The history of this hot dog is debatable, but Bruce Kraig, president of the Culinary Historians of Chicago, says that Greek and Italian vendors in the Windy City were fighting for control of the produce industry around World War I. The Greeks won that battle, in part because they sold dogs loaded with produce to push their product. Here's what you'll need to load up your own variation.

{hbox} Hot dogs

{hbox} Yellow mustard

{hbox} Sweet relish

{hbox} Chopped white onion

{hbox} Kosher dill pickle spears

{hbox} Tomato slices

{hbox} Pickled jalapenos

{hbox} Celery salt

New York

German immigrants began serving pan-fried sausages on buns in Coney Island in the late 19th century, adding mustard and sauerkraut for flavor.

{hbox} Hot dogs

{hbox} Spicy mustard

{hbox} Sauerkraut


Our hometown dog cribs from local favorite Ben's Chili Bowl, a D.C. institution since 1958 (1213 U St. NW, 202-667-0909,

{hbox} Half-smokes, grilled and split

{hbox} Yellow mustard

{hbox} Chopped white onion

{hbox} Beanless chili (see below)

Not Really Ben's Chili

If you have the time and forethought, cook the chili 8 to 24 hours ahead. This will give the flavors time to meld and result in a more flavorful topping.

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 pound lean ground beef

8-ounce can of tomato sauce

1/2 cup tomato puree

1 teaspoon onion powder

3 teaspoons chili powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Salt to taste

Heat the oil in a medium-sized Dutch oven. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Drop in the beef and brown, breaking up chunks as you go. Pour in the tomato sauce and puree, and add the next five ingredients. Stir to combine and cook until thickened, about 10 minutes. Ladle a 1/4 cup per half-smoke.

Makes enough for about 10 dogs.

Per serving: 126 calories, 9 gm protein, 4 gm carbohydrates, 8 gm fat, 25 mg cholesterol, 3 gm saturated fat, 208 mg sodium, 1 gm dietary fiber

Call it D.C.'s hometown half-smoke -- inspired by Ben's Chili Bowl.