Well, I did it. I finally did it. After five long years of being mocked, ridiculed, and told that I was not yet a “real” Chicagoan, I got down to business. I ate a hot dog.
And what a sweet sound it made, friends. I can’t believe it took me five years. You were right -the Chicago-style hot dog is amazing.
I am sort of afraid to admit this, but there was a time in my life when I was a ketchup on the hot dog kind of gal. I love ketchup. Don’t judge me. Ketchup goes well on everything, ever. In fact, while I was eating my Chicago dog, I told one of my co-workers, “I could add ketchup to this, and that might be even better!” Their faces fell! My mind raced back to my Catholic school days, as I was trying to ascertain if this was a mortal or venial sin. Would I be allowed to return to work tomorrow? Could I keep my job but expect to come in to Silly String all over my chair or my stapler in a Jell-o mold?
But I stood my ground. You see, before trying this fabled meaty item, I had consulted a few lifelong Chicagoans. A lot of them gave me the same run-around, this “run it through the garden” but absolutely no ketchup policy I’d heard everywhere else. But one of them had this to say:
“Born and raised a Chicagoan, I’ve lived on the north, south and west sides. I can tell you about every street, park, tower, and school. I’ve been to see the Bulls, Bears, Fire, Blackhawks, Sox and Cubs. I’ve even been to Jerry Springer. I tell you all of this so you know I’m the real deal even as I say this: banning ketchup on a hot dog is stupid! If you’re a true Chicagoan, you eat your hot dog however you like it because a true Chicagoan does what they want, when they want!”
Well said, friend. We reversed the flow of a river to suit our needs! We survive every winter here! We rebuilt our entire city after a fire! Perhaps all those years leading up to my first Chicago dog, I was indeed already the true Chicagoan; doing what I wanted, when I wanted to do it. I wanted ketchup and I wanted it on my encased jumble of oinks and moos—actually, Chicago dogs are all moos, but you know what I mean.
According to Hotdogchicagostyle.com, there is a very specific way to apply the traditional toppings to the dog. It goes:
• Yellow Mustard
• Bright “Neon” Green Relish
• Fresh Chopped Onions
• Two Tomato Wedges
• A Pickle Spear or Slice
• Two Sport Peppers
• A Dash of Celery Salt
The hot dog is not to be boiled. Instead, the wiener should be simmered, using the steam to cook the dog until it is between 170-180 degrees Fahrenheit.
So there you have it. Now, where to get the eats? Of course, ball parks and street vendors are always a good, classic medium. But actually, GrubHub’rs can eat Chicago dogs right in their living rooms or offices! Here are a few places to try: