Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Perfect Dog – From My Area That Is

I’ve mentioned this before, but I grew up in a small WV town that is crazy about hot dogs and has at least a half dozen stand-alone hot dog shops.  For that area of the world, the dog only had sauce (chili), mustard, and onion and the wiener was usually simmered in water.  I ordered 2 hot dogs at a local convenience store the other day and the lady making them made my two in more time than a WV hot dog shop would have made three dozen – but they are pros.

Bev made a batch of sauce the other day and for supper it was grilled hot dogs and baked sweet potatoes ala Roz for the second time in three days – as I said Bev really likes them as do I.

Bev has been making our hot dog sauce for several years, but I’ve always thought it was a little too sweet for my taste, even though she has cut way back on the ketchup from the WV recipe she started with - she'd been using about a cup.  For this batch, she totally omitted it and after tasting, we both thought it needed a little so she added 2 tbsp – I thought it was her best ever and decided to post her recipe – this is for a double batch. 

3 lb  ground beef – 93% lean
3 large onions, chopped very fine in the food processor
2 heaping tbsp chili powder (my homemade so it depends on what you use)
12 oz tomato paste
2 heaping tbsp ketchup (more if you want sweeter sauce)
Cayenne pepper to taste
Salt to taste

  • Don’t break the meat apart and cover meat with water in an 8 qt pot.  Bring to a boil and simmer until no longer, or just barely, pink in the middle. 
  • Remove meat from water and allow it to cool enough to handle. 
  • Slice the chunk of meat as thin as possible across the grain it has from the meat grinder.
  • After slicing, chop the slices into small pieces (this allows for the very small final pieces of meat in most hot dog sauces).  Change the process if you want larger pieces of meat.
  • Remove about half the liquid from the pot and reserve it.
  • Whisk tomato paste, ketchup, chili powder, and ½ tsp cayenne into water and return meat and add onions. 
  • After stirring everything together add back some reserved water to achieve the desired consistency.
  • Bring to a boil then simmer 15 minutes, taste and add cayenne and more chili powder as needed.
  • After 10 more minutes, taste and adjust cayenne. 
  • After about 10 more minutes, taste and make final adjustment of cayenne and add salt to taste and cook a final 10 minutes (45 minutes total).
It freezes very well so we store in pint and quart containers.

For supper, I deviated from the WV dog by grilling the wieners and by using larger ones – Angus Bun Size, but otherwise they were the same. 

For years, I thought this was the way all hot dogs were made and all of the others were not the real thing.  Now that I’ve seen a little more of the world, I realize that most places do them differently and my little area was the minority.  I’ve even grown to enjoy them other ways and would like to go to Chicago some time for one of their unique ones – “steamed all beef frankfurter, topped with yellow mustard, bright green relish, onions, tomato wedges, pickle spear or slice, sport peppers and a dash of celery salt served in a steamed poppy seed bun” – no sauce at all. 

While I still prefer my Marion County, WV dog, I will occasionally add cheese, or dill pickle, or yes even slaw, but however you like yours, if they include chili (sauce), you may want to give this recipe a try and adjust it to suit your taste.

If I ever open "Big Dude’s Que, Dogs, and Pepperoni Rolls", this is the sauce I’d use on the dogs.

All photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.

One year ago: One Pan Potatoes and Eggs & My Bloody Mary

Two years ago: Bacon Cheddar Meatloaf Ala Katherine


3/26/12  meal date


  1. We've had this discussion before...I've never heard of this kind of sauce. I'd dearly love to try it. And now thanks to you, I'm going to be craving hot dogs until I have a chance to make some. Tis the season. :)

  2. Ok, that looks seriously good! I adore dogs with chili sauce on them. Wash it all down with a nice cold beer and it's a little piece of heaven!!!

  3. Even though I just ate breakfast, I am suddenly craving a chili covered hot dog.
    I love the looks of your dogs! I think they should all be covered in chili sauce because they just taste so much better that way.

  4. I am way too hungry to be reading your blog right now! These look good. I'm not a huge fan of hot dogs, but every now and then they just sound delicious. My sister introduced me to Chicago style dogs a couple years ago and I LOVE them that way now too.

  5. And now I've got a wicked chili dog craving! The sauce sounds good, gotta make that!

  6. I love a good hotdog! Yours are smothered, just right!

  7. Well it doesn't have slaw like my favorite North Carolina style but I'd sure put a hurting on 2 of those! I'm also like you, I have always wanted to try an authentic Chicago dog.

  8. There was a great place in CT that made nothing but dogs and the fixins, called Blackie's. It was only open Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day, and people would line up for the grand opening. It was just that good. So I understand your attitude that there are dogs, and then there are Dogs.

  9. Growing up in Texas, we always had chili dogs. There is a chain in Houston that is probably everywhere now called Coney Island. Their hot dogs looked just like yours. You used to sit at a chair with a built in arm just big enough to hold your dogs and soda. I love Chicago dogs and if I go somewhere that makes them...that's what I getting.

  10. This sounds like a delicious way to have dogs.

  11. As may have mentioned in the past...My family is from WV. I have never been there. Going to try to change that this summer. If I do, I think I will stop and have a couple of hot dogs in your honor.

    Take care.

    P.S. I was tickled to see your comment about my garden on my facebook page-thanks! I have been loving working in the garden.

  12. That like no dog I've had before! We definitely love our dogs and sausages in Wisconsin with our local German heritage. That is one, serious WV dog! Sounds delicious and filling :)

  13. Hi, Larry. You just made my mouth water. The recipe sounds great! so I may just have to give it a go. Did you ever have one from the Cosmopolitan on High St in M'town?

  14. Not so good for me (since I'm dieting) --but OH how I love a good hot dog with chili and onions... YUM...

    Have a great weekend.

  15. No slaw? lol I'm from the part of West Virginia that requires the slaw! lol I even sometimes will get my hot dog with just slaw. That is how my daughter eats hers. My son eats his plain for now. My husband is an everything man and I have chili and slaw. I will have to try your chili recipe. I've never made chili before. I have this neat gadget from the Pampered Chef called the chop and mix. It is kind of star shaped and it chops up hamburger real fine just like you want for chili. I use it for my Mexican tacos and it does great!

    You will get a kick out of reading this! Apparently West Virginia Legislature makes slaw mandatory for all hot dogs in West Virginia! lol


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