Growing up in the Hermosa neighborhood of Chicago, I just got to know them as hot dogs. As a kid, you start out getting hot dogs with just ketchup on them. You don’t know their true history. You just know there is something about your favorite hot dog joint that makes you long for the savory dogs.
I remember having two or three different hot dog joints within walking distance of my house. In Chicago there are hot dog stands built into apartment buildings and there are free standing stands made out of garages, sheds, and homemade shacks. The best where the small shacks that usually occupied the smallest corner of a gas station parking lot.
I was desperate to escape Chicago and move away, not really knowing how much I’d miss a good hot dog loaded with mustard, relish, onion, tomato wedges, sport peppers, a pickle spear, and doused lightly with celery salt. A dog run through the garden as they say.
There are variations down here, but none that compare to a boiled first, then steamed all beef hot dog run through the garden on a steamed bun. I’ll admit that I only have the sport peppers put on for a touch of flavor, but I do not eat them (the peppers! I’ll eat the hell out of a good Chicago Style Hot Dog).
I miss them greatly, and also miss a really fast meal when I, or the family, am in a hurry. Having several hot dog stands within walking distance made me an impatient man when my hunger needs satisfied. So I decided to do something about it.