Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Coney or Chili?

"I was born in Michigan,
And I wish and wish again
That I was back-
In the town where I was born."

The above is a very, very obscure reference to
the only song I know that mentions Michigan
(other than the state song) unless you count
Michigan J. Frog's ragtime ditty in the
Warner Bros. cartoons.

Actually, I really was born in Michigan, but
I don't need to do any wishing because I still live
here in The Mitten State.

The obscure reference mentioned above? I would give
an incredibly large prize to anyone who can
tell me what it's from.

Hint: Judy Garland sings it.

The thing that got me started on song lyrics was the
realization that I came to recently that not everyone
calls a hot dog with chili sauce on it
"a coney dog", presumably born in Coney
Island, but don't quote me on that. It's the only reason
I could come up with for naming a hot dog dressed
in specific condiments a Coney.

But apparently my insular upbringing limited
my knowledge. In other places, it's called simply
a chili dog: a simple, sensible name.

But here in Michigan, we're a little more colorful.
Unique, even.
Coneys they are, and shall remain.

"So it shall be written;
So it shall be done."
(cribbed from Pharoah himself in one of those
'cast of thousands' spectaculars of Cecil B. DeMille)

So this is a recipe for coney sauce, although
when I printed this off, I didn't immediately notice
that it's titled Chili Sauce. Ah, well.

I found this on Noble Pig's blog and it's the best thing I've
found there, and let me say, I've found a LOT of good
recipes on her website.

Off on another rabbit trail that will converge with my original topic, I promise:
my husband found himself travelling through
Ohio, and stopped for a meal at Tony Packo's in Toledo.
Anybody remember Klinger from M*A*S*H pining
for hot dogs from Tony Packo's in his hometown of Toledo?
It really exists, and they serve fabulous chili/coney dogs.
When my husband got home, he told me he thought their meat sauce tasted
amazingly like Noble Pig's
sauce that I had made the week before.
(See? And you thought I wouldn't be able to
connect the dots from coneys to M*A*S*H trivia, didn't you?)

Without further ado, I give you:

Noble Pig's Tantalizingly Tangy Chili-Cheese Dogs*


1# ground beef, 85-90% lean
1 bottle chili sauce (12 oz)
1 can kidney beans
1 pkt. chili seasoning (1.48 oz.)
1/2 cup water
2 Tablespoons buffalo wing sauce (I used Frank's Hot Sauce)
2 Tablespoons yellow mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice (I used bottled, worked fine)
1 teaspoon onion powder
8 beef hot dogs** and buns
Sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
White onion, chopped (I used yellow one)


In a large skillet, using medium heat, brown the ground beef. Add chili sauce, kidney beans,chili seasoning, water, buffalo wing sauce, yellow mustard, Worcestershire sauce, fresh lemon juice and onion powder. Bring to a boil. Simmer on low heat for 15 minutes.

Cook hot dogs. Place each hot dog in its bun and smother with chili, onion, and cheese.

*This sauce is even better the second time it's heated, so you may want to make it the day before you intend to serve it. The various flavors have time to meld together and become one with each other and the universe at large.

**In these parts, we use Koegel hot dogs, made in Flint, Michigan, a twenty-five minute drive from where I live. They are very superior, especially the viennas.

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