I admit to loving lamb chops, a great steak and our delicious local seafood, but I have a dirty secret. I love a good hot dog. I’ve had a love affair with them all my life. When I was a child, whenever we went to a DQ or Tastee Freeze (the only “fast food” in Hazlehurst at the time), I would tell Mama I wanted a hot dog without the bun. She refused to order it that way and made me take it out of the bun myself.

When my children were young, I started having hot dog Thursdays so I could get out of the kitchen fast and do my house cleaning. This freed up Saturdays to spend with them (or without them). The cleaning part didn’t always stick — but hot dog Thursday lasted until they were out of the house. They said it took them forever not to crave one on Thursday night.

I don’t eat hotdogs for dinner very often these days, much to my dismay. You see, I found out after I married Steve, he really didn’t like hot dogs that much. It was good we were already married, if you catch my drift. Anyway, as in all marriages we give and take and he offered to grill hot dogs for dinner. I was excited until he told me he had a recipe for one! I was speechless – a recipe for hot dogs? Like I said — we give and take, so I took a look at the recipe. It was titled Chicago Dog. I told him that’s no way to eat a hot dog… tomatoes, hot peppers and no ketchup? It broke my heart, but I agreed to prepare the toppings while he grilled the dogs. I almost cried when as I fix his hotdog, he will never know the true flavor of the hot dog — but at least we now have them periodically.


Hotdogs are one of those things that cause great controversies. I personally prefer Hebrew National while others would argue for Nathan’s. I like ketchup on my dog, but in Chicago, it is said to be a crime to put ketchup on a dog. Then there’s the bun issue — poppy seed buns, sesame seed buns, hoagie rolls, and split top buns. How in the world did such a simple food get so complicated? Well, there are a lot of stories about all that.

Everyone pretty much agrees that the hotdog or “Dachshund sausage” was brought to America by German immigrants. With the influx of Jewish immigrants, the all-beef and kosher hot dog was created so everyone would be able to eat the popular food of the 19th century. It was at the time considered a portable sandwich and usually sold out of food carts. Legend has it that during the depression the hot dog sales declined. The laborers no longer could afford the two to three hot dogs it took to fill them up. In order to increase sales, vendors began putting vegetables on the dogs to make a complete meal. Since different vegetables are available in different regions, the regional hotdogs of today were born.

You can find more history and interesting facts on hot dogs at hot-dog.org, including a video on how to properly eat a chili dog and a page on hot dog etiquette that will help you from committing “hot dog faux pas” like serving a dog on china, using a fork and knife.

My favorite hot dog place went out of business several years ago it was called Frank-N-Stein. Their Southern Hot Dog, a footlong topped with chili and coleslaw still rates as one of the best dogs I’ve every had. I even liked it with the bun! Now that’s the way to eat a hot dog!

After years of making them, I decided to share the “recipe” for Steve’s favorite hot dog. I still refuse to eat one, but maybe you’re strange like him and will enjoy. I’m also sharing the recipe for a Coney Chili in case you prefer to try it my way!


Teri Bell is co-owner of Miss Sophie’s Marketplace at the Mighty Eighth in Pooler. Go to sophiesmarketplace.com.


Chicago Dog

“Walk it through the garden” is the common description of the Chicago Dog. In Chicago, your dog will include neon green relish, celery salt and sport peppers. I actually found some sport peppers at Publix, but most recipes suggest pepperoncini as a substitute. It’s usually served on a poppy seed bun, but I haven’t found them in Savannah, yet.


• 1 all-beef hot dog

• 1 bun – poppy seed if you can find it

• 1 tablespoon yellow mustard

• 1 tablespoon neon green relish

• 1 tablespoon chopped onion

• 2 tomato wedges

• 2 sport peppers or small pepperoncini

• Dash of celery salt


1. A Chicago dog is either boiled or steamed. The bun should be warmed via steam or oven.

2. Place cooked hot dog in warm bun and nestle the tomato wedges between the bun and the dog. Top the dog in this order: yellow mustard, neon green relish, onion, tomato wedges, pickle spear and sport peppers.

3. Neon Green Relish: To one cup of sweet pickle relish, add a smidgen of blue food coloring and stir well. (Really, that’s the secret!)


Coney Dog

Charles Feltman was selling Dachshund sausages out of his food wagon on Coney Island as early as 1837, but Michigan lays claim to the first Coney Dog. Greek immigrants passing through Ellis Island often visited Coney Island where hot dogs were king. They are credited with topping the dog with their red meat sauce and calling it a Coney Dog which they served at their Greek restaurants, appropriately named “Coney Island”


• 1 1/2 pounds ground beef

• 2 cups water

• 1/2 cup diced onion

• 1/2 cup ketchup

• 2 tablespoons butter

• 2 cloves garlic, crushed

• 3 tablespoons chili powder

• 1 teaspoon ground cumin

• 1/2 teaspoon celery salt

• 1 pinch cayenne pepper (optional)

• 2 tablespoons brown sugar.


1. In a medium pot, add water and ground beef. Using a potato masher or your hand, break up the ground beef into fine crumbles. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour.

2. Assemble: Top hot dog in bun with chili, yellow mustard and diced onions.