Sport Peppers (1980, 1986)

Bapopik at AOL.COM Bapopik at AOL.COM
Tue Nov 11 05:22:02 UTC 2003

   There are 805 Google hits for "sport peppers."  It's not in OED.  Will it be in DARE?...No trademarks for this?...I'm not mentioning the H.D.!  It's just these articles!...I'll check the Ancestry newspapers when I leave NYU.
   Continued from the last "through the garden" post.

(GOOGLE)(From various posts--ed.)
  The Chicago Sport Peppers used on those famous Chicago hot dogs are distributed by a firm by the name of Chipico. There is a Luke's Restaurant in Tucson that specializes in everything Chicago, and the manager showed me the bottle (confirmed they are those right ones!). It says "Chicago Sport Peppers" with the maufacturer as Chipico. I would have gotten more info off the bottle, but the guy was looking at me like I was stealing a trade secret or something. I found "Chipico" on the web via several distributors. Hope this gets you those peppers!
Sport peppers are small, very spicy, green peppers usually packed in vinegar (occasionally in olive oil, but that's really a different product). Used widely in Chicago as a topping for hot dogs, and in some southern restaurants where the really spicy vinegar is a favorite condiment to sprinkle over greens like turnips, collards, etc. I love to add them to burritos, tostados, sloppy Joes, and just about any dish where I want to add a kick. Their flavor is quite mild so they don't detract from the underlying flavor of the food, but they do pack a punch!

I have tried for several years to find them, but the only bottle I was able to get came from Illinois. A Web search shows several possible sources for them, so I will place an order and see what I get.
Here's the contact info for Chicago Pickle Company (Chipico): 888-484-3662. You can ask them for a list of distributors in your area. They don't sell retail, so you will have to find one willing to sell. I found Merit Foods in Tucson, AZ willing to sell me 1 gallon jars via pick-up with check or cash. Ask for Bob at 520-884-8232.

MISSISSIPPI SPORT PEPPERS Mississippi sports peppers are packed without stems, small and slender green peppers that are very firm in texture and has a medium heat level. They are used as whole peppers mainly on hot dogs and sandwiches; and sliced for jardinerias.

    Sport peppers are hot peppers preserved in vinegar. If you can't find them, or choose not to use them, substitute chopped steamed green pepper or leave out.

Subject:     Re(3): Chicago Style Hot Dogs (from a New Jersey perspective)
From:        nospamrjw (ric)
Posted:      September 02, 2003 at 22:42:20

In Reply To: Re(2): Chicago Style Hot Dogs (from a New Jersey perspective)
             Posted by Chuck on September 01, 2003 at 08:38:47

 Re: your very special ingredients- no, they are not available down here (Florida), alas! And you can probably tell from my posts, I am the type of 'hound who has looked, too! Sport peppers? Totally unique to your neck of the woods. Other various and sundry peppers abound, but sport peppers??? Nooooo. How about flourescent green relish? Someone, it may have been Vital Information, posted about a year or more ago, that the bright green of Chicago is exactly the same as regular relish, but we have all come to think of it as something special, and so- is it available anywhere near me? Nooooo! And most hot dog stands that try to tell Floridians they are getting a Chicago 'dog, don't bother bringing in the bright green, IMHO. Finally, your wonderful hot dog buns with poppy seeds: the bakery dept at Publix has told me they will do up a special order for me, but I haven't put them to the test yet. Plainjane buns around here, for the most part. Sesame seeds? Would Chicagoans be impressed? I think not. So, that's the scoop on why I make a run over to the guys in Orlando who can sell me my peppers and relish, and a couple of poppyseed buns for the freezer. (I think I've seen a lot of ketchup for sale in Florida, though...bite my tongue!)

Chicago Tribune (Pre-1997 Fulltext). Chicago, Ill.: Apr 10, 1986.  pg. 11.B
Red Hot Chicago," an award-winning entertainment special that takes an upbeat, humorous look at America's favorite food, the hot dog, will be shown at 9 p.m. Wednesday on WTTW-Ch. 11.

The half-hour program focuses on the Chicago-style frankfurter, a steamed hot dog traditionally topped with mustard, pickle relish and chopped onions as well as fresh sliced tomato, wedges of dill pickles, hot sport peppers, shredded lettuce, cucumber slices and celery salt.
   (This is also the first citation on

Dog Days on the Potomac
By Diane Granat Special to The Washington Post. The Washington Post (1974-Current file). Washington, D.C.: Sep 11, 1980. p. E1 (2 pages)
   ("Sport peppers" appears to be here in tiny print on E21.  The Chicago article is described in detail--ed.)

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