Alex Schmidt’s Favorite Manly Hot Dog Man 🌭

First of all: WOW. Thank you for supporting 1-900-Hot-Dog! When Robert and Sean launched this thing… I gotta admit, I thought it’d fail. I didn’t think the Internet could support a daily publication covering the latest news, challenges, and innovations in the hot dog industry. It’s like, hello, Frankfurter Nahrungsmittelindustrie exists!

But look at all of you backing this thing. I guess das ist nicht die clüsterfick I assumed it’d be. I might even consider reading one of the articles (been busy eating) or calling the hotline (need seventh digit). And in the meantime, I’d like to contribute to modern hot dog journalism in my own cocktail weenie-sized way. I’d like to tell you about my favorite manly hot dog man.

This is Dick Portillo. Take a look at his picture. Then tame your arousal. Then ask me the question I know burns within you: “how can Dick Portillo be real?” How can one man possess the masculine trifecta of J. Jonah Jameson’s skull, Joe Biden’s megachompers, and the silver mane of a time-jumped Mad Men fella? Believe you me, I’m still processing it myself. I’m not even allowed to show you the rest of his body unless you sign a waiver.

If you grew up in the Chicagoland region, the name “Portillo’s” is tattooed across your heart. Portillo’s is a magical restaurant chain where the three top menu items are beef, beef, and beef. It’s where chocolate cake becomes a milkshake. It’s where loose meats become something you want shoved in your mailbox. And I’ve driven two hours each way (with traffic) to eat there.

Now that you’ve heard of Dick Portillo, it’s time you admired Dick Portillo’s story for its breadth, depth, and girth. Because Dick Portillo is a living legend. Dick Portillo is a tall tale made flesh. Dick Portillo is secretly incredibly fascinating, one might say, if one chose a random descriptive phrase, totally random phrasing, please subscribe to my new podcast.

Every story you are about to behold comes from Dick Portillo’s autobiography, as summarized by The Chicago Tribune. FAIR WARNING: The Chicago Tribune is a house of lies. It claimed Dewey defeated Truman, claimed hecklers are the best part of stand-up comedy, and let its top columnist publish (((Soros Stuff))) last month with zero consequences. However, the “Trib” did celebrate Dick Portillo’s life story, and I think they didn’t goof it up too bad. So please enjoy my favorite highlights, plus annotations:

🌭 Re-read this paragraph. You’ll find that “enlisted in the Marines a week after high school” is somehow the least testicular phrase.

🌭 Let us celebrate the humble brick. To a man, it is a construction resource. To a manly man, it is a weapon. To Dick Portillo, it is a bribe enhancement.

🌭 Unless someone confirms otherwise, I choose to believe Dick Portillo ran past the stop sign on foot, and then Action Comics #1’d a Buick.

🌭 There is nothing more masculine than founding a business without knowing what you are doing.

🌭 There is nothing more masculine than not bothering to know how to cook a hot dog.

🌭 In our age of commercialized, vapid James Bond movies, it’s easy to forget that the sexiest form of espionage involves Midwestern pickle relish trade secrets.

The tiered pyramid of romantic masculinitude is as follows:

🌭 BOTTOM: miscellaneous

🌭🌭 MIDDLE: marriage

🌭🌭🌭 TOP: playboy

🌭🌭🌭🌭 TIPPY TOP: marriage to high school sweetheart

🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭🌭 PORTILLO LEVEL, FLOATING ABOVE THE PYRAMID LIKE THAT EYEBALL ON THE FREEMASON THINGY ON THE DOLLAR BILL: marriage to high school sweetheart, squeezed in between mid-20th century gang fights, followed by achieving omniscient wisdom about your own violence

🌭 Football-sons are the one reason for tears permitted by masculinity (Also permitted, but less acceptable: wedding-daughters, wounds, finale of ‘Band Of Brothers’ on Blu-ray on a TV you hated setting up).

🌭 Chicago food is 80% chopped onions, and I’m still confident this is the only time Dick Portillo has ever generated tears.

🌭 Mike Ditka. That’s the highlight.

🌭 Men in Chicago go to church so they can pray, genuflect, and worship at the feet of a figure almost as respected as Mike Ditka.

🌭 Mike Ditka almost ran against Barack Obama in the 2004 U.S. Senate election in Illinois. Mike Ditka says he would have won. He is probably not wrong.

🌭 This conflict deserves a statue.

🌭 Until researching this, I had no idea this conflict happened. It’s like learning Godzilla and Rodan beat each other up on your front porch, while you gazed out the front window.

🌭 Maybe I’m stupid but this cannot be how addictions work? That’s like trading alcoholism for fluent Japanese. That’s like trading a gambling problem for telekinesis. 

My theory: Dick Portillo achieved human perfection at 5:10p.m. on Nov. 10, 1981. He didn’t want the rest of us to feel lesser-than, and made up this cover story for how he ~transcended~ nicotine.


🌭 Maybe a crime?

🌭 “I’m a WWII buff” is one hell of an understatement.

🌭 I think you’re allowed to dig this stuff up but it still feels disrespectful and maybe a little crime-y.

🌭 He lubed us up for this story with a mid-sentence “God bless America”. And that is the most American thing I’ve ever read.

🌭 Yeah this is some light graverobbing, i.e. a crime. That’s what this is right?

🌭 Please listen to my podcast.

Alex Schmidt is the former host of The Cracked Podcast, and a former doer of everything else you can do at He now hosts his own podcast called Secretly Incredibly Fascinating. Hear it here:  Support it here:  Ask him about wiener marketing principles on Twitter: