by Heather Harris Brady
I was downstate last week for my son’s college orientation and it reminded me how much I miss the coney islands that are on nearly every corner around the Detroit metro area. When we lived there the coneys were our go-to, the best ones serve breakfast all day every day, so even the little people could always find something on the menu. They also have amazing greek salads, gyros and – yes, coney dogs.
I’m not enough of an authority to fine-slice the differences between the Flint and Detroit-style coney sauce, to me they are equally delicious. And if you order a proper Michigan coney it will arrive on a snappy Koegel dog with a soft bun.
This recipe is based on a post by goldendog in the Chowhound forum, and I’ve adjusted it a little bit. It may look red to you if you’re used to the brown stuff out of a can, but it’s got a nice balance of tomato, spice and kick. If you want more chili and less tomato use tomato juice instead. This would be a good crockpot sauce.
Coney Sauce, Michigan Style Makes about 1-1/3 c. sauce (enough for 6-8 coney dogs)
- 1 small white onion
- 1/2 lb. ground chuck
- 3 T. chili powder
- 1-1/2 t. garlic powder
- 1 t. Frank’s Red Hot
- 1 t. black pepper
- 1-1/2 t. salt
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 14-oz can tomato sauce
Peel and chop the onion, put it in a food processor bowl.
Pulse the onion until it’s finely chopped. Add the ground chuck.
Pulse again to a fine homogenous mixture.
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium. Add the meat and stir until browned.
Add all the rest of the ingredients.
Cook on a low simmer for about two hours. The sauce will get very thick. Remove the bay leaf.
Serve the coney sauce on a freshly grilled dog. If you want a ballpark feel wrap it up in a piece of aluminum foil.
The sauce will keep, refrigerated, for about three days. Freeze in a ziplock for longer storage.