Born from hot dog vendors during the Great Depression, the “Chicago style” hotdog has been a mainstay of the Chicago community and hot dog aficionados, alike.

A “Chicago-style” hot dog or Chicago dog is a steamed or water-simmered all-beef hot dog on a poppy seed bun sans ketchup.  Original hot dog vendors advertised their hot dogs as having “a salad on top.”  The interplay of crisp and soft of Chicago-style dogs is created by yellow mustard, bright green relish, fresh chopped onions, juicy red tomato wedges, a kosher-style pickle spear, a couple of short peppers and a dash of celery salt.  

The “dragged through the garden” style preferred by hot dog enthusiasts is the same style promoted by Vienna Beef and Red Hot Chicago, Chicago’s two most prominent and historic hot dog manufacturers.  Popular Chicago-style hot dogs include Portillo’s, Superdawg, The Wieners Circle, and Fluky’s.

True Chicago-style hot dogs do not include ketchup and a number of Chicago hot dog vendors do not offer ketchup as a condiment.  But some variations of Chicago-style dogs include adding cucumber slices or lettuce, omitting poppy seeds or celery salt, or using plain relish or a skinless hot dog.  Even the historic Superdawg drive-ins substitute a pickled tomato with a fresh tomato slice, but never with ketchup, ensuring that the Chicago-style hot dog remains just that, Chicago-style.

Vienna Beef's website, and wikipedia provided the background information for this feature.