally, I think the very best hot dogs are in Norway, wrapped in potato bread and sprinkled with deep fried onions, mmmm.
betteirene May 15, 2011
Yes, but what about the duck fat fries?
pierino May 15, 2011
The duck fat fries at Hot Doug's are by themselves worth buying a plane ticket to Chicago and taking a taxi straight to the North Side. And remember, if you ask for ketchup you get kicked out and put on a train to White Sox land.
ibbeachnana May 15, 2011
Perfect! Reminds me of snowstorm days in DeKalb when I set the family room coffee table up for a snow bound Chicago hot dog dinner in front of the fireplace.

Here in NC we pack up the grill etc. for lunch or dinner at the beach, grilling hot dogs a few times during the summer. I'm thinking this will be our first hot dog dinner this year.

Thanks pierino
wssmom May 14, 2011
This past summer at Saratoga Race Course, they opened a Shake Shack stand where they served a Chicago-style hot dog 'dragged through the garden' -- I had kind of forgotten about it until I read your recipe. I am so looking forward to creating my own (as soon as it stops raining)! BTW loved loved loved Sean Connery in the Untouchables, but my favorite scene was when Kevin Costner pushed Frank Nitti off the roof and said something like, "Did he sound anything like that?"
pierino February 12, 2010
Recently I was stuck in the beautiful Santa Ynez valley for more nights than planned because of weather. I took an early dinner at the bar of Bradley Ogden's Root 246 (very bad pun). One of the signature items on the bar menu is their foot long hot dog made by Hobbs in San Francisco just for them. Bradley riffs on styles from Chicago to Philly (how scary is that?). Because I'm a digger of all dogs I sourced it out. If you are willing to spend $65 for two pounds of hot dog I'll tell you how to find them.