When is a Chicago-Style Hot Dog, Not a Chicago-Style Hot Dog?
I've become frustrated. All I'm trying to find is a Chicago-style hot dog. Yet the two times I've hit Gyro places here in the Quad Cities to get one, I haven't found one. At least not one to my liking. When I see the words Chicago-style hot dog. I assume that means I'm going to get a steamed hot dog. The hot dog will either be Vienna Beef or Red Hot Chicago. The bun will be a poppy seed bun. And should I choose to drag it through the garden: White chopped onions, bright green relish, a pickle spear, sliced tomatoes, sport peppers and celery salt will be available to top the dog.
The important part of the Chicago-style hot dog for me is that the hot dog be steamed and put on a poppy seed bun. I'm not big on dragging it through the garden. Maybe some mustard and absolutely no ketchup. I'm going for that unique steamed flavor that for whatever reason can't be replicated at home. Yet, sadly, the two Gyro joints I've tried in the Quad Cities whose menus say they serve Chicago-style hot dogs aren't serving steamed hot dogs. One place gave me the largest grilled hot dog I ever saw, served on a New England hot dog roll. The other place gave me 2 char dogs in a bun.
There's nothing wrong with serving a grilled jumbo wiener or even a char dog. Just tell people that's what you're serving. Because in my mind neither of those things are a Chicago-style hot dog. To support my assertion I present the links to the Wikipedia article for Chicago style hot dogs and a Chicago Tribune article about Chicago-style hot dogs from a few years ago. Both mention steaming as the traditional way to cook the dogs and refer to a charcoal grilled hot dog as a char dog. It's not really a big deal, but it is when that craving for a steamed dog on a poppy seed bun presents itself and that's not what's in the wrapper.