Michigan-Style Coney Mini Dogs

— Yesterday I did some bitching on Facebook about how shit like pickle slices and whole peppers and other shit do not belong on hot dogs, and ended it with the statement “I am a simple man. I just like my meat topped with more meat.” I figured I’d back that up today with the meat sauce recipe I use for making hot dogs at home.

This is a mashup between two different style dogs: the Coney dogs they have in Michigan and the mini hot dogs we have in the Capital District that are slowly creeping their way around New England. I’ve done a post on mini dogs in the past, so if you’re looking for more info on those, check it out here.

I apologize for the lack of pics but I was on a time crunch and also it’s tough to clean up and take pictures every step when you’re grinding and dealing with raw meat like this.

I’ve tried a few variations of the Coney sauce recipes, and I’ve kinda picked the parts of them that have worked and made it my own. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup beef tallow (you can use lard here instead but make sure it’s animal fat whatever you use)
  • 1 trimmed cow heart finely ground
  • 1 pound ground round (you’re aiming for 2.25 pounds of meat total, so add more or less round to however much beef heart was yielded. Some people actually grind some hot dogs into the mix here. I am not against that and have done so in the past)
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp of crushed saltines (I use my “brass knuckles” meat tenderizer)
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 16 oz beef stock
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp paprika
  • 6 tbsp yellow mustard
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tbsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tbsp kosher salt
  • Spices

For the dogs:

  • mini dogs
  • mini buns (I get both of mine from Hembold’s)
  • good yellow mustard (I use Plochman’s Mustard)
  • finely chopped white onion

Procedure:

  1. In a large pot heat tallow on medium heat. Simmer meat mixture until it turns just brown. Mix and chop the meat as it cooks to make sure it doesn’t clump up.
  2. Make a roux by melting the butter then adding the crushed crackers until it just starts to brown, then set aside.
  3. Optional: Halve the tomatoes and roast them at 450 degrees with some vegetable oil on top until cooked. Discard the skins and set tomatoes aside. Otherwise, just rough chop them.
  4. Add stock to meat and simmer for 20 minutes at a slight boil. Add roux, tomatoes, and spices and simmer this down to the proper consistency.
  5. Controversial step: hit it with an immersion blender and obliterate any chunks that are still sticking around. Purists will bitch about this step but they also can’t achieve the consistency I can with the immersion blender. This is where the skin on the tomatoes will matter, if you did not peel the skins you will really want to blend it.
  6. Spice it to your liking. The above is a great starter and will be really close to what Coney Sauce is in Michigan. However, my friends and I are all pretty much fans of hot stuff so I usually throw some Sriracha, crushed red, and a few drops of Oskar Blues Ten Fidy ghost chili sauce at it.
  7. Split your buns ahead of time, it’s easier to do this while they’re room temp.
  8. For those not lucky enough to have a hot dog steamer, you should at least have a wok and bamboo steamer. Stack some buns in there and steam until they get just soft. No one likes a soggy bun.
  9. Cook your dogs by your preferred method. I’ve steamed them and also fried them in butter. Both are acceptable options. Even better is frying them IN the meat sauce. Boiling is never acceptable.
  10. Open your bun, place a dog inside and then spread a healthy dollop of Coney sauce over the dog.
  11. Top with chopped onions.
  12. And lastly top with yellow mustard.

Boom, there you have it. Coney Mini Dogs. The recipe above is half of what I usually make. I generally make way too much sauce and buy too many hot dogs and buns. However, they freeze well and something easy to whip up when the guys are over for a few beers.

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