That is what my husband said after eating his dinner in near silence (a few moans, groans, and occassional mumbles leaked out). Man, it was heavenly. When he suggested "hot dogs!" for dinner, I don't think he was imagining these beauties. I was in the mood to cook, and I knew we were out of buns, so I looked around for something to put the dogs in. While researching online, I came across information on traditional Chicago-style hot dogs, and I knew we had to give them a try.
Since we were not going to be able to find particularly good poppy seed buns in Bloomington, I decided that the buns would be where I would work my magic (it usually is.....bu-dum-ching!). Although I swore off baking yeast breads just a week and a half ago after a disasterous pretzel-dog incident, I thought I would give it one last go. This time, I would not substitute whole wheat flour for white flour - and I would not buy the Hodgson Mill yeast that did not rise last time (even though it is specifically made for whole wheat doughs). The result was beautiful! The dough was great - it behaved just as it should have - it was not sticky, did not require a lot of flour while I was working with it, could be kneaded in my mixer, and produced really great tasting, tender results. It was definitely worth the minimal effort. I got the recipe at the King Arthur Flour website, which I will be using in the future - they have an enormous recipe collection!
OK - so on to the dogs. Chicago-style dogs are Vienna beef franks in natural casings, which obviously doesn't fly in my household. We LOVE Quorn dogs, which Chris tried with this, and loved (all Quorn products are made from a fungi-derived protein, and the products are fantastic - I cannot say enough about them). I tried a Boca Bratwurst on mine, which was delicious, of course. When I discovered the joy of soy sausage (which I have coined "soysage") my life changed, what can I say? Either way, it's great - the dogs leave more room for you to pile on the toppings, while the brats add their own spicy flavor to the mix. The two links that we used contain egg whites and are not vegan, but there are obviously vegan options out there. The discovery that my favorite soysages contain egg whites is one of the reasons that I know I can't go all the way vegan anytime soon.
After you have your dog tucked into a warm, soft poppyseed roll, ready to be stuffed, get your assembly line ready. From what I have read, the traditional Chicago-style dog needs to be "dragged through the garden" of 7 toppings, added to the dog in this very particular order:
1. Yellow Mustard (I had brown on hand, which worked great for me)
2. Sweet Pickle Relish
3. Chopped White Onions
4. 1 Kosher Dill Pickle Spear
5. Fresh Tomato Slices (I found that romas were a great size for this)
6. 2 Serrano Sport Peppers (a little too hot for me, so I opted for hot banana peppers instead)
7. Celery Salt sprinkled on top
8. Crack open an ice cold Miller Lite tallboy, spoon some beans and slaw onto that plate, and enjoy your food-gasm :)