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posted August 19, 2019

Chicago Hot Dog

This Chicago Hot Dog is a classic dog piled high with toppings and packing some big flavor. We’re cooking this hot dog char-dog style by charcoal grilling, then topping it with classic Chicago-style ingredients for a tasty hot dog you won’t forget.

chicago style hot dogs on a plate.

Chicago Style Hot Dog

For this recipe, we’re making this Chicago hot dog “char-style.” We’re cooking these on a charcoal grill, because at Hey Grill Hey we grill things (obviously). Traditional Chicago hot dogs are steamed or cooked in hot water. But don’t worry, char-style hot dogs are still acceptable (and a must when you’re a grilling fiend like we are).

I’ll happily take a Chicago style hot dog any way, but cooking them on a charcoal grill tastes extra delicious. That extra layer of charcoal grill flavor makes an already awesome hot dog even better.

Hot dogs cooking on a charcoal grill.

What is a Chicago Hot Dog?

A Chicago hot dog (AKA Chicago-style hot dogs or Chicago Red dogs) originated in Chicago, Illinois (shocking, I know!). These dogs begin with an all-beef dog that is traditionally steamed, cooked in water, or grilled over charcoal. Chicago is known for its hot dogs. In fact, Chicago has hot dog stands throughout the city serving up these traditional style hot dogs and more.

Chicago hot dogs are piled high with toppings, and the traditional ones are listed below. However, some vendors mix things up and include other veggies on the dogs. One thing is true about these: it’s all about the vegetables.

Also, if you’re staying pure and true to the Chicago hot dog, ketchup is simply unacceptable. Mustard is the way to go on these dogs, and many stands in Chicago will not even serve ketchup as a condiment option. When making these, I say go the traditional route and leave the ketchup in the refrigerator. These dogs taste totally amazing, and ketchup is not needed.

hot dogs and sport peppers on a plate.

Chicago Hot Dog Ingredients

First up, begin with the basics:

  • All-beef hot dog
  • Poppy seed bun

Next up, we load up on the toppings. Chicago style hot dogs are often referred to as being “dragged through the garden” because the toppings on these dogs are ridiculous. Honestly, with 4 veggies, relish, mustard, and celery salt, they’re not missing too much. I’m also a big fan of using fresh vegetables on my Chicago hot dogs, so you can believe my Chicago dogs come with vine ripe tomatoes right from my garden.

  • Minced white onion
  • Tomato slices or wedges
  • Dill pickle spear
  • Pickled sport peppers
  • Neon green sweet pickle relish
  • Yellow mustard – NO KETCHUP!
  • Celery salt

If you’re a Chicago dog purist, you might need to special order some poppy seed buns and pickled sport peppers, as they are not always in good supply at your local grocer. When I don’t have either of these on hand, I say fake it till you make it, baby. In a pinch, go ahead and use some pepperoncinis or pickled jalapeno on your Chicago dogs (I won’t judge).

More Hot Dog Recipes

Feeling like a good ol’ tube steak is perfect for your backyard BBQ? I’ve got a variety of hot dog recipes to satsify your hot diggity dog palate:

Hot Dog Burnt Ends
5 Epic Stuffed Hot Dogs

Chicago Hot Dog Recipe

Follow the recipe below and let’s make something delicious! I’m all about helping you make better BBQ, feed the people you love, and become a BBQ hero. If you want to see more of my recipes, tips, and behind the scenes action, follow along on my social channels. You can find me on InstagramFacebook, and YouTube!

Chicago Hot Dog

Susie Bulloch (
This Chicago Hot Dog is a classic dog piled high with toppings and packing some big flavor. We’re cooking this hot dog char-dog style by charcoal grilling, then topping it with classic Chicago-style ingredients for a tasty hot dog you won’t forget.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time : 10 mins
Cook Time : 7 mins
Total Time : 17 mins
Servings : 8
Calories : 2345kcal


  • 8 all-beef hot dogs
  • 8 poppy seed buns
  • 8 dill pickle spears
  • 8 sport peppers
  • 2 tomatoes (sliced)
  • ¼ cup sweet pickle relish
  • ¼ cup white onion (diced)
  • 2 Tablespoons yellow mustard


  • Preheat your charcoal grill over medium-high heat (450 degrees F).
  • While the grill is preheating, prepare all your toppings so they are ready to go when your hot dogs come off the grill.
  • Place your hot dogs directly on the grill. Grill, rotating frequently for 5-7 minutes or until the hot dogs are heating through and you have nice grill marks on the outside.
  • Traditional style dogs are served with a steamed poppy seed bun, so if you like, you can grill your bun for 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  • Remove hot dogs from the grill and place them in the bun. Top with mustard, relish, sliced tomatoes, chopped white onions, and sprinkle the top with celery salt. Serve with sport peppers on the side.


Calories: 2345kcal | Carbohydrates: 229g | Protein: 82g | Fat: 124g | Saturated Fat: 48g | Cholesterol: 202mg | Sodium: 10791mg | Potassium: 2061mg | Fiber: 18g | Sugar: 61g | Vitamin A: 3747IU | Vitamin C: 45mg | Calcium: 885mg | Iron: 20mg
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