Tabelog Reviewer burgerdogboy

Posts Tagged ‘Hot Dogs’

Coney Island Recipe – Hot Dog Sauce

I love coney island style hot dogs, which are not to be confused with chili dogs.  Coney islands follow a basic formula of a natural casing wiener, adorned with meat sauce, chopped raw onions, and yellow mustard.  There are variations of them around the midwest, usually at shops started by Greek families two or three generations ago.  Some of the more famous include American Coney in Detroit, Skyline and Gold Star in Ohio, and of course, Deluxe Coney in my home town of Duluth.

On occasion, I make my own sauce at home, whipping up a batch large enough to consume immediately, and freeze the rest in sandwich bags to take out whenever I have the urge over the succeeding couple of months.

My recipe has been developed and fine tuned over many years, and is similar to the sauces listed about, but not identical.  Each establishment has their own ‘secret ingredient’, I am sure.

Coney Island Style Hot Dogs

Ingredients for Sauce:

  • 6 C water
  • 1 6 oz can of tomato paste
  • 4 t chili powder
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t allspice
  • 1 t garlic powder
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 4 t cumin
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2  finely diced onions, one for broth, one for assembly later
  • 2 pounds 85/15 ground beef
  • High quality, natural casing hot dogs (I used Usinger’s)
  • Buns
  • Yellow mustard


Bring the water to a boil, and add and stir in the tomato paste. When thoroughly mixed, add the dry spices and herbs. Now here’s the twist, which is different that I usually would have done in the past, but it really works for this. Crumble the beef RAW into the broth, and the onions, and simmer for three hours or until reduced to a thickness that you prefer. You may have to further crumble the beef while cooking with a wooden spoon or potato masher, but chances are the hot water will do the job for you.  I usually end up cooking for considerably longer than three hours, reducing my concoction to a thick and meaty sauce.


Steam or griddle fry your dogs, place one on a bun slathered with yellow mustard. Ladle a quantity of chili to your personal preference and dust with diced onion.

Pictorial, step by step:

Coney Island Hot Dog Recipe

6 C water, 6 oz tomato paste

Coney Island Hot Dog Recipe

Spice / herb combination

Coney Island Hot Dog Recipe

Water, tomato paste, spices boiling


Coney Island Hot Dog Recipe

Crumble raw beef into ‘soup’



Coney Island Hot Dog Recipe

Usinger’s of Milwaukee, NC wieners


Coney Island Hot Dog Recipe

Finely diced onions


Coney Island Hot Dog Recipe

Lunch time!



Coney Island Recipe



Parkview Beef Wieners Review

Parkview Hot Dogs ReviewI have written about Parkview brand before, the in-house mark for processed meats at the discount grocer Aldi. These hot dogs are produced at a plant in Albert Lea, Minnesota, which was previously owned by Minnesota old-timey brand Schweigert’s, who make the official hot dog of the Minnesota Twins ( nearly 600,000 sold at the park this season).  Both the plant, and the current Schweigert’s brand are in the portfolio of Cargill these days.

The dogs come eight to a one pound pack, and the first two ingredients on the package are beef and water.  That’s a good thing, with pan shrinkage virtually unnoticeable.

The sausage has a very fine grind, and an extremely mild flavor. At 8/pound, a hearty bun is recommended, perhaps an S. Rosen Poppyseed, or equivalent.

BTW,  as pictured here?  I put the slices in the weenies prior to cooking, just for effect.

Parkview Hot Dogs Review

Parkview Beef Wieners Review

Letter from a Sabrett’s Fan

Robert, in New York, sent along some thoughts that I am happy to repost.  Thanks for the note, Robert.


I was born before World War 2

Food was scarce Do not remember much growing up,

At age 16  I started to eat Hot Dogs when I worked in New York City.

There was a little Sabrett hot dogs stand on the corner of the Custom House.

A hot dog was $.15 cents and the soda was a dime.

I would help the little old Greek lady set up.

After getting out of the Army I went back to work and she remembered me.

The prices changed but she still sold me a hot dog and soda for the same price.

Now at 76 …… I am still eating Sabrett Hot Dogs.

Why is it that you receive something that says you ‘won’ and then they ask you for money to send it.

Some of us try to help others -

I volunteer at a hospital.

All I have is my old 9-11 memorial Harley and a hell of a lot of memories.

If you dislike Firemen – Soldiers – Policemen, you are a fool or Terrorist ….if not for them you would not be here….

I was a Volunteer Fireman age 18, Soldier age 21, EMS Policeman age 25.

God Bless us all.

Algonquin, IL – Fradillio’s

Fradillio’s is another locally owned “hot dog centric” food establishment in the far northwestern ‘burbs of Chicago.  Featuring the best in local suppliers, Fradillio’s offers hot dogs and polish sausage from Vienna Beef, and Italian Beef from local favorite supplier Devanco.

I went with a bacon cheeseburger, cooked on the charbroiler, with a great bun, and it was delish.  Crinkle cut fries are on tap, served with just the right crispiness and lightly salted.

Fradillio’s offers a complete catering service, where you can feed a family or a crowd;  fill up about 30 persons with 5 pounds of Italian beef, a pan of mostaccioli, a pan of Italian sausage, a large bowl of house salad, and 10 loaves of French bread for $175.  Many other options and sizes available, including wings, ribs, hot dogs, and the like.

Fradillio’s is located at the corner of Highway 62 (Algonquin Road) and Randall Road, at the north end of the Randall Road shopping ‘mecca’.

Fradillio's Hot Dogs on Urbanspoon

Oscar Meyer Selects Angus Smoked Uncured Beef Franks

Whoa, that’s a long name.  Saw these the other day for the first time, when I was in the hunt for my usual brands, premium casing dogs like Usingers or Vienna Beef.

These were $3.99, for a 14 oz, 8 frank package;  they are bun length, and a bit redder in color than most grocery store dogs.

Ingredient list, and what a relief not to see “mechanically separated turkey and chicken” as one runs into so often lately:  Angus beef, water, dextrose, cultured celery juice, vinegar, sodium phosphates, cherry powder, lemon juice solids, flavors, extractives of paprika.

That’s pretty normal stuff.   Dextrose is a simple sugar found in plants, generally used in the curing process of meats, but these are uncured, so it is most likely a flavor enhancer.  Sodium phosphate is used as a preservative instead of nitrates. Dextrose contributes to fermentation which creates some portions of flavor.  All the rest is what it is!

As to putting “Angus Beef” on a label?  80% of beef cattle in the US are Angus, so that’s not a premium point.  I understand that “Certified Angus” is a big deal, if you see that on labels.

Point?  They’re tasty.  And for being a skinless dog, I’d put them on my ‘regular’ list.  With all beef franks, I usually get Nathan’s or Hebrew, but now I have a third choice.

And moms?  Remember to dice the dogs if feeding them to toddlers.

oscar meye

Joliet, IL – Steak ‘n Shake Steak Dog

First the  “Steakburger”, now the “Steak Dog”.  I’m a fan of Steak N Shake, have been for years, even though they never seem to be located in my part of the country, I stop when I am able.   My previous forays have been written about here.

This trip a mere dunk in / out as I was making my way across  “Main Street USA” (I-80) in Northern Illinois, Joliet to be exact, in search of Jake and Elwood.

The Steak Franks are 100% beef, chunks of sirloin, and are offered in varying styles, including “Chicago” (mustard, diced onions, sweet pickle relish, tomato slices, pickle slice, and sport peppers); “Chili Cheese” (Genuine Chili, shredded Cheddar ’n jack cheese, and diced onions); “Carolina Slaw” (mustard, diced onions, and creamy coleslaw); “Cheesey Cheddar” (grilled onions and smothered with loads of melted Wisconsin Cheddar).

I had a dog and a burger.  The dog’s beef flavor is great, one of the best for a skinless.  The only downside here was both buns were a bit “dry”.  They shouldn’t fall apart.

Steak ‘n Shake makes frequent references on their menu to “Genuine” chili, and I have no idea what that means, do you?  BTW, I saw billboards on my trip for S n S offering $3.99 all the pancakes you can eat.  Yummers.

Menu online, as is a locator.

Steak N Shake Steak Dog

Steak 'n Shake on Urbanspoon

New Orleans, LA – Dat Dog

A pal invited me to the haute dog place in New Orleans, “Dat Dog”, and it was over the top delicious on the tubular nutrition vehicle offerings.   Unimpressive website that tells you nothing, but the experience and first bite tell you everything.

These are quality sausages, made by a variety of purveyors.   My pal went for the crawfish dog, ground crawfish, seasonings in a casing,  it was damned good.

I opted for two selections, a traditional german wiener, and a “Slovakian”,  which was pure pork, seasoned, lightly smoked.

Both were excellent.

Fries were highly seasoned crispy shoestrings, adding cheese is a mistake, go with them naked.

Selection of beers, lots of outdoor tables, incredibly noisy, cash only.  Uptown neighborhood Nola, near the snooty college Burgerdogdaughter went to.

Earlier review by NOLA reporter here.

Dat Dog New Orleans

Slovakian, German Wiener, Crawfish


Dat Dog on Urbanspoon

Usinger’s Meats – Milwaukee, Wisconsin

I wrote a bit about Usinger’s the other day.  Here’s the rest of the story, as I prepare to dig into their natural casing “Old World Recipe” wieners.    Pretty straightforward ingredients with these pups,  beef and pork,  water, spices, sugar,  salt, paprika, and a couple of the sodiums as a preservative, in a natural lamb casing.   My kind of dog.  Mrs. Burgerdogboy will be sorry she missed out on these, she loves a good hot dog.

Back to the story.

Immigrant Fred Usinger Sr. arrived in Milwaukee from Frankfurt (!) in 1880, took over a little butcher shop in downtown, and eventually married a niece of the former owner.   Four generations later, family members are still running the company, which has grown to become a Milwaukee institution with a national reputation, in fact, Usinger’s hot dogs were the official supplier to the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake.  That’s recognition!

Usinger’s makes a wide variety of smoked and fresh sausages, in addition to deli meats.   Their hot dogs are described by many as “the best in the nation”, and received that accolade also in a 1984 book called “The Book of Bests“.

If you can’t get to the Upper Midwest, then just type in the URL, press click, and enjoy these great products at home.

Regional Profile – Sabrett Hot Dogs, Part 7

Natural Casing Beef Franks & Sauerkraut

I was really looking forward to the day we’d test these.  NC dogs are my favorite, and I love them with kraut and mustard.   Sabrett furnished us with all three components.

Sabrett’s Natural Casing Beef franks come 6 to a package, slightly longer than bun length; beef, water, salt, seasonings, smoke flavoring.  Certified gluten free.

Sabrett brand kraut package contains sauerkraut, water, and salt.   Sauerkraut is fun and easy to make at home, as well, its just shredded cabbage, salt, and six weeks of waiting!

I rolled these dogs around on a cast iron skillet to emulate the flat top griddle again.  Mrs. Burgerdogboy and I dressed them the same way, kraut and mustard only.   We used the Sabrett mustard, which is a really good product, very slightly hot, thick, great flavor.

I love these dogs.  Even tho I live on the opposite coast of where they are generally available in stores, I’m glad I can order them to be shipped out, when my urge arises.

Sabrett Skinless Bun Length Franks

Sabrett Natural Casing Frank

Regional Profile – Sabrett Hot Dogs, New York, Part 6

Skinless Bun Size Beef Frankfurters

Sabrett Skinless Beef Bun Length FranksWhat’s the difference between a hot dog, wiener,  and a frankfurter?  Well, in manufacturer parlance, franks are usually all beef, wieners tend to include pork, and hot dog has just become a generic term worldwide for basically almost any sausage on a bun. One of the largest differences in “hot dogs” is whether they are skinless or come in a  natural casing.

In my dozen or so years of looking at the hot dog industry, I’ve never been able to ascertain why the ‘skinless’ variety became so prevalent in the US.  Today, only about 5% of the hot dogs sold come with a natural casing, which as we previously discussed, are the small intestines of sheep.

In my own logic, I would think skinless became popular as a way to appeal to the younger consumer.  As I have mentioned on many occasions, my personal preference is a hot dog with a casing.  I like the ‘snap’ that comes with biting into one, and the casing (if not split during cooking), works as a self-containment device for the meat’s juices, producing a more flavorful snack.

So what’s the proper way to cook a hot dog?  There are as many manners and fashions as you can dream up, whether warming them in a skillet or hot water, the microwave, on the grill.  Most hot dogs in the US are fully cooked before packaging, so you are basically just warming them at home.

With a natural casing hot dog, the manner of cooking will proscribe whether or not the casing cracks open, but then again, there are people who have that preference.

Most often in a hot dog business, you’ll see one of two variations:  slow and low on a flat top griddle (which I emulate at home with a cast iron skillet), or there are some folks who insist the proper method is to boil water, shut off the heat, and drop the dogs in for five minutes.

How you choose to prepare them is a matter of your personal preference only. And I’m sure we all know people who eat them cold out of the package.

The Sabrett Skinless Beef Bun Length dogs come in a 14 oz package, with eight franks.

The ingredients are beef, water, salt, flavoring, garlic powder, and hickory smoke flavoring, with trace amounts of common additives.  The three additives in the Sabrett Skinless Beef dogs are standards in the preserved meat industry in the US, are compounds of the salt or sugar families, and are used to enhance flavor and preserve product color.

I found the Sabrett Skinless Beef Frank to be as good as any similar product I have ever tried.  They are flavorful with a nice texture.

They are available in groceries in these states, or online here or here.

This product will be a regular in our home!

Sabrett's Skinless Bun Length Franks

(Ed. Note: Sabrett furnished products for us to try).

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