Classic Grilled Chicago Hot Dog

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How to cook a delicious Chicago hot dog, char dog style. Grilled beef hot dogs recipe with all the best toppings and poppy seed buns. Perfect for a crowd!

Grilled Chicago hot dog with dill pickle, tomato slices, mustard, pickle relish, white onion, and celery salt on baking sheet

If you’ve never had a Chicago style hot dog, trust me when I say, you need this recipe in your life. I’m not sure I’ll ever eat hot dogs any other way after this, that’s how delicious they truly are.

The Chicago dog is perfect for grilling season, especially if you’re entertaining a crowd. Set up a buffet with all your favorite toppings, and you’re set for a mouthwateringly good time.

We’d never actually eaten a char dog until I researched it and came up with this Chicago dog recipe. In fact, the toppings seemed a bit much at first.

But once you take your first bite, you’ll understand. It all comes together in a burst of flavor that packs a punch for the taste buds.

Need a side to go with your hot dogs? Grilled corn on the cob and Mexican corn pair really well with char dogs.

layered Chicago dog in poppy seed buns on baking sheet

WHERE CAN I FIND THE ACTUAL RECIPE CARD?

If you’d rather skip all of my grilling tips, important info for this recipe, and similar recipe ideas – and get straight to the actual recipe – just scroll down to the bottom, where you’ll find a printable recipe card.

WHAT IS A CHICAGO HOT DOG?

I learned a lot about what’s on a Chicago hot dog while researching for this recipe…

  • Real Chicago hot dogs are boiled or steamed; but when they are occasionally grilled, they’re called a char dog. They also go by the name Chicago Red Hot.
  • Chicago dogs are made with beef hot dogs.
  • They come in a poppy seed bun… I’m going to teach you how to easily and simply make your own (don’t worry, no kneading or baking necessary).
  • It would be considered a travesty to add ketchup to a Chicago dog. In fact, most Chicago hot dog vendors don’t even carry ketchup.
  • This hot dog is filled to the gills with delicious, crunchy toppings.

The only ingredient I maybe could’ve done without would’ve been the Dill pickle spears. Or maybe just trim my pickle spears to be a little less thick.

However, I kinda fell in love with hot dogs made the Chicago way. And it was such a beautiful evening on the back deck, I couldn’t help but enjoy every second with my guys.

boy eating a Chicago style hot dog

TIPS FOR HOW TO EASILY MAKE POPPY SEED BUNS

To make your own poppy seed buns, you just need a pack of brat buns or hoagie rolls.

  • Brush the tops and ends of the buns with butter.
  • Sprinkle on poppy seeds.
  • Place the buns on the grill or over the campfire until they start to get just slightly toasty. Then remove them from the heat and set aside.

And that’s pretty much it. Easy peasy poppy seed buns that make yummy hot dog buns.

TIPS FOR HOW TO MAKE A CHICAGO STYLE HOT DOG

Assembling your hot dog is really simple and easy. Of course, you’ll want to grill the hot dogs first and make sure they’re cooked all the way through.

hot dogs on the grill to make char dog recipe

Also, before you get started, prep the onion and tomatoes so they’re ready to go. Chop the onion; wash and slice the tomatoes.

NOW YOU CAN BUILD YOUR DOGS…

  1. Open up the buns. Place a dill pickle spear on one side and 2 to 3 tomato wedges on the other side. Then place the hot dog in the middle between the tomato slices and the pickle spear.
  2. Add a spoonful of pickle relish along the top of the hot dog on one side, and give a squirt of yellow mustard along the top of the hot dog on the other side.
steps for making Chicago hot dog recipe, including layers of pickle spear, tomato wedges, yellow mustard, and pickle relish

And for the finishing touch… Add pieces of pepperoncini (or sport peppers) and a small handful of chopped onion on top, and sprinkle with a dash of celery salt.

Chicago dog with toppings on baking sheet

And that, my friends, is all there is to creating a very yummy, delicious Chicago hot dog.

My guys pretty much chowed down on all of this deliciousness and washed it all down with a nice big mason jar full of iced tea.

Chicago style hot dog with toppings in hands

MORE GRILLING RECIPES YOU MAY ENJOY:

SHOP KITCHEN TOOLS FOR THIS RECIPE:

Chef Knife and Cutting Board

Pastry Brush

Charcoal Grill or Gas Grill

GET THE PRINTABLE CHICAGO HOT DOG RECIPE

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Classic grilled Chicago hot dog recipe

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5 from 4 votes
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Classic Grilled Chicago Hot Dog

How to cook a delicious Chicago hot dog, char dog style. Grilled beef hot dogs recipe with all the best toppings and poppy seed buns. Perfect for a crowd!

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword char dog, Chicago dog, Chicago dog recipe, Chicago hot dog, Chicago hot dog recipe, Chicago Red Hot, Chicago style hot dog
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 8 servings
Calories 439 kcal
Author Mel Lockcuff

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Chop the onion; wash and slice the tomatoes. Set aside.

  2. To make your own poppy seed buns, brush the tops and ends of the hoagie rolls with melted butter. Sprinkle poppy seeds on. Place on the grill or over the campfire until they start to get just slightly toasty, maybe 5 minutes. Then remove from the heat and set aside.

  3. Grill the hot dogs until they’re cooked through.

  4. Open up the buns. Place 2 to 3 tomato half slices on one side and a dill pickle spear on the other side.

  5. Place the hot dog in the middle between the tomato slices and the pickle spear.

  6. Add a spoonful of pickle relish along the top of the hot dog on one side.

  7. Then squirt yellow mustard along the top of the hot dog on the other side.

  8. Add pieces of pepperoncini and a small handful of chopped onion on top.

  9. Sprinkle with a dash of celery salt.

  10. Serve and enjoy!

Recipe Notes

*You can use hoagie rolls or brat buns.

Nutrition Facts
Classic Grilled Chicago Hot Dog
Amount Per Serving
Calories 439 Calories from Fat 207
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 23g 35%
Saturated Fat 9g 45%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 40mg 13%
Sodium 1683mg 70%
Potassium 304mg 9%
Total Carbohydrates 47g 16%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Sugars 9g
Protein 12g 24%
Vitamin A 11.7%
Vitamin C 17.1%
Calcium 12.3%
Iron 16.6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

11 thoughts on “Classic Grilled Chicago Hot Dog”

  1. Don’t even talk to me about Sam’s Club!!! Those slimy little slugs slither out of Alaska like the slugs they are, leaving us high and dry up here!
    Where else can I buy Those ballpark type beef hotdogs?

    • Oh no, I’m sorry, Cindy! That stinks. Well, you can definitely find them at Walmart. I’ve seen them at other grocery stores too. And if you can’t find them, any all beef hot dog will do.


  2. I can’t believe I’ve been eating hot dogs the wrong way this entire time! I’m only eating them the Chicago-way from now on, thanks for sharing!


  3. In Chicago with all the toppings, we call it dragging the dog “through the garden” – what a great way to eat a dog!!!!!

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