Al Capone Dog

A Chicago hot dog fit for a Mob Boss.

Al Capone Dog

Al Capone Dog

aka the Chicago Italian aka the Boss Dog aka the Mafia Dog

by Sue Lau | Palatable Pastime

This week I am sharing a recipe in the theme of “Tailgate on  your own Turf”.

And I know you are just dying to find out what is behind calling this a “Capone Dog“!

It’s a Chicago hot dog. But. Not just any Chicago hot dog. It’s a BIG Chicago dog, and it’s tough and it’s Italian. And who is the toughest Chicago Italian “youse” ever heard about? Don’t even bring him a tiny wiener on a skinny bun. This is a sandwich fit for the Mafia.


Alphonse Gabriel “Al” Capone was an American gangster who was notorious during the Prohibition as the boss of the Chicago Outfit of the Mob. For seven years he was lucky, then luck ran out…

What’s he got to do with Chicago?

Al Capone was born in New York but moved to Chicago around 1920 and became a gangster during Prohibition. Likewise, the Chicago Dog became known on the streets of Chicago during the years of the Depression, when money was scarce, and Chicago made-do with the offerings of street cart vendors.

But, but…tailgating?

And this is all nice, but we are talking about tailgating on your home turf, right? Right.

It was around the same time that Capone hit the streets of Chicago that the NFL was also born there. The names of the teams may have changed over time, but one thing has existed all along, and that is the eating of good food for game day. Whether you do it at home, or out of the back of your truck in an immense parking lot of a modern day Coliseum, one thing is for sure: you need the appetite of a gladiator.

But why are you making this, Sue?

For me, being born in Illinois, and also having a little bit of German heritage, the wurst takes precedence (it doesn’t hurt that my husband is from Wisconsin, and their food religion involves bathing bratwurst in pots of steaming beer before charring them on the grill). My SIL is also Italian, and it didn’t hurt things that she encouraged me to try Italian sausages as well, which she called salsiccia. And I gotta’ be honest with you: I’d eat them for breakfast instead of the usual country style pork sausage. Spicy! Yes!

Does anyone else make this sandwich?

When my husband and I did our stint in Florida for Uncle Sam (military) and he worked at Kennedy Space Center working on shuttle programs (I got by teaching floral design, enjoying the beach and raising our first child) we discovered a wonderful Hot Dog Stand down in Melbourne that was serving up Italian sausages, Chicago style. I do love my Chicago Dogs, but there I was looking at the idea of a salsiccia on a bun, dragged through the garden with spicy hot sport peppers on top, and I was drooling.

But that was years ago! (that guy still has his cart going so he must be doing something right!)  I am sort of surprised when I hit a hot dog stand today and no one ever seems to have gotten the idea. Sure, you can get a Polish with onions and peppers, but this is not the same! It’s a hot dog with attitude. True, the odd occasional vendor knows about it, but not too many outside of Chicago.

So if you want to get tough at your tailgate and be the Boss of all Bosses, I am telling you that this is the sandwich you should not refuse.

As a family, we have always enjoyed the kickoff of the fall football season even if we can’t live close enough to our favorite stadium to celebrate in style. For us, football at home involves entertaining with family and friends, gathered around the television for the games, everyone having a great time with food and drink selected and prepared especially for the day. Sometimes it involves grilling outdoors, and as the season grows colder, we tend to move inside. So over the course of a season, the types of food and drink I might offer for game day will generally evolve.

One thing I can count on is everyone loving a good sandwich and a nice cold one, whether it is wine, beer, or something like spiced apple cider. Sandwiches are great because they are finger food, and these sausages can easily be kept warm in a crockpot. Other foods such as chips, nachos and appetizers can round out the offerings along with a few delicious desserts and all is set.

So if sometimes figuring out what to make for game day seems a hassle, my rule of thumb is one main of some sort (sandwich) and lots of little stuff. So if you want something substantial, there it is. And if you want to just nibble, you will have that as well. All very easy.

Al Capone Dog for #SundaySupper #GalloFamily

Al Capone Dogs

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Al Capone Dog


  • 2 6-ounce uncooked Italian sausages (12 ounces total)
  • 1  teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine or additional broth
  • 1 teaspoon garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes


  • 2 sandwich hoagie rolls, split
  • minced fresh white onion
  • sweet pickle relish
  • dill pickle spears
  • diced fresh tomato
  • pickled sport peppers
  • yellow mustard
  • celery seed or celery salt


  1. Prepare fixins’/toppings for sandwiches and set aside.
  2. Brown sausage in olive oil.
  3. Stir together broth and wine/broth with garlic and seasonings; pour over sausages and simmer until liquid dissipates and sausages are cooked through.
  4. Serve sausages on split rolls with toppings as desired.

From the kitchen of

Al Capone Dog
Sunday Supper

It’s Game Day and We are Tailgating in Style!

As part of the Sunday Supper Movement, I and a host of other food bloggers are pleased to present to you some of our favorite sweet and savory ideas for having a tailgate party on your own turf.
Be sure to check these recipes out below, and be sure to pin your favorites! Sunday Supper bloggers love being pinned!
Pre-Game Appetizers

Game Time Mains

The Victory Celebration


You might also like:

Spicy Jalapeno Beer Glazed Brats and Metts

Wisconsin Style Bratwurst (Sheboygan Hot Tub)

Chicago Style Hot Dogs

25 responses

  1. Wow, you have come up with a great recipe that involves your heritage and that of where you were born and raised! You have a multi cultural dog there! Love it.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: