It was announced a couple of weeks ago that a Chicago favorite, Hot Doug’s Sausage Superstore and Encased Meat Emporium, will be closing it’s doors in October. Apparently Doug is ready to move on to something else, and while it’s disappointing that Hot Doug’s will be no longer, who are we to keep him from finding something else to rock? After meaning to go for the longest time, I finally made a trip there to see what all the hype was about. You gotta go on Friday or Saturday for the full experience. They cook the french fries in duck fat those days. And you gotta bring cash, cause Hot Doug’s don’t do plastic. And you gotta go knowing that you may be standing in line for a while. We got there about 10 minutes before they opened on a Saturday morning. It was still quite cold out, so there was only a few people in line already. I feel this was a very smart move on our part, as I have heard of people waiting in line for over an hour just to get in the door. When they opened the door, we walked in and there at the counter was Doug, ready to take orders. I recognized him from the TV, as he is a bit of a Chicago celebrity. (I want to say something totally cheesy here like, “Doug is like the Oprah of hot dogs,” but I won’t.) He seems genuinely happy to see his customers, and you better believe his customers are happy to see him!
We placed our order and then took a seat and waited patiently for our number to be called. The place is all bright and cheery, like a hot dog place should be. You can see some of the decor behind Otherhalf.
A bunch of the dogs are named for famous people, but the names change frequently. And then they have specials. We decided to get four dogs and some fries and do sharesies. Otherhalf ordered a traditional Chicago dog, and the infamous foie gras dog. I opted for a corn dog (because I freakin’ love corn dogs, and HELL YES I am going to try a corn dog at the Sausage Superstore and Encased Meat Emporium!!), and a fancy one (reindeer sausage maybe??) with smoked gouda and fig jam or something. I don’t really remember exactly, but it was totally tasty. And of course we got the duck fries. Holymoly those are so good.
Okay, let’s talk about this foie gras dog for a minute. I say it is infamous because there was this whole political controversy where foie gras was actually outlawed in Chicago for a couple of years thanks to an alderman and his buddy Charlie Trotter (may he rest in peace), and Doug was the first person who was fined for continuing to serve it. He even named the dog after the alderman. Like a boss. You can read about it in the Wiki here.
So this dog is a sausage made with foie gras and sauternes (which I just had to Google – it is a French white wine) which is topped with truffle aioli, foie gras mousse and fleur de sel (which I also had to Google – it is a fancy hand harvested sea salt). It was freakin’ decadent. And it only cost ten bucks. Pretty sweet deal, considering.
And then they were all gone . . .
Overall, Hot Doug’s was worth the wait, and the hype. This guy knows his sausages. I hope to visit one more time before it’s all over. Go get some before you can’t anymore. Do it.