Friday, February 3, 2012

The Chicago Beer Dogs

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I was never a hot dog person. Even when I was a little eater that hadn't gone vegan yet... hot dogs were just never my thing. Which I'm actually really happy about - meat based hot dogs aren't really food. So you can imagine my surprise when years ago I had Tofurky Beer Brats and actually liked them. I mean I loved them.

Over the years, Dan and I have been exploring new and exciting ways to add a little variety to our beloved cruelty-free brats. This is one of my favorites thus far. I know you're probably wondering why I'm not posting Manhattan Dogs since NY is going to the Super Bowl this weekend... well it's like I said - this one is kinda my one of  my favorites.

The Blueprint by Hawk Krall - from Serious Eats
Now we did tweak it a bit like we skipped the neon relish because sweet relish is just superior in many ways. We also used celery seeds instead of celery salt and just sprinkled poppy seeds over the top rather than using a poppyseed hot dog bun because I couldn't find a brand that didn't have eggs in it and baking my own seemed like more work than most people are willing to put into a hot dog.

Like many of our posts - I feel weird even calling this a recipe since it is so easy and is kind of more of an ingredient combo magic trick.

Are you ready to be amazed - with hot dog magic?

The Chicago Beer Dogs 

  • 1 Package Torfurky Beer Brats (defrosted) 
  • 1 Cup IPA Beer
  • Dash Liquid Smoke
  • 1/2 teaspoon Onion Powder
  • Olive Oil Cooking Spray
  • 4 Vegan Hot Dog Buns 
  • 1 Tomato (cut into wedges) 
  • Pickle Spears
  • 1/2 Red Onion (diced) 
  • Sweet Relish
  • Whole Pepperoncinis or Sport Peppers  
  • Yellow Mustard 
  • Celery Seed (you can use Celery Salt - but in my opinion - the seeds give you good flavor with out the sodium) 
  • Poppy Seed
Spray your favorite cast iron skillet (we used a cast iron grill pan) with a lot of Olive Oil Cooking Spray  and heat over a medium heat. Once your skillet is hot, toss in your Beer Brats and 2-3 Tablespoons of Beer and a dash of Liquid Smoke. Let cook while you prep your toppings by cutting your Tomato, Pickles and Onions.

Now if you're using a grill pan, let your brats cook for awhile to make sure you get those nice clean grill lines before flipping them. But if you're using a cast iron skillet, you might want to roll your brats around in the Beer to get a nice coating and make sure they get coated evenly. You'll want to add more Beer by the tablespoon as you cook. Keep an eye on it and once the Beer starts to reduce down to like a sauce, add a little more Beer. 

Cook your Beer Brats evenly in the Beer for about 5-10 minutes. Once your Brats are completely  browned and have a nice light "skin" on the outside, remove them from heat and sprinkle them with Onion Powder. 

Move them to the Buns and then add the toppings. Start with the Relish and Mustard first and then add the Pickle, Tomatoes and Peppers. Sprinkle with Onions, Celery Seed and Poppy Seeds. 

Grab another beer and enjoy! 


  1. Great post. It might not be a recipe, but it's informational. I'm in Chicago and know what goes on da Chicago dog, but not everyone else will know. I like your small changes, too. I'm going to have this for lunch today.

  2. Looks yummy! Annie, I finally figured out how to follow you now that I have my own blog! Yay!

  3. OH man..... you just put an Arrested Development clip in here.... I didn't think I could love this blog any more!

  4. Oh yum!

    It's funny, when I first went vegetarian (before I went vegan), hot dogs were one of the things I most missed... which is weird, because like you said, they weren't really food...

  5. My husband freaked out over these dogs! His only complaint? The buns weren't big enough for all the fixings.

  6. Ive heard the word vegan and vegetarian. what is the difference?