When it comes to Chicago hot dogs, there are several different versions, but there’s also one cardinal rule you must never, ever violate: no ketchup! For those who aren’t in the know, a Chicago-style dog consists of yellow mustard, diced white onions, sweet pickle relish, tomato slices, a pickle spear, celery salt, and sport peppers on an all-beef dog in a poppy seed bun. That’s one serious hot dog!
We just released our own list of America's 35 Best Hot Dogs, and of course, most of these spots are included. Not every Chicago dog could make the list, though, so we've suggested a couple of other spots (Jimmy's & Byron's) where you can experience different versions of the true Chicago dog:
Around since 1948, this is one of the classic Chicago institutions to try the iconic hot dog. Superdawg also offers burgers, shakes, sundaes, and other tasty treats. Meanwhile, the drive-in setup adds a touch of nostalgia.
There will be lines, and the wait will be worth it. This cash-only Avondale joint goes beyond the traditional Chicago dog to offer polish sausages, foie gras, bratwursts, and veggie dogs, all cleverly named and delightfully greasy. Be sure to try the duck fat fries, which are available only on Fridays and Saturdays at Hot Doug's.
Jimmy’s Red Hots:
A neighborhood institution for more than 50 years, Jimmy’s in Humboldt Park is notorious for adding on the sport peppers. They're adament about no ketchup on hot dogs (don't even ask).
Byron’s Hot Dogs:
Byron’s has two little Northside locations that serve up tasty chicken sandwiches, burgers, and, of course, hot dogs. They know what they’re doing when it comes to the classic Chicago dog — their owner was invited to the White House as a guest chef to cook up Chicago dogs to represent the Midwest for a special event. Hungry diners should take advantage of their super-sized "dogzilla:" a half-pound natural-casing hot dog that they dare customers to eat.
This is one Chicago establishment you won’t want to miss on your quest for a Chicago dog. The cashiers at Wiener's Circle are known for mocking, insulting, and generally humiliating the late-night crowd waiting for their food, but that’s all part of the fun. If you can’t handle a barrage of obscenities flying your way, come earlier in the day.