Wednesday, July 18th is National Hot Dog Day and there’s no question the Chicagoland area is closely affiliated with the food. From being the headquarters of Vienna Beef to housing the Chicago Dogs (as in hot dogs) minor league baseball team, the Second City knows their red hots. Heck, Mistwood Golf Club just set a new World Record for “Longest Line of Cooked Hot Dogs.”
For those in need of a reminder, a Chicago style hot dog is topped with yellow mustard, chopped onions, celery salt, bright green relish, tomato slices, sport peppers, and a dill pickle spear. You’ll note the lack of ketchup in that listing. As any Chicagoian worth their celery salt knows, you’re not supposed to put ketchup on your hot dog. But why is this? For this and other questions, Laura Hooten, the General Manager of Pop’s Italian Beef & Sausage in Romeoville weighed in.
“It’s just tradition,” says Hooten when referencing the no ketchup rule. “It’s OK for kids, we don’t say anything about that, but for adults, you don’t do it.” While she personally prefers a Chicago style dog (minus the celery salt), she’s seen her share of strange toppings. “The two odd ones I’ve seen are mayonnaise and BBQ sauce.” Aside from eating the traditional hot dog on the bun, what other ways are acceptable to eat a dog? “Mixing it with baked beans is a good way. Also wrapping the hot dog in bacon.”
So there you have it. Insights from an industry professional who works with hot dogs every day. If you can’t trust her, who can you trust? Pop’s (277 S. Weber Road) will be offering a special to celebrate the day: a hot dog and fries for $1.99. Be sure to stop into Pop’s or your favorite Romeoville hot dog vendor and have a great National Hot Dog Day!