The Chicago Style Hot Dog Salad

While eating at one of Chicago’s many hot dog places with a friend who was enjoying a hot dog with the works, I had an idea for something different.  In Chicago a hot dog with everything on it is something special.  It is a unique masterpiece that has its origins in lore.  Vienna Beef provides a a wonderful graphic depiction of the canonical recipe for the Chicago Style Hot Dog as seen to the right here.

The Chicago Style hot dog consists of a natural casing hot dog, steamed poppy seed bun, a kosher pickle spear, diced onions, neon relish (more on this later), sport peppers, tomato slices, a dash of celery salt, and yellow mustard.  No ketchup and no fancy mustards for this hot dog, thank you very much.  Okay, about this Neon Green Relish (Vienna Chicago Style Relish 12oz) that is a ‘requirement’ for the Chicago Style Hot Dog: it doesn’t taste any different, looks dangerous, and costs more.  I opt out of using it.  I figure the recipe I’m proposing already freaks out the hot dog purists so I’m not to concerned over  altering one ingredient.

I don’t really care about the why of the Chicago style too much.  I assume it was just a way to make a single hot dog more filling.  No matter, when ordering this hot dog, people will sometimes say, “drag it through the garden” as in indicator of just how much extra stuff is on this normally simple treat.

When I saw my friend eating her massively topped hot dog, I considered that there had to be a way to modernize and enhance this experience.  That is when the idea of the Chicago Style Hot Dog Salad came to mind.

The Chicago Style Hot Dog Salad
Recipe Type: Salad
Author: Sean D, Francis
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
Total time: 25 mins
Serves: 1
A salad created from a Chicago style hot dog.
  • 1 natural casing hot dog
  • 1 poppy seed bun
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 3 romaine lettuce leaves
  • 1/4 of a small yellow onion
  • 1 Tbsp of dill pickle relish
  • 2 sport peppers
  • 2 Tbsp sport pepper juice from the jar
  • 1/2 roma tomato
  • 1 kosher pickle slice
  • 1 Tbsp of yellow mustard
  • 3 pinches of celery salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Bring a pot of water to a boil then turn the heat low and add the hot dog. You don’t want to cook the hot dog in boiling water or else you may split the casing. Instead let it sit in the simmering water to bring it to temperature.
  3. Take 1/4 cup of olive oil, put it in a pan.
  4. Crush the clove of garlic and add it to the oil. Some people may claim that garlic isn’t a part of the Chicago style experience and I call rubbish on that. A kosher pickle is called that because of the garlic.
  5. Heat the oil and the garlic while cutting the poppy seed bun into bite sized chunks.
  6. Once the oil is warmed, turn it off and add the pieces of the bun and stir it around, coating the chunks with the oil.
  7. Spread the pieces of bun onto a baking sheet, sprinkle with a pinch of celery salt and set it in the oven to cook for 10 to 15 minutes. Looking for them to turn brown, not black, and be crunchy not mushy.
  8. Mix 1/4 cup of olive oil with the sport pepper liquid, relish, mustard and two pinches of celery salt.
  9. Chop the lettuce leaves into bite sized pieces.
  10. Slice the tomato into wedges, and cut the pickle as well.
  11. Put the lettuce, tomato, pickle, onion, and sport peppers on the plate.
  12. Take the hot dog, slice it length wise into four pieces, and put it on top of the salad.
  13. Now pour on the dressing and top with the poppy seed bun croutons.


There are no real health benefits to eating this over the regular hot dog.  In fact with the addition of all the oil, this is probably worse for you.  The only thing it has going for it not having to use your hands to eat it.  I guess the other benefit is a hot dog sliced this way is less of a  choking risk, but I’m obviously just stretching.  It is a fun, good salad to mix things up a bit.

Published by Sean D. Francis

Sean D. Francis is a technologist, writer, and geek. He podcasts, makes video, and dabbles in all the geeky genres including horror, sci-fi, and fantasy.