Food - Drink
Sport Peppers: The Pickled Hot Pepper You Can Only Find In Chicago
By ELIAS NASH
Sport peppers might be unfamiliar to anyone not from Illinois, but many have claimed that the popular ingredient is a must for a hotdog. It is essential to make a true Chicago-style hot dog that has been “dragged through the garden,” meaning that it is loaded with vegetables, such as tomato slices, pickle spears, and, of course, the sport peppers.
The sport peppers are a unique cultivated variety officially known as Mississippi sport pepper, and though the pepper is influential in Illinois but named after a different state, it most likely originates from South America. The Takeout compares the sport pepper to a serrano pepper, only smaller and less spicy.
The sport peppers are pickled in a vinegar brine, instilling in them a tangy, slightly spicy flavor, with a Scoville Heat Unit range of 10,000 to 23,000, putting them somewhere between a serrano and a milder jalapeño. Your best bet for having them outside of Illinois is to order them online and drag your own hotdog through the garden.