Chicago hot dogs

Not much in this world is perfect.

The Chicago hot dog is perfect.

Boiled or steamed, not grilled, it lies regally in a lightly steamed poppy-seed bun and is annointed with:
  • Diced onion
  • Tomato wedges
  • Pickle relish the color of Kryptonite
  • Yellow mustard
  • A few sport peppers
  • A dill pickle spear
  • A shake of celery salt
There's your classic Chicago style dog, a perfect teaming of tastes and colors and textures. Also there's a bonus, the "snap" as your teeth sink through the casing -- like Chicagoans themselves, a little resistant at first, and then so welcoming.

We don't have to mention, no ketchup! None! Ever! Do we?

Some readers nominated the genre; others, specific local shrines -- Fluky's, Murphy's, Byron's, Gene & Jude's, Superdawg, The Wieners Circle, etc. -- though with about 1,800 local hot dog stands insuring that you're never more that about a half mile from heaven, a pilgrimage isn't necessary.

So far this year, there have been 231mentions of "hot dog" in the pages of the Chicago Tribune. We've reported that Vienna Beef Company Co. -- dating back to two Austro-Hungarian immigrants selling franks at the 1893 World's Fair -- signed a deal with Target to sell Chicago-style dogs in 1,350 Target food courts nationally, a blessing for America.

We reported that executives from Vienna (the one on Damen, not the one on the Danube) joined with executives from the company that bakes S. Rosen's buns to put right an age-old inequity. For generations, dogs have come eight to a package while buns were packaged in dozens or half-dozens.

The companies agreed on an eight-pack standard. Justice is served.

A handful of "hot dog" stories this year were obituaries. The loved ones of departed Chicagoans who once owned or even just worked at hot dog stands wanted that connection to a Chicago icon mentioned in print.

The late Margaret Robertson, born here in 1927, retired with her policeman husband, Bob, and opened Margo's Chicago Style Hot Dog Stand first in Colorado Springs and, later, in Temple, Texas, missionaries of a sort, spreading the truth.