The Chicago Dog with a Twist

A few of us on staff are from the midwest and in particular, the Chicago area. Just coming back from a visit from Chicago and being summer, we are kind of on a Chicago dog kick back at home. Last week we decided to BBQ for friends and introduce them to this amazing tradition of having Chicago hotdogs in the summer. However, now that I have been living in California more years than Chicago, I added a little twist.

Now, I know how intense Chicagoans are about the specifics of their Chicago Dog, so don’t get upset that I took a little California twist to this dog. Had to slightly blend my two worlds. The twist… instead of using the traditional poppy seed hot dog bun, if at all possible, try this recipe with pretzel buns. I promise you, you won’t regret it. The pretzel bun is life changing. Especially try a pretzel bun on a juicy burger. OMG, delicious.

Ok, so now that we got over the bun, this one twist might upset you a bit more. At home, we take recipes and make them a little healthier for us, so we swapped out the all beef dog for a chicken sausage. We also decided to grill the dogs, instead of steam them to give them that summer BBQ, smokey flavor. Have to say, it is just as tasty, if not more. However, if you want to stay traditional, keep with an all beef dog, steamed and if you want to try the Cali-Chicago mix, test it out with an Italian chicken sausage.


The Chicago-Cali Dog


  • 4 Pretzel Buns (Or Poppyseed Buns, if keeping with tradition)
  • 4 Italian Chicken Sausages (Or all beef hot dogs, if keeping with tradition)
  • 1 Roma Tomato, sliced
  • 1 Large Dill Pickle, Sliced
  • 12 Sport Peppers, 3 per dog
  • 1/2 White Onion, Chopped
  • Yellow Mustard (or Cali it up more and add a stone mustard)
  • Relish, the greener the better
  • Celery Salt

Prep the ingredients: Slice open the Buns. Slice the tomato to where it would fit into the bun. Slice your pickle into spears. Chop your onion.

On the grill, cook your chicken sausage until it is slightly charred. Once it looks almost ready to take off the grill, add the pretzel buns and give them a light toast.

Creating the Chicago-Cali Dog: Place the chicken sausage in the pretzel bun. Then add on mustard and relish, chopped onions, 2 slices of tomato, 1 pickle spear, 3 sport peppers and top with a little sprinkle of celery salt and enjoy!

Hint: Pair with a refreshing light beer for the ultimate Chicago-Cali experience. In this case, a great white ale did the trick 🙂

Side note: Sport Peppers can be hard to find. Try looking at a traditional Italian Deli in the area or speciality shops. Every now and then they are at grocery stores and you can always find them by google search online as a last case scenario.

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