Take Me Out to the Ballgame

[Before we talk wieners, let me first say thank you to those of you who read and commented on the previous post. It means a whole heck of a lot.]

I used to collect baseball cards. In fact, I had so many baseball cards that I needed a special “baseball card binder” to keep them in. In middle school, one of my favorite excursions was a trip to Atlanta, Georgia to watch the Braves play; John Smotlz was super-hot, and I dreamed nightly of autographed baseballs and season tickets. Sadly, I settled on going to one game, and before too long the shine had worn off, so to speak.

Apparently, when living in Chicago, being a mediocre baseball fan is unacceptable, or at least frowned upon.

But even though I’ve been in Chicago for 6 years, only 1 member of the Wetzel household has taken a true liking to baseball. And now, at the end of April, baseball season is well underway. That means exactly two things in this house: Hubs gets excited over the Cubs and their dubbing this season as “Year 1“, and I get excited about having an excuse to eat a Chicago Dog and a hat full of nachos. The way I see it, at least I’m excited about something, right?!

We introduced my friend, Katie, and my new friend, Jody, to the Chicago Dog on the Cubs’ opening day game in Chicago a couple of weeks ago (which, I might add, was a good game!). Given Katie’s pure hatred of all things mustard, she certainly didn’t experience a “true” Chicago dog, but I was also scolded as a result of my putting ketchup on my dog, a huge “no-no”, but since the stand was tomato-less, I thought it’d be a good sub for tomato flavor. Wrong answer; the right answer, you ask? Waiting for them to refill the tomatoes.

As it turns out, there is only one correct way, for the most part, to eat a Chicago dog. And last Friday (Hot Dog Night), we did it up, and we did it up right.

In addition to the perfect Chicago dog, I also found a recipe for Mexican hot dogs thanks to one of my favorite blogs, Homesick Texan. Which one is best, you ask? Oh, I don’t know. Once I finally began liking mustard (similar to the tomato issue – baby steps!), the Chicago dog really found its way into my heart, and since I now consider myself a Chicagoan (and yes, also a Southerner; it is possible to be both, I’ve decided), I do feel some loyalty to this delicacy. However, the Mexican dog was outta this world too. Despite the strangeness of putting mayo on a ‘dog, the fact that it was also wrapped in bacon was enough for me to throw caution to the wind, and I’m glad I did.

You could certainly make one or the other, if in fact you’ve become somewhat enamoured with the ‘dog, as I was last week. But I’m curious to know which one’s your favorite, if you do indeed make both, or even if you don’t and have an opinion already.

Bacon, chipotle mayo, jalapeno peppers, and if you’re gutsy – some pineapple salsa? Or tomatoes, onions, celery salt, and mustard, and if you’re gutsy – a handful of sport peppers? Unlike last week’s Cubs games, it may just be too close to call…

The Chicago Dog
Adapted from allrecipes.com; makes 8

If you want the most authentic Chicago Dog possible, you’d steam the buns and ‘dogs. I like to grill the ‘dogs to get a good char, and I know that’s not “how it’s done here in Chicago”. but this is my adaptation.

printable version

8 all beef hot dogs
8 poppyseed hot dog buns
yellow mustard
sweet (neon) green pickle relish
onion, small dice, from about 1 small onion
tomato wedges, from about 2 Roma tomatoes
8 dill pickle spears
sport peppers
celery salt (1 part celery seed, 1 part kosher salt)

grill hot dogs to obtain good outer char.

place hot dog in bun. per allrecipes.com, pile on the toppings in this order: yellow mustard, sweet green pickle relish, onion, tomato wedges, pickle spear, sport peppers, and celery salt. The tomatoes should be nestled between the hot dog and the top of the bun. Place the pickle between the hot dog and the bottom of the bun. Don’t even think about ketchup!!

Mexican Hot Dogs with Chipotle Mayo and Pineapple Salsa
Adapted, barely, from Homesick Texan; makes 8

printable version

8 all beef hot dogs
8 hot dog buns
8 slices of bacon
1 cup of refried beans, warmed
chipotle mayonnaise (recipe below)
pineapple salsa (recipe below)
pickled jalapeno slices
avocado, cut into wedges

wrap a piece of bacon around each hot dog. grill bacon-wrapped dog until bacon is crisp.

spoon beans and avocado into each bun. place bacon-wrapped hot dog in bun and then top with condiments.

Eggless  Chipotle Mayonnaise (David Leite’s recipe)

1/3 c whole milk
1 t of lime juice
1 clove of garlic, chopped
2 whole chipotle chiles from a can of chipotles en adobo
3/4 c of canola oil
Pinch of salt

in a blender, mix together the milk, lime juice, garlic and chipotle chile for 30 seconds or until well blended. with the blender on high, slowly drizzle in the oil a tablespoon at a time. The mixture should begin to thicken. Continue adding oil until it’s thick. Salt to taste. Will keep for five days in the refrigerator.

Pineapple Salsa

ingredients (use to taste)
pineapple, peeled and cored and small-diced
1 jalapeño chile, small-diced
red onion, small-diced
chopped cilantro
lime juice
salt and black pepper to taste

mix all ingredients together.

8 thoughts on “Take Me Out to the Ballgame

  1. Katie T says:

    Thanks for the shout-out Heather! Although I didn’t experience a TRUE Chicago dog, I enjoyed it all the same… and I WILL be trying that Mexican dog, b/c anything Mexican has to be good. We had a great time, and thanks again! 🙂

  2. Hot Dogs are one of my favorite parts of summer in the city…but of course I cannot visit my favorite ‘Dog stand any longer because of the gluten thing (Which is The Weiner & Still Champion in Evanston, BTW).

    So, we make ’em at home…from the very best weiners – the Garlic Beef Hot Dogs from Romanian Kosher on Clark in Rogers Park…you MUST try them. Especially with the onion rolls they sell there (though I skip those now, too – *sob*).

    And, my favorite mustard is the local “Mustard Girl” – sweet & spicy is my fave for ‘dogs, but I love all their mustards, and their dijon can’t be beat for salad dressings.

    Okay, now I really need to fire up the grill this weekend – thanks for the inspiration!

  3. Make sure you use some steamed S. Rosen’s Mary Ann poppy seed buns to make it truly authentic, since not all buns are created equall. Oh BTW GO SOX!!!

    Another great version is Maxwell Street hot dogs, with musta-onion. mmmh

  4. Laura Young says:

    I just wanted to let you know of the most amazing Chicago dog that you must try that I had in downtown Chicago. It is similar to what you have here. They used spicy mustard instead of regular. They replaced the dill spear with cucumber slices. They added celery salt. It is wonderful and everyone I introduce it to loves it too. I have even had people who hate hotdogs love this version. It is the very best.

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