Monday, May 20, 2013

More Pork in Chicago - Hot Doug's

"You're going to Chicago? You HAVE to try Hot Doug's."

I heard that from numerous friends when I mentioned my wife and I were traveling to to the Cochon 555 event in Chicago last month. Then we got there and heard the same thing from friends who live there. And I'm not someone who needs a lot of arm twisting to visit a place billing itself as "the sausage superstore."

We got the right after the place opened at 10:30 a.m., still nursing our severe Cochon-induced hangovers, since we had been warned about how quickly the line grows. It was sound advice. Our wait wasn't very long but by the time we finished eating the line was well out the door, although the staff still kept the line moving at a steady pace.

I went expecting big, traditional Chicago-style hot dogs. Hot Doug's definitely has those. But the wide variety of specialty sausages is what surprised me.

This is the Saucisse De Morteau and the wild rice and Asiago Bison sausages.

...And this is the veal, pork and chive "bockwurst." Everything was as good as it looks and sounds.

We also enjoyed the laid-back atmosphere with tunes by classic punk bands like the Sex Pistols and Dead Kennedys playing in the background and the comical signage that included elements like a picture of hot dog on the men's room door and an empty bun for the lady's room.

I love punk music in general and the Clash in particular so I was briefly excited to see a dog named after Joe Strummer. Then I read the description. As bad as it sounds I realize it is meant as a genuine tribute to the legendary clash frontman, a longtime vegetarian who died of heart disease at the age of 50. Many other celebrities have endorsed the health benefits of a vegetarian/vegan diet like Adam "MCA" Yauch of the Beastie Boys (dead at 47), Linda McCartney (dead at 56) and Steve Jobs (dead at 56). If you eat at Hot Doug's and are concerned with your health I recommend sticking to the natural sausages loaded with healthy pork fat.

Hot Doug's on Urbanspoon


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