Chicago Hot Dog Camping Recipe

Chicago Hot Dog Camping Recipe

The hot dog is a classic, simple, and easy camping recipe. So let’s take it up a notch! I recently made these Chicago-inspired hot dogs on a motorcycle camping trip and they were SO GOOD. These hot dogs are packed with flavor and can be a fun and surprisingly easy way to dress up your camping meal. 

What is a Chicago Hot Dog? A Chicago dog is an all-beef hot dog nestled in a poppy seed bun, topped with yellow mustard, chopped white onions, neon green relish, tomato slices, a dill pickle spear, sport peppers, and a sprinkle of celery salt, creating a distinctive and beloved flavor profile.

Chicago Hot Dog Camping Recipe
The Suckerpunch Pickle Snack Packs make this a glass-free camping recipe!

This camping recipe is inspired by the traditional Chicago Hot Dog. It shares many similarities while reducing the need to bring jars of condiments with you to a campsite! You can grab most, if not all, of your ingredients on the way to camp. 

>>> Check out more of my Camping Recipes!

What You’ll Need: 

Camping Cookware and Dinnerware:

There are three ways you can cook your hot dogs, depending on your camping setup:

  • Over the fire: This is how I made these hot dogs! You’ll need firewood and a way to get your fire going. Note: Fire bans are something to be aware of. Even in established campgrounds with fire rings and grills, you may not be allowed to make a fire if there’s high fire danger. Luckily, there are two other easy ways:
  • Beer Boiled via a Jetboil: Who doesn’t love a good beer-boiled hot dog?! 
  • Camp Stove + Skillet: You can utilize a camp stove (like a Jetboil + pot support) plus a skillet to make these as well if you want more of a “grilled” dog without the ability to have a real fire. Oh yeah, don’t forget your fuel!

Additional Cooking Items Include:

  • Tongs: to flip your steak and mix your salad (I just bring some from home)
  • Plate: You’ll need some sort of plate to keep everything tidy. I use a Sea to Summit X-Plate which doubles as a cutting board for veggies! If you’re cooking for more than one person, I’d recommend bringing an extra plate or cutting board, though!
  • Knife: If you plan to chop your vegetables at camp, you’ll need a knife.
  • Cutting Board: My cutting board is built into the bottom of my Sea to Summit X-Plate, which keeps my camp kitchen pretty minimalistic! 
Ingredients for Chicago Hot Dogs to cook while camping

For Cleanup:

  • Soap: I personally love the Wilderness Wash from Sea to Summit
  • Cleaning Cloth: 
  • Ziplock bag: For your food scraps and any trash you need to pack out. Please do not leave these items in your firepit or dish pit where you camp.


Since this recipe is meant to be easy to make while camping, it has been labeled as such: a Chicago-inspired hot dog. Here’s what I used:

  • Hot Dogs: Any beef frank of your choice will do! Personally, I love Ball Park Beef Franks.
  • Suckerpunch Bread & Butter + Dill Pickle Snack Packs: I love carrying these with me on my bike as a general snack since they’re shelf-stable and eliminate the need to bring glass jars to a campground. The bread + butter pickles will replace the traditional relish while the dill pickles will replace the traditional pickle spears. Plus, pickle juice is so good for you and packed with electrolytes. Yum! Check them out on Amazon!
  • Tomato
  • White Onion: I picked a whole onion and chopped it at camp, but you can buy pre-diced if needed or chop it at home.
  • Mustard: I bring this in one of my 1.7oz reusable GoToobs from home. In a pinch, you could buy a tiny bottle of mustard at a grocery store. It’s fairly cheap.
  • Buns: I used brioche, but you can use whatever you want. A traditional Chicago Dog uses poppy seed hot dog buns.
  • Additional Toppings: A true Chicago dog is additionally topped with celery salt and sport peppers. 

Frequently Asked Questions: “How do you keep your food cold?”  Because I picked my main ingredients up on the way to my campsite, I knew that my food would be consumed within a safe amount of time. I didn’t need to worry about the refrigeration between the grocery store and cooking it at camp. I use a packable cooler that will keep my food cold en route to camp. However, it is important to note that for longer trips, you should avoid keeping perishable foods unrefrigerated for extended periods.

How to Make a Chicago Dog While Camping:

Hot Dog being made while camping
  1. Get your fire going: Whether you’re making an actual fire or using a camp stove, you’ll need to get your dogs on the “grill” and cook first.
  2. Prepare your veggies: While the fire is warming up, you can chop your onion and slice your tomatoes to your liking.
  3. Cook the Hot Dogs: Grill ‘em, boil ‘em, sear ‘em. Whatever works. 
  4. Prep Your Buns: Add your Bread + Butter Pickles, Dill Pickles, and Tomato to your bun.
  5. Add your Weiners: Once your hot dogs are cooked, add them to your dressed-to-impress hot dog bun.
  6. Finish Dressing your Dog: Garnish with onion and mustard, and whatever else you wish to add.
  7. Enjoy!

Tips for Cleaning Up:

  • Dispose of Waste Properly: Collect any food scraps or trash in a designated bag, and dispose of it in a trash receptacle. Please follow Leave No Trace principles. This is crucial to keep wildlife from wandering into your campsite looking for food.
  • Scrape and Wipe Clean: Before using soap, scrape off any food residue from your cookware and utensils and give them a good wipe with a cloth. This reduces the amount of soap and water needed for cleaning.
  • Secure Your Food: Store all scented items in sealed containers or resealable bags to deter animals from sniffing around your campsite.
  • Do not leave a fire unattended. Make sure your fire is completely out before vacating your campsite. Drown it, stir it, and use your hand to ensure there is no heat coming from your fire pit.
  • Educate Yourself: Research the specific regulations and guidelines for the area where you’re camping. Some locations may have specific rules regarding waste disposal and cleanup.

If you try out this Chicago-inspired hot dog recipe on your next camping trip, let me know! 🙂

Hot Dog Camping Recipe
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Staci Wilt

I’m Staci: a freelance journalist, photographer, and marketing consultant. I primarily focus those skills around my passions of motorcycles, travel, and food…and yes, we will count margaritas and craft beer in that last category. Thanks for checking out my blog!
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  1. Motorcycle News on December 21, 2023 at 8:38 PM

    Awesome!! I want to try it!

    • Staci Wilt on December 22, 2023 at 10:15 AM

      You’ll love ’em!

    • Matka 420 on April 28, 2024 at 11:59 AM

      Very nice post

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