As a native Chicagoan, I have very clear ideas about the “proper” hot dog. In fact, an entire cookbook has been dedicated to the art of the hot dog, and the name is “Never Put Ketchup on a Hot Dog.” So, you can imagine the angst when Girl from Chicago meets Boy from Detroit (home of the “Coney” – which is just an excuse to smother a hot dog in a bunch of stuff which, in a Chicagoan’s eyes, doesn’t belong on a hot dog). So, needless to say, when we have hot dogs for dinner, we “agree to disagree.” The most challenging aspect of building the “Chicago Dog” is finding Poppy seed buns (I have yet to be able to find them in Detroit), bright green sweet relish (a necessity which I managed to smuggle past the TSA last time I flew back from Chicago – but I have seen it locally), and what are called “sport peppers” (very small hot peppers) – I substitute a spicy dill pickle and manage to get two ingredients in one. The Chicago Dogs are boiled and served on steamed buns; the Detroit Dogs are barbequed and served on toasted buns ( with, yes, don’t get me started, melted cheese).
If any of you have thoughts about which hot dog looks (appears to, or tastes) better, please comment– (you may disappoint a certain Chicagoan, or Detroiter, but we’ve reached an impasse, and , yes, there’s pride riding on this one).
For the “Chicago Dogs”
- 2 Vienna Style (or All Beef) Hot Dog
- 2 Hot Dog Bun (Ideally with Poppy Seeds, but these are hard to find)
- 3 Grape Tomatoes (cut into 1/4)
- 2 tsp. Chopped Sweet (White) Onion
- 2 1/4 sliced Dill Pickle Spears*
- 4 Sport Peppers
- 2 tsp. Sweet (Bright Green) Relish (or substitute regular sweet relish)
- Mustard (the regular yellow kind)
- Celery Salt
* We have a local pickle company McClure’s http://www.mcclurespickles.com/products/which makes spicy pickles, so I use a spicy pickle in place of a pickle plus sport peppers.
Fill a medium saucepan about 3/4 full of water and bring to a boil; add hot dog. Cook hotdog until heated through (about 4 minutes). Place a grated cooling rack over the saucepan and lay hot dog bun on top to “steam.” Flip bun to steam other side. After bun is steamed, and hot dog is cooked through, add the other ingredients, beginning with the mustard and relish,finishing with chopped onion; add pickle, sport peppers,and tomatoes. Sprinkle with celery salt.
For the “Detroit Style (though not Coney) Dogs”
- 2 Vienna Style (or All Beef) Hot Dogs
- 2 Hot Dog Buns
- 1 Slice of American Cheese
- 2 tsp. Chopped Onion
Preheat a grill to medium. Add hot dogs and cook until just browned and cooked thoroughly (about 4 minutes- flipping once). Just before the hot dogs are cooked, add the buns to the grill to toast lightly. Add cheese to hot dogs and allow to melt. Remove hot dogs and buns from grill, add ketchup and chopped onion and serve.