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Coney Island Hot Dog Sauce

Coney Island Sauce

Coney Island Hot Dog Sauce

It's summertime, time to serve Coney Dogs — Show your family the love!

Readers share their favorite Coney Dog recipes...

Growing up in Jackson, Michigan, I took many things for granted. Each Fourth of July we would pack up our vehicles to meet family and friends at the Cascades Falls. In those days the Cascades were free to all, you could walk around the falls and get soaking wet for free under all those beautiful lights. It was one of the highlights of our summers. Of course today they charge for this luxury.

Since my move to California I've had plenty of time to reflect on other things I never gave much thought to, until now. As a cook, food is certainly of concern. It took me almost five-years to locate a source to obtain Lake Perch, which is available everywhere in Michigan but difficult to obtain in California.

Believe it or not you can't buy a Coney Island Hot Dog here either. This seems so odd to me since we have one corner in Jackson (on Michigan Avenue) with three Coney Island Restaurants.

There is an A&W Root Beer stand located in Oakdale that sells Chili Dogs but anyone who's ever had a Coney Island Hot Dog can attest, it's like comparing apples and oranges.

I tried my best to convince the owner of the Mountain House Café here in Twain Harte to serve Coney Dogs when he opened but he was unable to find a supplier for the sauce and I guess he didn't want to bother with making it. I had never heard of anyone buying readi-made coney sauce.

The Mountain House Café has since gone out of business, maybe they should have taken my advice, we have many Michigan transplants in our area and I'll bet most of us have a craving for these wonderful Coney Island Dogs.

Which leads me to my solution. If you can't find it to buy, making it is the only other alternative. I spent one afternoon browsing the web, searching for the perfect Coney Island Sauce and found several to try out but the flavor was just a little off. So, I combined several recipes and added a few additional ingredients and created my own recipe that I'm pleased to share with you today. Give it a try and let me know what you think.

[Click on images for slideshow]

Homemade Coney Island Hot Dog Sauce
Homemade Coney Island Hot Dog Sauce

Grilled Coney Dogs
Grilled Coney Dogs

Coney Island with Mustard
Coney Island with Mustard

Coney Dog with Ketsup
Coney Dog with Ketsup



In a large 4-quart pot over medium high heat, combine water, ground beef and beef heart. Cook 10-15 minutes, or until meat is well browned. Be sure to crumble meat to a fine texture with a fork or spatula, drain excess fat and water (if necessary). In a frying pan, melt butter, add onions and garlic, stir until translucent. Add to hamburger mixture.

Stir in the mustard, vinegar, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, celery seed, hot pepper sauce, tomato sauce and ketchup. Mix well, reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 35 to 40 minutes. The longer it cooks, the better it is.

Grill hot dogs. Serve on a bun with lots of juice. The traditional Coney Island Hot Dog is served with chopped onions and mustard on the top but you can top it with your choice of toppings.

* Note: I use a Sweet Maui Onion or Vidalia Onion when in season.

Recipe yields: 6 servings, (I usually multiply this recipe by 5.)

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Be sure to buy only quality hot dogs. We use The Great Organic Beef Hot Dog by Applegate. These are the best dogs I've been able to find. You pay a little bit more but there is nothing to compare them to. Delicious!

The Buns are Important:

  • Fluffy Dinner Rolls, make excellent hot dog buns.
  • Pretzel Hot Dog Buns, are good even if you aren't making coney dogs.
  • Additional Notes:

    One reader (see below) recently wrote in that his family used to own the M-50 Dairy Bar and they used 50% ground beef and 50% beef heart. So, I tried it. The beef heart was perfect! I used 2# of beef heart and three pounds of ground beef. Cut off any fat, then put the meat threw the grinder add to hamburger mixture, continue cooking. I adjusted the recipe accordingly. I swear I was back in Jackson. For a special treat I made my own Hot Dog buns. Yum!

    I like to double or triple this recipe and freeze the left-overs. This coney sauce freezes well (be sure to use a quart size freezer bag and press flat, remove excess air) and will last for several months. Coney Dogs are a perfect treat on a hot summer night after a day at the beach. This recipe has lots of flavor but isn't spicy like chili sauce, the kids will love it.

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    Related Links

    E-mail a link to your favorite Coney Island hot spot and we'll post it here.

    Updated July 14, 2014

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