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The Chicago Traveler

Hot Doug’s Hot Dog Contest

by Matt B on July 20th, 2008

chicago hot dogI've described it several times before, but it bears repeating. The Chicago-style hot dog has seven essential toppings: a boiled or steamed all-beef dog on a poppy-seed bun with (1) mustard, (2) relish, (3) chopped onions, (4) tomato wedges, (5) a pickle spear, (6) sport peppers, and (7) celery salt. I've seen a few varieties on this (including lettuce, sliced pickles, cucumbers, and/or green peppers) but the 'lucky seven' mentioned above are the components of a classic Chicago-style dog. And yes, the exclusion of ketchup is just as important as the ingredients that are included. Why? One could argue that the sweetness of the ketchup does not mingle well with the other toppings, but really, the ketchup ban is a legendary custom. It's akin to messing with someone's great-great-grandmother's classic apple pie recipe.

By now, I've covered quite a few places that offer some great hot dogs, both Chicago-style and otherwise. But even with all these options, many people were not yet satisfied, so they created their own ultimate dream hot dogs. Time-Out Chicago held a Create Your Own Hot Doug's Dog Contest and received dozens of suggestions on new meat-and-toppings recipes. The entries were sent to Doug Sohn, the owner of Hot Doug's, who chose four finalists. People are now invited to vote for their favorite, and the winner will have their dog featured on the restaurant's menu for a week.

Finalists include the 'Johnny Depp' (ladies want a menu item to counter the hot dogs named after attractive women), the 'New Chicago' (a dog that represents the new and future immigrant population), 'La Cosa Nostra' (for all you Italian-cuisine lovers), and the 'Dog's Breakfast' (who says you can't start the day with a hot dog?). For a detailed description of each and to vote for what you think is the tastiest, check out Time-Out Chicago. Voting ends on Thursday, July 24, and the winner will be announced on Friday, July 25.

Photo credit: (c/o Flickr) adactio

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POSTED IN: Hot Dogs, Restaurants

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