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Z Feature: Hot Diggity Dog!

We’re living in a sausage-centric society. (I dare you to try saying that three times fast!)

Restaurants are popping up all over Chicago that focus on the mighty sausage and all types of charcuterie. Sausages, once confined to German restaurants, are spreading across the tonier parts of the city.

Chefs are lauding their grand dogs. At one of the more chi-chi restaurants I once ate a $21 hotdog. I just had to try it. Handmade, the thing that probably boosted the price to $21 was the fois gras on the top. BIG YUM!

Originally called frankfurters, after Frankfurt, Germany, hot dogs as we know them today, have been around since the 13th century. Call it a frankfurter, a wiener, a sausage or a hotdog, they are all making a popular comeback.

There’s an unfussy place here called Hot Doug’s. I’ve never gotten in. The lines are so long. People stand in the pouring rain waiting to get into Hot Doug’s. Doug was a pioneer in the fancy hotdog business. In fact, he’s retiring this year and closing up shop. Doug’s not old. He’s just bored. He says it’s time to do something else. Hot Doug fans will miss those dogs, but there are plenty of other options to replace Hot Doug’s now.

Publican Quality Meats is a restaurant on super-cool Randolph Street that has plenty of sausage options on the menu. On Sundays if you don’t have a reservation, you’ll never get in. It’s full by 11:30 AM. At The Publican you can even eat in a pig pen. They have booths with tables built into them that are replicas of pig pens. They even have a pig pen door. You have to open the pig pen door to step inside your booth. It’s either that or jump over the top. Just like in the barn.

The newest offering is called Tete Charcuterie. Also in the Randolph Street corridor. The irony being that area used to be full of meat packing warehouses. Now it’s listed as one of the hottest restaurant neighborhoods in the country. But I digress.

Tete offers all manner of sausages, salumi and even pickled beef cheek.

They have hotdogs from America of course, but also France, Germany, the Philippines, Morocco (their sausage is called a merguez) and Italy. The Italian one is flavored with squid ink and garnished with cuttlefish. Go figure.

I sometimes venture into gourmet hotdog horizons but I probably won’t order that Italian one. My favorite way to eat a hotdog is practically “illegal” in Chicago. I like mine with ketchup. Some hotdog joints won’t let you order a hotdog with ketchup. They don’t even have a bottle of ketchup on the premises. I have learned to like a Chicago-style hotdog though. So today I’m giving you the recipe.

Chicago-style Hotdog

1 all beef hotdog, grilled
1 poppyseed hotdog bun (if I’m going to eat the bun, I want mine grilled and buttered, please, but most times I skip the bun)

Now pile these things on your hotdog: mustard (the yellow stuff), sweet pickle relish (the neon green kind), chopped onion, a wedge of tomato, a dill pickle spear, sport peppers, and a dash of celery salt.

And you’ve got yourself a Chicago-style hotdog.

Want more hot dog recipes without all the carbs? Click here for a pizza dog, hot HOT dog, and more —->



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