Thursday, March 3, 2011

Detroit Coney Dogs

Detroit Coney Dog

I was at work chatting with some co-workers about our dinner plans. I explained that, at my husband’s request, I was going to attempt a Detroit style Coney Dog. “Detroit or Flint style?” one of them asked, while another nodded knowingly. “Ummm… yes?” was my ever-intelligent response. Despite having lived in Michigan for most of my life I have actually never had an authentic Detroit Coney dog (unless you count one from a chain restaurant in the Detroit airport during a layover on our honeymoon. And since it was less than delicious I won’t count it, so neither should you. Glad we settled that.) And I certainly have never had a Flint Coney dog. My one and only foray in to Flint, Michigan involved getting lost in what I can only describe as the ghetto, running out of gas, then my mom driving the wrong way on a one way street. Needless to say we didn’t exactly stop for dinner and chill after all of that.

From what I understand from my Mo-Town friends, this is a pretty authentic replica of a Motor City Coney dog. Apparently to make it even more authentic you can use a bit of ground up beef heart in place of some of the beef. In this case I’m ok with lacking a smidge of authenticity.

What I do know is that this beats the pants off any chili dog, Coney dog or just plain ole hot dog I’ve ever had. Slightly spicy and very hearty, it’s a definite Man-Food that this girl downright loved. Mo-Town rocks again.

One Year AgoWhite Wine Chicken with Mushrooms

Two Years AgoChewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Detroit-Style Coney Dogs
printable recipe
yields enough sauce for about 12 dogs

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 large onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups beef broth
4 ounces tomato paste
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Tabasco

Mix the chili powder, paprika, cumin, cinnamon, oregano, salt & pepper together in a small bowl. Set aside.

In a large skillet, brown the beef, chopping with a spatula to break into very small pieces. Add the onion and red pepper and sauté until the beef is browned and the onions and peppers are softened. Strain the beef mixture retaining 3 tablespoons of the fat, draining the rest.

Whisk the remaining beef fat with the flour to make a roux, stirring until golden. Stir in the beef broth, tomato paste and cider vinegar.

Add the beef back into the pot and stir together. Stir the seasonings into the pan and mix until combined. Let simmer for 15 minutes to an hour.

Serve over a hot dog in a bun. Traditionally served with chopped onion and mustard. Ever better if served with bottle of Vernors ginger ale!



  1. There's no shame in that- I have lived in Chicago my entire life and it took me about 23 years to finally have a Chicago-style hot dog! Never tried a Coney dog, but it looks good! Kinda like bolognese sauce on a hot dog :)

  2. It's kind of like that! Or I like to think of it is spicy sloppy joes on top of a hot dog (which doesn't sound bad either!)

  3. I love Detroit coney dogs, my favorite are from Senate in Dearborn. It took me years to figure out the recipe, good job! If you want looser chili, start by simmering the ground beef in 1C beef stock rather than browning it, it changes the texture of the chili. Great Post!

  4. Ooh thanks! I'm going to try that!

  5. that looks so good! i've never had a coney dog. i want to so badly though!

  6. Laura, I'm inviting you to join the Michigan Lady Food Bloggers. We're a group of Michigan women that like to write about food. Check us out!

  7. I have lived in Michigan all my life and until I moved to the Flint area I had never heard of 'Flint Style'. Now that I live here everyone gets the Flint Style but me, gotta say I'm a little afraid of it. Detroit style forever!

  8. I actually went to a restaurant a few weeks ago that served coney dogs. I asked the server the difference between the two kinds and she shrugged and said "I don't know. Something like it's kinda runny or something". Glad she cleared that up for me ;)