Instead of aiming for a classic Chicago hot dog stand, The Haute & the Dog seems to be aiming for a total sausage experience like Hot Doug's. Much to my surprise, it is pulling it off.
'@sausagecity' on Serious Eats
Sam's Red Hot's in Bucktown is a stand in the truest sense of the word. Forget about seating, there's not even a counter to lean on. All you can do is order from the walkup window on Armitage, get your food, and leave.
As Blake mentioned yesterday, he's stepping down from the post to focus on other projects. Luckily, we're all still left with a year of Sausage City posts to comb through. If you're looking for a place to start, check out the most popular posts from the past year.
In a country where hot dogs are the most famous (and most consumed) form of sausage, and in a city that's especially known for them, the Vienna Beef factory makes around seven hundred thousand hot dogs a day.
When you walk into Beograd Meat Market, you might expect, as I did, to easily track down the fresh sausage that people talk about in online forums. It's there, but it's kind of hard to find. Just look below the bottles of Orangina.
Thanks to some exceptional fries and a genuinely delicious, if gargantuan, hot dog, Chubby Wieners deserves to be known as more than just a stand with a funny name.
Telegraph in Logan Square successfully defies all the issues I normally have about wine bars (pricey mediocre wine and pricey unambitious food made acceptable because they're served in a "wine bar), also has a fine charcuterie plate that changes regularly.
When it comes to great barbecue, Chicago does things a little differently. Perhaps nobody in the city does it better than Uncle John's, where the links are flecked with red pepper flakes and taste deeply of sage and pork fat.
As much as Chicago is a great sausage city, it's still a rare occurrence to see it house-made on menus in restaurants. But there is one regular exception to this rule, and that's breakfast sausage.
You could drive by Romanian Kosher Sausage Company for years and never feel the need to stop by. It looks more like an abandoned building that what it truly is: one of the best and most beloved butcher shops in Chicago.
At Mirabell, an old school German spot in Irving Park, they serve classics like the bratwurst—but they're doing things their own way. Case in point: when you order their bratwurst, it comes not just boiled or grilled, but soaked in milk, dipped in egg, and fried in butter. And it's quietly the best traditional bratwurst I've ever eaten
It's as if the folks at Gepperth's Meat Market have mellowed out over the years and realized that being a butcher and being gruff are not necessarily required. They have a sense of humor, a confidence around who they are, and with that comes that elusive and magical combination of competence and customer service.
As drinking halls go, Acre in Andersonville is the kind of place you might picture in your dreams: dark, lacquered woods, a hefty bar, and an excellent craft beer list. So it's with pleasure that I report their plate of house-made wood-grilled sausages is fine indeed.
I've already written about Gene's Sausage Shop in Lincoln Square, a beautiful, pristine place that almost glistens, with modern refrigerators, fresh produce, a wine selection, and a beer garden on top. But many of the sausages you see there originate at a more unassuming shop on Belmont Avenue much further west: the original Gene's Sausage Shop. It's a little rougher around the edges, a little more faded, and a lot more charming.
Nottoli & Son has the feel of a place that's been around for some time, a place that's gotten its selection of products down pat and the regulars that come in often to buy them. It's charming and relatively unassuming.
I keep going back to Big Star. Maybe I'm drawn by pitchers of margaritas or cheap shots of whiskey. (It could also be the cheap, almost universally good food). But I do know that I crave one thing more than any other, which they've wisely never taken off the menu: the salty bubbling queso fundido.
Chef Paul Virant has always been known for his gifted preparations of vegetables, not only in cooking but in sourcing locally from farmers. But based on my visit I would venture to say that he has a keen sense for charcuterie, too.
Writing about the vast selection at Paulina's sausages is overwhelming for a single column. In fact, I had no idea what I'd do until I got there and noticed a chance to write about one thing they do a lot of, and do well. That thing is bratwurst. Paulina has probably the biggest selection I've ever seen (curry bratwurst, anyone?), both traditional varieties and inventive variations.
Sausage City and Hot Doug's. The two, at some point, would have to meet. These are the five sausages that have stuck with me, and that I'm still dreaming about days later, and that I would recommend heartily for any visit to Hot Doug's.
Besides sharing a name and a trip to the smoker, Chicago and Texas hot links are fairly different barbecue experiences. The Texas style is a milder and subtler sausage, leaner, but still juicy and haunted by plenty of smokiness.