As a Chicagoan native, it was only a matter of time before Jeff Mauro, the "Sandwich King" on Food Network, did an episode dedicated tohot dogs and sausages. It was also appropriate that this "Sausage Fest" aired on October 7 during National Sausage Month.
As in every episode of "Sandwich King," Mauro picked an iconic Chicago spot to learn a thing or two about the meal he planned to make. Not surprisingly, he chose Gene & Jude's of River Grove, IL, a hot dog stand that has been serving classic Chicago dogs since 1946.
Like many in the area, Mauro grew up on these dogs. He even remembers the first time his dad took him to get one; he was just six years old and couldn’t see above the counter, but after one bite into that snappy dog? He was hooked for life.
Gene & Jude’s, as the current manager recounted to Mauro, hasn't changed a thing since it opened in the 40s. They still cut potatoes for the fries right in front of customers. They still serve the steamed dogs with yellow mustard, sweet relish, onions, sport peppers, and fries all on top. Some may not call their version a "classic" Chicago dog, but considering they've been doing it for over half a century, it's a tradition that many in the Chicago area have loved for years.
So, how does the Sandwich King improve this tasty treat? Mostly he just mimics it in his home kitchen, starting by steaming the buns and the dogs. Once cooked, he topped the hot dogs with yellow mustard, homemade sweet relish, onions, pickled serrano peppers, and of course hand-cut fries too.
During this "Sausage Fest" episode, Mauro also made a Bears Brat, which is a braised brat cooked in fruit and hoppy beer and topped with cheese sauce, sauerkraut, and pickled jalapenos.
For these recipes, head on over to Jeff Mauro's Food Network page.
Jeff Mauro's "Sandwich King" airs on the Food Network Sunday mornings at 10 a.m. Central.
© Elizabeth SanFilippo 2012