Doesn't anyone eat Hot Dogs in Chicago...O'Hare?

{Moderators, I’m not certain if this belongs in Cafe Society or MPSIMS. Please relocate as appropriate.}

So I’m at Chicago O’Hare Airport (Airport Code ORD, the origin of which I just learned from Uncle Cecil here ) and my layover flight doesn’t depart in an hour. I’m hungry, and I want a hot dog. Not just any hot dog, mind you. I want the renown Chicago-Style Hot Dog.

So I figure, since I’m at the home of the Straight Dope (it is in Chicago, right?), how difficult could it be to find such a world-famous food? I’m at Terminal B (United Airlines), and I saw all the major food vendors represented–McDonald’s, Quizzno’s, Eli’s Cheesecake. Surely there must be a place that sells hot dogs…

Well, fifteen minutes of walking the terminal from end to end, I finally found it. The Arists & Writers Snack Bar, by Gate B4, sells a Chicago-style hot dog for $3.75. Now, I’ve never had a Chicago dog before, so I racked my brains trying to remember what Dopers had to say. In the end, I just ate it the way it was given to me: no ketchup, no mustard, no anything.

It was weird, seeing a whole pickle in the bun. And is that a slice of tomato? And what are these little green squares–are they little pickle pieces? (They’re not as sharp as bell peppers and they don’t look like onions.) The dog itself tasted like a large version of one of those canned Vienna Sausages (by the way, there’s a “Vienna” sign–a red V next to a hot dog with a two-prong grill fork through it)–hanging above the counter).

Like I said, I was hungry. And the hot dog was good. So tell me, Dear Dopers, did the FDA just issue a recall on these things? Because it was kinda tricky to find what I thought was the State Food.

Feel free to fight my ignorance. Thanks.

I managed to get a Chicago Hot Dog in O’Hare on a stop over several years ago, which was sold out of one of those wheeled hot dog stands.
There really should be a good hot dog and Chicago Piza place in O’Hares. It would save ever having to visit Chicago itself :wink:

I never thought about looking for a hot dog in O’Hare, but in case you want to in the future, here are the basic toppings:

pickle relish
raw onions
tomato slices
sport peppers (kind of like small jalapenos)
dill pickle slice

Personally, I like to take the pickle slice & tomato slices off and eat them separately…I think they kind of overwhelm the taste of the hot dog. I also take the sport peppers off, but squeeze a little of their juice on there, to give it a little kick.

A lot of places also put celery salt on the dog. Tasty.

I got one a few years back - I think it might have been closer to the American terminal. The ship (not a stand) was a bit out of the way. Not all that exciting, but what do you expect from an airport?

I agree that a decent pizza place would be very nice.

The relish has to be that neon green stuff to be a true Chicago dog, I’ve learned. And my wife, a Chicago native, says it must be a Vienna dog (which they sell at the Target snack bar, much to her delight.) And celery salt is not an option; it’s mandatory. That’s what threw me off at first. Salt on a hot dog? But hey, it works!

There’s a Cheesesteak place in the Philly airport and while it’s better than any chain, and better than most restaurants in Florida, it still can’t compete to the greasy hole-in-the-walls that usually serve them. (But I get them anyway since like I said it’s better than anything in Fl.)

Where can you buy that pickle relish? Except on Chicago hot dogs I’ve never seen it that shade of green.

I’d never seen it in a store until Vienna Beef came out with their own line of condiments. You can buy a condiment pack on their website, which includes it, plus the mustard, sport peppers, and celery salt you need to make the dog authentic!

Yes, on the celery salt. And poppy seed bun!

However, there are actually two different standard hot dogs in Chicago, the dragged-through-the-garden version, as described above, and a stripped-down version (which I prefer) which is topped with mustard, relish (usually not the neon green stuff), onions, celery salt, and optional sport peppers.

The key to a good Chicago dog is the dog itself. It should be an all-beef, natural casing dog, steamed (although a char dog is acceptable, too) to the point where it’s cooked but still retains its natural casing snap. It should not be cooked to the point where it’s sort of meat mush. There has to be texture.

Vienna Beef is the usual choice, although Chicago Red Hots makes perhaps a better spiced dog.

And whatever you do, absolutely no ketchup.

And if you are trying to replicate at home, be sure to steam the bun! I use my stock pot with a vegetable steamer basket…I put the hot dogs in the basket and steam them until they are hot. At the end, I put the buns in there, too, until they get soft & warm.

This is basically what I prefer, too! But if it comes with the pickle spear and tomato, they are easy enough to take off.

I agree that celery salt is not optional for the true Chicago-style flavor, but I find that there are a lot of places that don’t use it.

Had you only flown into Midway, you could have sampled the joy that is Superdawg .

There’s a Superdawg at Midway now?!?!

I’m pretty sure it’s in the B terminal. For whatever reason, the fries aren’t quite as good as the original location, but the dog (dawg?) itself is just as good.
I’m hungry now…

Bleagh, I hate Chicago hot dogs. If I’m forced to have a hog dog (I much prefer Polish Sausage) give me one with just mustard, mayo and raw onions. But then, I wasn’t born here. Maybe you have to be born here to like all that extra junk (peppers? celery salt?) kinda like you generally have to be born Australian to like Vegemite.

Mayo? What in the fuck?..

I should add that poppy seed buns are not a requirement for me… In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever had the stripped-down Chicago hot dog in a poppy seed bun. They always come in plain buns.

Celery salt, though, truly is that little extra that makes the hot dog sing. What really annoys the crap out of me this days is that I find it increasingly necessary to say “no ketchup” on an everything-on-it dog. This really pisses me off. I hate requesting it, because in most places, the hot dog vendor will look at you as if you just said “Hot dog, everything, no chocolate syrup,” because that’s how foreign ketchup is on a Chicago dog. But I’ve had a couple instances, including one in the Loop, where an everything-on-it-dog came with ketchup. Do people have no sense of tradition?

Awright, Puly, you hold 'im, I’ll work his kidneys and abdomen till he apologizes.