Finally, I Know Why Chicago-Style Hot Dog Has So Many Ingredients
I know the secret behind the Chicago-style hot dog but don't worry I'll share it with you.
What Is A Chicago-Style Hot Dog?
I'm not an official Chicagoan but I grew up just outside of the city and spent a lot of time there. It's funny because I've never understood the Chicago-style hot dog. I prefer them plain or with ketchup. I do realize I could be banned from the Windy City for admitting that. There are many ingredients so what's actually on it?
The Chicago-style hot dog traditionally features a poppy seed bun filled with a wiener (Vienna Beef’s all-beef dogs are popular, to put it mildly) and then topped with mustard, relish, onions, tomatoes, a pickle spear, sports peppers and celery salt.
Why Are There So Many Ingredients On A Chicago-Style Hot Dog?
Ever since I can remember, I've wondered why the Chicago-style hot dog has so many ingredients. I've asked several people through the years but I always get the "because it does" type answer. Finally, I found out the deal. You gotta love the internet.
The story of the Chicago-style hot dog begins during the Great Depression. It was originally called the Depression Sandwich which included mustard, pickle relish, onions, a dill pickle, hot peppers, lettuce, and tomatoes. The cost was just a nickel. The hot dog with all the condiments was considered a meal for residents going through difficult financial times.
It was a working-class city, and hot dog stands could provide a cheap, quick meal for people working in factories or on road crews.
Back in those days, Chicago had a large immigrant population. They really enjoy the taste of those world-famous dogs. In fact, the many ingredients were influenced by different cultures and the flavors came directly from their history.
Chicago-Style Hot Dog Influenced Other Famous Chicago Foods
The success of the Chicago-style hot dog influenced many other foods that came down the line later on. They have basically the same theme. The ingredients create the feeling of a full meal. Things like the Italian beef sandwich and deep dish pizza.
Why No Ketchup?
Diehard Chicagoans are very anti-ketchup. I'll give up a little heads up. Don't even mention the infamous condiment anywhere within the city limits. Though there isn't any specific reason behind the ketchup hate, many think it was for safety issues. Some Chicago residents believed it was used to hide the taste of spoiled meat. Others say that taste of ketchup was already covered by the other ingredients.