Sunday, July 23, 2017

Copy-Cat Detroit Coney Dogs for #SundaySupper

This month's Sunday Supper theme of Creative Hot Dog Recipes is co-hosted by Stacy of Food Lust People Love and MaryEllen of Recipes, Food and Cooking.

July is National Hot Dog month so Stacy and MaryEllen asked us to share our fun options for serving this kid friendly food.  According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, consumers spend nearly 2 billion dollars a year on hot dogs in US supermarkets.  That is a lot of hot dogs!!!

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I can understand it though.....I love the crunch of a natural casing frank when I bite into it.  I love the way they split open on the grill when being cooked.  I love that when dinner sneaks up on you and you haven't made a meal plan you can open the fridge, grab the dogs and dinner is on the table in moments.

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Natural casing franks are very popular here in Michigan.  In fact, Serious Eats, did a taste test of all the natural casing franks available here.  Frank is a hot dog snob and when eating hot dogs at home will only accept Kowalski brand.  I am happy to say that this is the brand that won for best traditional dog in that Serious Eats taste test.

Serious eats also mentions that Detroit is home to the famous Coney Dog, made with a beanless chili sauce.  We love our coney dogs here in Michigan.  So much, in fact, that we have numerous Coney Island Restaurants, sometimes with two or three on the same street corner.

One of my favorite chains is National Coney Island.  There are 20 locations in southeast Michigan where I reside.  Their first store opened up in 1964 at a Mall near the home in which I grew up.  I spent a lot of time in that mall during my tweens and teens and ate a fair share of coney dogs while there.

My brother and his wife live in California but come home to Michigan every year for a month long visit.  We host a large pot-luck party each year so that everyone in the family gets an opportunity to see them while they are home.  This year I decided to make up a roaster full of sloppy joes and serve those along with Coney Dogs as the main courses with everyone else supplying the side dishes.

I had fully intended on keeping my life simple and buying a block of frozen National Island Chili Sauce for the Coneys.  So the morning of the party, I went to the store and they were out of the sauce. We live in the middle of nowhere (or in BFE as affectionately referred to by my children) so while we are lucky enough to have a decent grocery store 5 minutes away there is not another for half an hour.

I decided to do a google search, rather than waste time running around from store to store, and was ecstatic to find this recipe at a blog called Great Lakes, Better Food.  Unfortunately, this blog no longer appears to be up and running with the last post being in 2013.  Fortunately, it was once up and running because this chili sauce is perfect!!!  It tastes amazingly the same as that from National that I love so much.

I adapted this recipe by deleting the beef hearts (as I didn't have any) and replacing it with an equal portion of additional ground chuck.  It came together in minutes and had plenty of time for the flavors to meld while in the crockpot waiting for company to arrive.

There are rules to having a Detroit Coney Dog. 
  • Your hot dogs must have skins
  • Your hot dog must be grilled or steamed
  • The only toppings are coney sauce, yellow mustard and finely diced onions
My guests were as amazed as I that this was a copy-cat and not the actual chili from National's.  It was that good.

This is definitely going on my rotation for when we get a hankering for hot dogs along with my Cheesie Wienies, Chili Dog Nachos and Pretzel Dogs.  You will find many other Creative Hot Dog recipes following mine for Coney Dogs.

Copy-Cat Detroit Coney Dogs
adapted from Great Lakes, Better Food

3 lbs. ground chuck
6 T. butter
6 T. flour
1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes
24 oz. beef stock
2 T. paprika
3 T. chili powder
3 T. yellow mustard
1 T. turmeric
1 T. cumin
1 T. garlic powder
1 T. onion powder
1 T. kosher salt

Brown ground meat in a dutch oven over med high heat until browned and all fat is released.  Drain and set aside.  In the same dutch oven, melt the butter over med high heat.  Stir in the flour until brown and nutty smelling.  Whisk in the beef stock, cook and stir until smooth, thickened and bubbly. Add the tomatoes and all their juices, paprika, chili powder, mustard, turmeric, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder and salt.  Stir in the reserved beef and bring to a gentle boil.  Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered until thickened.

The chili is now ready to be used for topping grilled or steamed natural casing franks or can be refrigerated and reheated on the stove or in the crockpot when ready to serve. Print Recipe

More Creative Hot Dog Recipes

Cheesy Dogs

Meaty Dogs

Regional Dogs

Tex Mex Dogs

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.


  1. What a fabulous, hearty topping! Your dogs look irresistible, Wendy!

  2. Your post is bringing back so many memories of going to the Kowalski's store with my mom. OMG that was a long time ago. Your hot dogs look great!

    1. Thanks Laura, glad I could give you some happy food memories.

  3. My family and I absolutely love Coney Dogs. Unfortunately we don't have all of those restaurants down here in Indiana, but I do have a recipe I like to make, and now, thanks to you, a new recipe to try! YUM!

  4. Wow! I learned so much from this post. I had no idea that hot dogs were the pride of Michigan. Love the delicious rules of the Detroit Coney Dog and the recipe =)

  5. You are making me so hungry right now. When i was a kid we used to have a place called "Pup a Go Go" that sold the most delicious hotdogs like this. Oh I miss that place.

    1. I hope that when you make this it measures up to your memories.

  6. Mmm! I love a good coney dog. Looking forward to trying this yummy recipe!


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