Best Bites Chicago

2013 Best Bite #30: Elk sausage and duck-fat fries, Hot Doug’s

Each day in December, I’m celebrating the rest of the best bites (and sips) that I didn’t get to blog about in 2013, posted in chronological order. Browse all of this year’s Best Bites, or look back at 2012’s Best Bites.

Apple elk sausage
Apple, pear, and port wine elk sausage with red fruit mustard, Port Salut cheese, and pâté de campagne

Why it’s another 2013 Best Bite: I’m ashamed that it took me this many years to make a trip to Hot Doug’s, the “Encased Meats Emporium and Sausage Superstore” that’s revered by hot dog devotees everywhere. Even though it took sprinting through heavy snow to catch a bus, I was delighted to find that this particular Saturday’s line didn’t even stretch past the outer door (it’s typically down the block). After thoroughly perusing the menu board, I went with an elk sausage special, along with the must-order duck-fat fries, which are only available on Friday and Saturday. The sausage was bursting with game and fruit flavors, with snap from the casing and sweetness from the mustard. Both toppings – mild Port Salut cheese and bits of country pâté – added richness and texture to every bite. Subtle duck flavor came through in the fries, and somehow made the meat taste even better. Owner Doug Sohn’s astounding warmth and friendliness completed the experience.

Duck-fat fries
Duck-fat fries

The details: Hot Doug’s, 3324 N. California Ave., Chicago.

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