“Wheel of Fortune” star Pat Sajak, a Chicago native through and through, once explained the formula to his perfect Chicago Dog.
Anyone who has ever visited Chicago has likely encountered a hot dog stand. If they were feeling hungry and decided to stop by one for lunch, they would have noticed a distinct lack of ketchup. One does not simply put the tomato-based condiment on a dog in Chicago. Try to do so at your own risk.
Instead, Chi-town boasts its own unique style of frankfurter adornment. The basis of any Chicago-style dog is always the same. You’ve got your all-beef wiener, your chopped onions, a pickle spear, some tomato slices, a few peppers, mustard, and a dash of celery salt, all nestled in a poppy-seed bun.
From that basis, small modifications can be made for preference. Ketchup, however, never factors into the equation.
In an interview with the Chicago Reader, Sajak listed the ingredients to his preferred version.
It all starts with a Vienna Beef dog (the standard-bearer for most Chicago-style hot dogs). With that, a poppy-seed bun, steamed (apparently the steaming is a crucial step in the operation,) yellow mustard, onions, “tiny little peppers,” celery salt, and for Sajak, the vegetable slices are all optional additions.
There you have it. A hot dog fit for the iconic host of “Wheel of Fortune” himself. And yes, it is an extreme number of ingredients. It’s no wonder that the local term for the style is “dragged through the garden.”
All of that being said, the Chicago-style dog has its reputation for a reason. It’s tasty. If you ever find yourself in the Windy City, go for it. Pat Sajak would be proud.
The ‘Wheel of Fortune’ Host Splits Chicago Baseball Fandom
Another aspect unique to Chicago is the storied legacy of its sports teams. There’s hardly a person in America who has never heard of the Chicago Cubs or Wrigley Field. Established in the 1870s, the Cubs are one of the oldest baseball institutions in history.
A few decades later, however, a team from Sioux City moved in. The White Sox had arrived. Since 1900, Chicagoans have found themselves divided by the baseball rivalry. But for “Wheel of Fortune” legend Pat Sajak, that’s a bunch of nonsense.
“I’m a fan of both teams. I’ve never understood why I had to hate one or the other,” he said in the 2008 interview with the Chicago Reader. “I grew up close enough to Comiskey that I could hear the fireworks after games, but I watched the Cubs on TV. And back when Bill Veeck was with the White Sox I used to go to the Sunday double-headers for $1.50.”