There is really no true substitute for having a “Chicago Style Hot Dog” anywhere else but the city which gave it the name. There are, of course, times, when it seems, you have to settle for the next best thing.
First of all, let’s define what makes a regular hot dog a Chicago Style Hot Dog. It consists of an all beef hot dog, bright green sweet pickle relish (not the stuff most of us find on the grocery shelf), plain yellow mustard, pickles, onions, tomato wedges, sport peppers, and, celery salt on a steamed poppy seed bun. I’m not expert enough to describe the correct order of assembly, but those are the basic ingredients.
Since most of us around the country don’t live in Chicago, or get to visit there all that often, we have to settle for the next best thing, at least with respect to a Chicago hot dog. And, the next best thing down here in Texas, while perhaps a little different than in Chicago, is a great Chicago style dog.
Dog Almighty, located on South Lamar in Austin, is the local Texas purveyor of Chicago style hot dogs. True to the Chicago original, it serves grilled beef hot dogs, with tomatoes, pickles, bright green relish, onions, plain yellow mustard, and celery salt. But, there are a few differences. The bun, rather than being steamed, is toasted, and there are no poppy seeds. And while I don’t miss the poppy seeds all that much, I rather enjoy the toasted bun. While toasted buns are not traditionally a part of Chicago style hot dogs, they are definitely a part of the history of the American hot dog.
If for some really strange reason you are not enamored with Chicago style hot dogs, you have plenty of other choices at Dog Almighty, including veggie and turkey dogs. There are a lot of locally created Texas hot dogs on the menu, and, if none of those suit you, you can order “The Slacker Dog.” If you order this hot dog, you can pretty much create the hot dog of your dreams. You start from scratch with the hot dog itself, and then add one or more of the many available ingredients and condiments Dog Almighty has to offer. I’ve never ordered a “Slacker,” because if I did, I would get it with exactly the same ingredients as the Chicago style hot dog, which, of course, would be pointless.
Eating Chicago style hot dogs on South Lamar in Austin may be a little different than eating one on West Ontario Street, West Grand Avenue, or one of the countless other locations in Chicago, but it’s the next best thing. And, in my opinion, the “Chicago Dog” at Dog Almighty, is an excellent choice for those of us living in and around the Texas Hill Country, who need to enjoy a little bit of Chicago from time to time.