Welp, vacation is over and it’s back to real life (until this weekend at the Big Summer Potluck, weeee!). I’m actually writing this post before vacation (working ahead and all) and while I can’t yet tell you for certain that it was wonderful and relaxing and perfectly refreshing, I’m guessing that it was. And if not? Well, we’ve got hot dogs. And that’s a topic that makes anyone happy.
While I may live in the land of Minnesotans now and potentially forevermore, I am a born and bred Illinois gal. I was born in Chicago and grew up in the suburbs and enjoyed many Chicagoland things in my adolescence, like the Art Institute and Giordano’s pizza (the best, in my humble opinion) and Wrigley Field and Soldier Field and Green River pop and Six Flags Great America and Tastee Freez and a bazillion other places and foods, not the least of which was the Chicago-style hot dog.
If you’ve never tried a Chicago-style hot dog, then you haven’t lived. Just kidding. But seriously — they’re amazing. And they all have the same formula: A Vienna beef hot dog on a poppyseed bun “dragged through the garden” with yellow mustard, neon green relish, chopped white onions, two tomato wedges, a dill pickle spear, two sport peppers and a few dashes of celery salt. Ketchup is like saying Voldemort. Don’t even go there.
I’d say a good 30 percent of my childhood was sustained on eating these hot dogs. And even though I now live in the Twin Cities where there is so much delicious food to devour, I still crave a Chicago-style dog every now and then — especially in the summer. So it’s a good thing I can make them from scratch at home (or we might have a serious hangry situation going on here).
My version isn’t fully authentic, but it’s just as scrumptious. I made some homemade poppyseed hot dog buns that are crazy-simple to make, then filled them with grass-fed beef hot dogs and topped them with mustard, relish (the non-neon kind), onions, tomatoes, a pickle spear, sport peppers and celery salt. And then I ate one in two minutes flat. I wish I was joking about that part.
If you’ve never tried a Chicago-style hot dog before and don’t have access to the authentic version from the Windy City itself, this is a great alternative. It’s also a good way to make someone’s day because, hot dogs.
Homemade Chicago-Style Hot Dogs
Hot dog bun recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour
Yields: 10 hot dog buns
For the buns —
3 cups unbleached bread or all-purpose flour
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 cup warm water
1 egg, yolk and white separated
2 teaspoons cold water
Poppy seeds, for topping
For the hot dogs —
Chopped white onion
Dill pickle spears
In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer, combine flour, oil, yeast, sugar, salt, water and egg yolk until a dough forms. Knead by hand on a lightly floured surface 10 minutes until smooth and elastic OR knead in stand mixer with dough hook attachment on medium speed 5 minutes until smooth and elastic.
Shape dough into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place 1 1/2 to 2 hours until doubled.
When dough is doubled, punch it down and divide it into 10 pieces. Roll each piece into a 3-inch log. For each piece, flatten the dough with your palm, then fold over lengthwise, pinching the seam to seal. Flatten again and fold over lengthwise, pinching the seam to seal. Gently shape the dough into a 6-inch long oval and place it seam-side down on a lightly greased or parchment paper/silicone mat-lined baking sheet. Flatten again lightly.
Repeat with remaining pieces of dough, placing them about an inch apart on the baking sheet(s). Cover with lightly greased plastic wrap and let rise 1 hour until puffy but not doubled.
Meanwhile, heat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix together egg white and 2 teaspoons water in a small bowl, then brush the tops of the buns with the egg wash. Sprinkle liberally with poppy seeds. Bake buns 18 to 20 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven; cool completely on a cooling rack before slicing.
To assemble hot dogs: Cut hot dog buns halfway open lengthwise, then add a hot dog. Top hot dog with yellow mustard, relish, chopped onion, tomato wedges, a dill pickle spear, sport peppers and a dash or two of celery salt. Serve with Jay’s potato chips, if you want to be extra Chicagoan.