(Hot Roo, Kang Dog, Kangaroo Hot Dog @ Hot Doug's in Chicago, IL)
How long are you willing to stand in line for a hot dog? 10, maybe 20 minutes? How about over an hour? At Hot Doug's in Chicago, Illinois an hour wait for a hot dog is to be expected but what isn't expected are the types of hot dogs on the menu. It's menu items like The Cheesy Atomic (spicy Jack cheese stuffed pork sausage with spicy passion fruit mayo and habanero-Jack cheese) or the cognac-infused lamb and pork sausage with spinach raita and goat cheese that make both tourists and locals line up. The Sausage Superstore and Encased Meat Emporium has won several local Chicago awards for best hot dog and has been listed by Zagat as a Top Food pick and Best Buy. Bon Appetit also listed it as one of the 50 best restaurants on the planet - not bad for a hot dog joint.
On our last day in Chicago I managed to convince the boyfriend that going to Hot Doug's was necessary. By some miracle the hot dog and sausage hater agreed, it might have been the duck sausage topped with foie gras that convinced him or maybe the duck fat fries that are only available Friday's and Saturday's. Whatever it was, we were going to try Chicago's best hot dog and since we were going in the afternoon we'd totally miss the lunch hour rush. Or so we thought.. When we got to the Avondale location it was clear that we weren't the only ones that wanted to try this gourmet hot dog. We got in line around 2:00pm on Friday and placed our order with owner Doug Sohn at 3:15pm.
Choosing what you want at Hot Doug's can be challenging Do you want to have a simple Chicago steamed hot dog or do you want one of the special celebrity named creations, maybe you want the game of the week? The boyfriend knew he was ordering the foie gras and duck sausage with truffle aioli, foie gras mousse and fleur de sel but I couldn't make up my mind. When I got to the cash I looked to my right at the strange jackalope staring down at me and ordered the game of the week - a kangaroo sausage with anchovy goat butter, fromage au poivre vert and crispy fried onions. Oh and The Dave Pound (corn dog) and a side of duck fat fries (how can you not?).
Were these hot dogs and fries worth waiting in line?
YES! I'd do it again in a heartbeat.
The kangaroo was tender and juicy with a hint of spice but the cheese soothed it. The duck and foie gras with just so fatty and decadent it was hard to believe you were eating it off of a hot dog bun. Although the corn dog was plain compared to the foie gras and kangaroo the battering and texture were spot on with big corn flavor. It was clear the duck fat fries are a big draw for locals and tourists but they couldn't compare to the amazingness of the hot dogs.
If you're in Chicago, bring camping chairs and get yourself to Hot Doug's for the best hot dog you will ever eat. In fact it may make other hot dogs a disappointment.