Authentic Coney Dog Sauce

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Did you know that Coney Dogs didn’t originate in Coney Island Amusement Park in Brooklyn, New York? The recipes were brought to the U.S. by Greek and Macedonian immigrants who settled in the Midwest. The first Coney Island Hotdog shop appears to have been in Ft. Wayne, Indiana or Jackson, Michigan – they both opened in 1914, but no one knows the actual date for either. Apparently, there are lots of debates about the actual “authentic” recipe, but I don’t care. I’m dropping the “island” and calling mine authentic because it tastes just like I remember from my Indiana youth. It appears the original Michigan recipe contains ground beef hearts – something I’d have a very hard time bringing myself to eat. You can read more of the historical debate here if you feel so inclined. πŸ€”authentic-coney-dog-sauce-culinary-craftiness

I knew there had to be a secret ingredient in the coney sauce, but I couldn’t figure out what it was for the longest time. When I considered what a restaurant might do with their leftovers, it occurred to me they might want to use up cooked, but unsold, hotdogs. What a perfect place to “discard” them.Β πŸ˜€ If you’ve never had real coney dog sauce, then you’re in for a treat. This sauce is so good, you’ll want to just eat it with a spoon!

Absolutely best with fried mushrooms or the french fries from The Bear’s Den in Shelbyville, Indiana. So sad we can’t get either one of those down here in Florida. Not that we can’t get fried mushrooms or big fat crinkle fries here. They just don’t taste like those served at The Bear’s Den. But at least we now have the coney dog sauce!

Authentic Coney Dog Sauce | Culinary Craftiness

Authentic Coney Dog Sauce | Culinary CraftinessThis recipe makes a large batch. Cut the recipe in half or freeze leftovers in pint or 1/2 pint containers. It makes a perfect topping for wiener roasts. πŸ˜ƒ

Authentic Coney Dog Sauce

2 lbs. ground chuck or round
1 large onion, finely diced or grated
9 oz. tomato paste (1-1/2 cans)
9 oz. water (1-1/2 cans)
5 tbsp. chili powder
1 tbsp. cumin
1/2 to 1 tsp. allspice, to taste
1 tbsp. jarred minced garlic
2 Tbsp. prepared mustard
1 tbsp. cider vinegar
2 packages cheap pork with chicken hotdogs, ground in food processor

Put everything except for hotdogs in a large skillet. Do NOT brown and drain ground beef first. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring to break up meat into fine crumbles. Lower heat to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes, or until thickened, stirring occasionally.

Add ground up hotdogs and cook for another 15 minutes. This sauce shouldn’t be runny.

Serve on your favorite hotdogs and buns.

Best as is, but optionally, you can add a sprinkle of chopped onion, shredded cheddar cheese, and/or a squirt of mustard.Authentic Coney Dog Sauce | Culinary Craftiness

Authentic Coney Dog Sauce

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Authentic Coney Dog Sauce

Created by Melissa Woolard | Culinary Craftiness

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. ground chuck or round
  • 1 large onion, finely diced or grated
  • 9 oz. tomato paste (1-1/2 cans)
  • 9 oz. water (1-1/2 cans)
  • 5 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tbsp. cumin
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp. allspice, to taste
  • 1 tbsp. jarred minced garlic
  • 2 Tbsp. prepared mustard
  • 1 tbsp. cider vinegar
  • 2 packages cheap pork with chicken hotdogs, ground in food processor

Instructions

  1. Put everything except for hotdogs in a large skillet. Do NOT brown and drain ground beef first. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring to break up meat into fine crumbles. Lower heat to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes, or until thickened, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add ground up hotdogs and cook for another 15 minutes. This sauce shouldn't be runny.
  3. Serve on your favorite hotdogs and buns.
  4. Best as is, but optionally, you can add a sprinkle of chopped onion, shredded cheddar cheese, and/or a squirt of mustard.

Notes

This is a large batch. Cut recipe in half or freeze leftovers in pint or 1/2-pint containers. Perfect topping for wiener roasts.

https://culinarycraftiness.com/authentic-coney-dog-sauce/

Authentic Coney Dog Sauce | Culinary Craftiness

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20 Replies to “Authentic Coney Dog Sauce”

  1. Thank you for the recipe. I live in Franklin Indiana and have been wanting a bears den coney dog really bad because they are closed for the season.

  2. Actually that is Flint style Coney Sauce.
    The Original Coney Sauce came from the Detroit area, and had beef heart in it. Instead of leftover jot dogs.

    • There seems to be a lot of debate about where the “original” coney sauce originated. I included a link to the Wikipedia article. I also mentioned the Michigan recipe contains beef heart which I can’t bring myself to even consider eating. LOL Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment! πŸ™‚

    • Hi, Parker!

      Authentic coney sauce or what is served up by a particular restaurant? Whatevs. Mine tastes fantastic! Give it a try and see if you like it. You might not, and that’s okay. We all have different tastes. πŸ™‚

    • The Kalamazoo coney Island location did use ground hot dogs in their sauce. ..i’m making this today to see if it’s the same. I have a feeling it is. Can’t wait to try it. I’ve been searching for it.

    • Hi Kathy, I’d add another pound of ground beef so the seasonings aren’t overwhelming. Or back off of the seasonings by 1/3. Ground hotdogs are what makes it taste like the old-fashioned coney dogs. No matter what, I believe it’ll taste great with just the ground beef though. πŸ™‚

  3. I’m definitely trying your sauce after I finish a batch of North Jersey Wiener Sauce from Cook’s Country I made a couple of days ago. I can see you’ve given your recipe a good deal of thought and I appreciate the time and effort you’ve put into this.
    I’ve got my own sauce based on what’s served in the Detroit and NW Ohio area by Greek immigrants. I love it but now I’m chagrined that my wife now prefers the NJ wiener sauce.
    I tell everyone about the technique of mixing up all the ingredients and then heating up the pot. Do people think the old Greek guys used a giant blender or immersion blender to break up the meat? They made 100 gallons at a time. Even the people at Cook’s Country got that detail wrong.
    Did you know that the old time hot dog joints mixed white bread and water to use as a thickener?
    Here’s a link to a Library of Congress mp3 that contains a short interview with a couple of old timers.
    http://www.loc.gov/item/afcwip004291/
    Hope you find it interesting.
    I think I’ve spent too much time thinking about hot dog sauce, too.

    • Thanks for visiting and commenting, Jimmy! Now I’m going to have to look up the North Jersey Wiener Sauce recipe! lol I’m definitely going to try the bread and water as a thickener. I can imagine a good potato bread making a great pot of sauce, even Sloppy Joes. Thanks for sharing the link – I’ll head over and give it a listen. I love the history of food! If you try my recipe, let me know what you think. πŸ™‚

  4. Finally! I grew up in Mt Clemens Mi, I’ve tried to recreate this recipe multiple times. This is the best one by far. THANK YOU!

    • Yay! Thanks for validating my recipe, Kurt! We love it and even make a coney dog casserole with it by layering the sauce, cut up hotdogs, low carb tortilla shells, and shredded cheddar. πŸ™‚

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