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What is a Chicago style hot dog?

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There’s nothing like a Chicago-style hot dog. The bun-to-meat ratio is perfect, and the toppings are deliciously excessive. Chicagoans don’t follow the rules for extras—they pile them on one ingredient after another and guess what? It not only works, but it’s a satisfying creation.

A traditional and authentic Chicago-style hot dog is steamed and not grilled or boiled. The dog itself is all beef and in a natural casing (Vienna Beef anyone?). Its partner, the bun, is also steamed to perfection before seven required toppings complete the tasty process. They include:

1. Yellow Mustard – Not brown, honey, spicy, Dijon or any other mustard, but simply yellow.
2. “Neon” Green Relish – The brighter the relish color the better.
3. Fresh Chopped Onions – Diced white onions are the way to go.
4. Tomato – Thin wedges is what we’re looking for.
5. Pickle – A spear or slice is necessary and make sure it’s the snappy kind.
6. Sport Peppers – 1-2 of the spicy-but-not-too-spicy pepper in its whole form is required.
7. Celery Salt – A dash of celery salt ties everything together.

And there’s your Chicago-style hot dog. Note that an all-beef hot dog should “snap” when you bite into it. Because of the natural casing, there should be a slight resistance on the teeth before tasting the juiciness and flavor of the meat.

You may notice ketchup isn’t listed among the extras. Although ketchup is a widely popular topping to use on hot dogs, it’s a big no-no to the makers of Chicago-style dogs. This is because hot dog aficionados think the condiment’s flavor overpowers the taste of the hot dog instead of adding to it. You may get a dirty look from your hot dog maker if you ask for ketchup, but we won’t give you one at Rand Red Hots. You’ll just have to make a special request for ketchup.

Fun Fact: A Chicago-style hot dog with “the works” (or everything on it) is said to be “dragged through the garden” because of the several veggie toppings.

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