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In Appreciation of the Coney Dog: Unofficial National "Chicagoist Salutes The Coney Dog" Month...Day.

By Karl Klockars in Food on Nov 25, 2008 8:00PM

There seem to be two camps of Chicagoist Foodies this month: the National Vegan Month camp, and the pro-chili-dog opposition. We're meat-sauce insurgents in the face of the Global War on Carnivores (GWOC). And Chuck's post yesterday about the glories of chili-dogs elicited this post from Tower 18: "Any former Detroiters on here? This post makes me want a Coney."

Well, Goddamn, Tower. You said the magic words.

Sorry about the dirty counter. I made these on New Years day to fight the headache.

Now, we know full well that the Coney Dog is a Michigander specialty. But: considering the fact that many a Chicagoan is a transplant from the mitten and may be in dire need of Coney transfusions from time to time, consider this a public service. The more Coneys made at home equal less call for Coneys taking up valuable space in our drag-it-through-the-garden dog culture.

I'm not a natural-born Coney guy. The Coney is more of an in-law to me, introduced to me through my Flint-bred wife. There are two different kinds of Coney - Flint style and Detroit style, the main difference between the two primarily one of dryness. After much study throughout Michigan and some adjustments to this recipe here, I've come up with a pretty good facsimile of the famed Lafayette Coney in Detroit. Prepare yourself for turmeric and cumin overload after the jump.

Coney Sauce is essentially a thin, meatless beanless chili. For the bare minimum of history on the dog, Wikipedia has the basics but suffice to say this is a diner classic. If you ever find yourself in downtown Detroit, a visit to the gritty Lafayette Coney is a must - much preferred to the glitzed up American Coney Island next door.


1 lb. ground beef
14 oz. chicken broth
6 oz V8 juice
4 T. Flour
1 T. Chili powder
1 T. Paprika
1 T. Turmeric
1 T. Cumin
1 T. Chicken Bullion Powder (or three cubes, crushed)

Hot dogs with a natural casing - Koegel Viennas if possible
Hot dog buns
Yellow mustard
Diced onion (optional)

Brown the ground beef in a skillet. In a blender, mix together the broth, V8, flour and spices. Add the spice and broth mixture to the ground beef and let it reduce for about 10-15 minutes to a nice thick consistency. In the meantime, heat water for the dogs, dice the onion, sort through your mustard selection, and so on.

When the Coney sauce mixture is reduced, return half to the blender and puree. It’s not going to look good - the yellowish-brownish color isn't exactly appetizing - but it’s going to taste good. Serve over steamed Koegel's with yellow mustard and the optional diced onion.

As for where to get these in the city? The only place we've found that even gives it a shot is the Hoagie Hut at Clark and Wrightwood (it's called a "Detroit Dog" on the menu board) but we don't recommend it. And a note to America's Dog: You can create regional hot dog specialties out of thin air for places all across the country and don't have a Coney on the menu? What the hell are you thinking?