A Chicago-esque Gourmet Hot Dog Recipe: “The City of New Orleans”

With the Fourth of July holiday upon us, I decided I wanted to do something seasonal yet interesting to celebrate. I’d been craving a Chicago-style hot dog for quite a while so I decided that a gourmet hot dog recipe would be the way to go. Since it’s fairly difficult to make a 100% authentic Chicago-style hot dog outside of the Chicago area, I decided to put a New Orleans spin on this veggie-laden classic.

"The City of New Orleans" - a Chicago-esque Gourmet Hot Dog Recipe

Interestingly, I visited Chicago for the first time a couple of weeks ago. Granted, it was only to pass through their airport on our way to and from Jeremy’s brother’s wedding in Indiana, but I still count it because we spent a total of seven hours there. While I didn’t have a Chicago-style dog there, I saw some of the famed poppy seed buns being delivered to the bar where we were imbibing, and that really cemented my desire to have what I’ll call a “Chicago-esque” hot dog here for you this week.

"The City of New Orleans" - a Chicago-esque Gourmet Hot Dog Recipe

Chicago and New Orleans actually have a few pretty significant connections. Besides the organized crime and bootlegging during Prohibition, we have jazz connection going on, and we also have a train line that connects the two cities. “The City of New Orleans” is the name of the train that runs the route, and it was made famous when Arlo Gunthrie recorded and released a song by the same name back in 1972. It’s a great song that I grew up knowing and loving. The beloved train is how this particular hot dog got its name. (Kudos to Jeremy for making the connection for me.)

Okay, let’s cover what an authentic Chicago-style hot dog is, and then we’ll talk about the tasty adjustments I made to make it New Orleans-style. A true Chicago-style hot dog includes the following: a natural casing all beef hot dog, bright green sweet pickle relish, yellow mustard, tomato slices, a pickle spear, pickled sport peppers, chopped white onion and celery salt all served on a poppy seed hot dog bun. To “New Orleans it up,” I made several changes. The first is that I replaced the regular yellow mustard with Creole mustard. Secondly, I replaced the pickled sport peppers with pickled okra. I also used Creole tomatoes and Vidalia onions to give it more of a Southern flare. Finally, I nixed that awful looking relish in favor of making my own. I stayed true to the original concept while making strategic adjustments. I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out.

"The City of New Orleans" - a Chicago-esque Gourmet Hot Dog Recipe

Also, I figured out during my research that pickle relish is actually pretty easy to make. I came across Jeff Mauro’s Chicago inspired hot dog recipe and saw how he did it. I took a cue from there and just combined chopped pickles, peppadew peppers and a little raw sugar. After it sits for a while, voilà – relish! Much cheaper than buying already packaged relish and also, it’s a great way to control the amount of sugar you use. Always a plus!

"The City of New Orleans" - a Chicago-esque Gourmet Hot Dog Recipe

My favorite thing about this particular hot dog is the sheer number of vegetables on it. Up in Chicago, it’s called “dragged through the garden” since it contains so many vegetables. Dare I say this is a “healthy” version of a hot dog? Sure, the sodium is through the roof with all of the pickled things added, but there’s no mayo, no chili, no sour cream, and no cheese. I guess it’s “lower in fat” than other hot dog versions. But hey, I don’t really get into all that stuff because I ascribe to this philosophy: all things in moderation, even moderation. I totally indulge in a hot dog every now and then. Granted, it’s an organic hot dog from Whole Foods. But it’s a tasty hot dog, nonetheless.

So this is my Fourth of July offering for you this year. While I cooked my hot dogs on the stove, they’d totally taste great on the grill. Try this with your family’s celebrations this holiday weekend along with some potato salad, baked beans and a warm apple pie. It’s hard to get more American than that, eh? 🙂

"The City of New Orleans" - a Chicago-esque Gourmet Hot Dog Recipe

What about you? What’s your favorite hot dog style? Also, are you planning on serving a gourmet-style hot dog at your Fourth of July celebration this year? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear what you’re having, hot dogs or not.

Yield: 2 servings

"The City of New Orleans" - a Chicago-esque Gourmet Hot Dog Recipe

This gourmet hot dog recipe is reminiscent of a Chicago-style hot dog but has a distinctive New Orleans flare.

Ingredients:

Homemade Pickle Relish:

For the Hot Dogs:  

  • 4 all-beef, natural casing hot dogs
  • 4 hot dog buns
  • Creole mustard, to taste
  • Homemade pickle relish, to taste
  • 1/4 cup minced onion (preferably Vidalia)
  • 1 small tomato (preferably Creole), cut in half then cut into 8 slices
  • 4 sweet sweet and sour pickle spears
  • 4 pickled okra pods, cut in half length-wise
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon poppy seeds

Method:

Homemade Pickle Relish:

  • Combine all ingredients in the relish section. Mix well to combine.
  • Refrigerate until ready to dress the hot dogs.

For the Hot Dogs:  

  • Prepare hot dogs according to package directions or as desired.
  • Next, lightly toast the hot dog buns in a toaster oven or under a broiler.
  • Once the hot dogs and buns are ready, proceed to dress the hot dog:
    • Add the Creole mustard first, smearing it on the buns. Use as much as you want.
    • Divide the relish four ways, then sprinkle onto the hot dog.
    • Repeat with the minced onion - divide four ways and sprinkle on top of the relish.
    • Place two slices of tomato on each hot dog bun.
    • Next add a pickle spear to each hot dog bun, preferably placing it between the tomatoes and the hot dog.
    • Add the halved pickled okra pods to each hot dog bun, preferably on the opposite side of the dog than the tomato and pickle spear.
    • Finish each hot dog off with a little celery salt and poppy seeds.
  • Devour and enjoy!

Prep:15 min

Cook:10 min

Total:25 min

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