Chicago’s Best Sausage 2024: A Culinary Tour of the Windy City’s Finest

Chicago is a city that takes its sausage seriously. From the iconic Chicago-style hot dog to the historic Maxwell Street Polish, sausages are a staple of the city’s culinary landscape. This article will take you on a tour of Chicago’s sausage scene, highlighting the best places to savor this meaty delight.

A Tradition of Excellence

The tradition of sausage-making in Chicago dates back to the city’s early days when a wave of European immigrants brought their meat-curing skills to the bustling meatpacking capital of the world. This heritage is still alive today, with several establishments offering authentic, time-honored recipes alongside innovative new creations.

The Maxwell Street Polish Sausage

One of Chicago’s most famous sausages is the Maxwell Street Polish, a kielbasa-style sausage that’s typically topped with grilled onions and mustard. Jim’s Original is one of the oldest and most revered vendors of this Chicago classic. Another notable spot is Express Grill, which has been serving up these sausages for decades.

Italian Sausage: A Chicago Staple

Italian sausage is another beloved variety in the city. For a taste of Chicago’s Italian heritage, head to Conte Di Savoia on Taylor Street for a mouthwatering selection. They offer both sweet and spicy versions that are perfect for grilling or adding to pasta dishes.

Artisanal Creations

Chicago is also home to several artisanal sausage shops that craft their gourmet links. Publican Quality Meats is a butcher shop and café known for its high-quality meats and house-made sausages. With offerings like their chorizo, breakfast sausage, and bratwurst, they’ve become a favorite among locals and foodies alike.

The Best of the Wurst

No article on Chicago’s sausages would be complete without mentioning the city’s German heritage. The Berghoff, a historic Chicago restaurant, serves up some of the best traditional German sausages, including bratwurst, knackwurst, and thuringer, all accompanied by sauerkraut and German potato salad.

The Chicago-Style Hot Dog

Perhaps the most iconic sausage in Chicago is the Chicago-style hot dog. This all-beef frankfurter is typically steamed or boiled and served on a poppy seed bun, topped with yellow mustard, bright green relish, chopped onions, tomato wedges, a pickle spear, sport peppers, and a dash of celery salt — but never ketchup. Portillo’s is one of the most famous spots to get an authentic Chicago-style hot dog, though you’ll find this local delicacy at stands throughout the city.

Exploring Neighborhood Favorites

Venturing into Chicago’s neighborhoods can lead to some delightful sausage discoveries. Gene’s Sausage Shop in Lincoln Square offers a variety of European sausages, smoked meats, and homemade delicacies. In the Bridgeport area, Morrie O’Malley’s is a local favorite for their classic Chicago-style dogs and Italian sausages.

Sausage Festivals and Events

Chicago celebrates its love for sausage with several festivals and events throughout the year. One of the most popular is Wurst Festival, where sausage aficionados can enjoy a variety of sausages from local vendors, live music, and beer tastings.


Chicago’s best sausage is more than just food; it’s a reflection of the city’s diverse cultural history and its commitment to quality and tradition. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, indulging in these meaty treats is a must for anyone looking to experience the true flavors of the Windy City. From street vendors to fine dining establishments, Chicago’s sausage scene offers something for everyone, ensuring that sausage remains a beloved part of Chicago’s culinary identity.

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