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Coney Island Hot Dogs


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One dozen Lepp’s Beef or Pork Wieners

One dozen Hot Dog Buns

For the Sauce:

1 pound Lepp’s lean ground beef 

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon salt 

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon ground mustard

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, more to taste

1/8 teaspoon ground cumin

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional, but it adds a subtle, unique flavour)  

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, more to taste

1/4 cup tomato paste

1 cup water

Additional Toppings:

Finely diced white onion

Yellow Hot Dog Mustard (French’s is a Canadian company that uses Canadian mustard seeds!)

Grated Cheddar Cheese

Diced Jalapenos, raw or pickled


Heat frying pan over medium heat, add ground beef. Cook until beginning to brown, breaking up as many clumps as possible. My favourite method for this is to use a potato masher to make it as fine as possible. Add chopped onions and continue to cook until beef is no longer pink.  Add all the spices, mixing well until evenly distributed. Add water and tomato paste and stir.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for at least 30 minutes. You may simmer it longer, but watch and add more water if necessary. Coney Island sauce is typically saucier than chili.  

Remove from heat. If you want the sauce as finely textured as shown in the photo, place all the sauce in the bowl of a food processor bowl and pulse a few times until it’s finely chopped. Or, if you’re brave, carefully pulse it in short bursts with an immersion blender. I have a few stains on my shirt from doing that, but it works! 

Grill hot dogs and buns. Place a hot dog in the bun, top with Coney sauce and additional toppings. Pass the napkins! 

Coney sauce, or Coney Island hot dog sauce as it’s also known,  is a ground beef topping for hot dogs. It differs from chili because it doesn’t have any beans or added veggies, is saucier, and is considered a condiment. The meat should be as finely textured as possible, so you’re not eating mini meatballs with your hot dog. The most famous story of its origin is that Greek immigrants arriving in Michigan wanted to combine their favourite spices with the classic American Hot Dog. As they had traveled through Ellis Island and likely seen Coney Island, they adopted the name. The very first Coney Dog stand was established in Detroit around 1920 and is still in operation today. Whoever gets the credit, it’s a delicious way to change up plain hot dogs for your next summer BBQ. A little goes a long way, so this makes enough for a dozen Coney dogs. Since it also freezes well, why not make a double or triple batch and then it’s ready for when it’s too hot to turn on the stove. 

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