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Detroit's Coney Dog


Instead of serving your kids another hot dog, which they're sure to be bored of by now, make it exciting by giving them a Detroit-style twist. If you're not familiar with the style, then get ready to enjoy some authentic chili dogs with the kids.

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  • 1 Pound pound ground beef
  • 1/2 Cup chopped onion, plus more for garnish
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 Teaspoons salt
  • 2 Teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1/2 Cup tomato sauce
  • 3/4 Cups cracker meal, or crushed up Saltines
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 Teaspoons cayenne
  • 1 Teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 Teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4 Cups water
  • 4 regular hot dog buns
  • 4 natural casing hot dogs
  • Yellow mustard, for garnish


In a large pot over medium-high heat, sauté the ground beef, chopped onion, and garlic until the beef is cooked thoroughly, about 5-10 minutes. Drain off half of the fat and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add the tomato sauce and stir. 

In a small bowl mix the cracker meal with the rest of the spices. Add to the meat and cook until the cracker meal or crushed crackers are browned. Add the water and simmer for about 1 hour. Add more water if this gets too thick. Season again with salt to taste.

You may skip this last step if you like the texture of your chili, but many people say the traditional Coney Sauce is blended to make a smoother sauce. Use either a traditional blender or food processor, but if you have an immersion blender, that is preferable. Blend until you reach a thin consistency. Let the chili simmer for 10-15 minutes to let the flavors develop.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Wrap the hot dog buns in foil and place them in oven for about 10 minutes until they’re warm.

While the buns are warming, get the hot dogs ready. The original Coney Dogs are grilled but you can steam or boil the dogs if you’d prefer. Put the hot dog in the bun, top with chili, yellow mustard, and chopped onion.