Chili dog vs. Coney dog ?

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mikejames533
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Chili dog vs. Coney dog ? - Sat, 10/29/11 1:45 PM
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What is the difference between a chili dog and a coney dog?

ConeyIslandLou
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Re:Chili dog vs. Coney dog ? - Sat, 10/29/11 2:10 PM
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mikejames533


What is the difference between a chili dog and a coney dog?

About the same difference between a Coney dog and a Texas wiener

jman
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Re:Chili dog vs. Coney dog ? - Sat, 10/29/11 2:40 PM
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Geography

MetroplexJim
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Re:Chili dog vs. Coney dog ? - Sat, 10/29/11 4:52 PM
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In the Midwest the chili has a hint of cinnamon in it and is a bit sweet; Coney dogs have a strong note of cumin.

John Fox
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Re:Chili dog vs. Coney dog ? - Sat, 10/29/11 5:40 PM
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Chili dogs can have any type of chili. Many of the carts and trucks in the New York City/New Jersey area serve tomato based chili. Coney dogs contain mustard, onions, and usually a Greek type chili with spices such as cumin, nutmeg, cinnamon.

Foodbme
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Re:Chili dog vs. Coney dog ? - Sat, 10/29/11 5:50 PM
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Coney Sauce tends to be a thinner consistancy with finely chopped beef (or in the case of TDJ_TX's Recipe, finely ground Frankfurters) in it. Also contains cinnamon.
 
Here's TDJ_TX's Recipe. It's the best I've had:
TDJ_TX Texas Hot - Wiener Sauce
4-5 cups water Less if you like it thicker
12 to 16 oz finely ground hotdogs (I prefer Hebrew National skinless all beef)
1/2 cup cornstarch (dissolved in a little cold water)

1/4 Cup White Vinegar
1 Tsp of Thyme
1 Tbls paprika
1 Tbls chili powder
1 Tsp sea or kosher salt
1/2 Tsp onion powder
1/4 Tsp white pepper
1/2 Tsp oregano
1/2 Tsp cinnamon
1 Tsp crushed red pepper flakes
A few grinds of fresh black pepper

Bring everything to a boil, except the cornstarch.
Let simmer for 30 minutes, then slowly add the cornstarch mixture, stirring constantly. Bring back to a boil, and keep stirring.
Taste along the way, adjusting the salt or pepper as you like it.
Serve on your favorite hotdog, with brown mustard, diced onion, in a steamed hotdog bun. This sauce will be thin, it is supposed to be, it is not a "chili dog" recipe. The sauce will thicken as it cools. It freezes well.

Note; Each time you reheat the sauce, it will get thicker

 
Chili Dogs tend to have thicker traditional chili on them sometimes beans are included.
 
<message edited by Foodbme on Sat, 10/29/11 5:52 PM>

stricken_detective
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Re:Chili dog vs. Coney dog ? - Sun, 10/30/11 5:40 PM
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Every time you guys say Texas Wiener, I giggle. Because I'm 12.
 
Everyone above has explained it perfectly. You would not expect to find beans on a Coney, but may or may not find them on a chili dog.
 
If you want to feed a crowd, cut up the dogs, cook them in the chili/coney sauce & serve the sauce over noodles, rice, mashed potatoes or split & toasted hot dog buns. No matter which sauce, I need it to have cheese & onions. YUM!


mikejames533
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Re:Chili dog vs. Coney dog ? - Wed, 11/2/11 7:50 PM
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Thanks for all the great feedback. I always thought the difference was the use of chili powder. A chili dog sauce included chili powder and coney sauce did not.
However maybe that's not the case. Foodbme thank you for sharing the recipe. If the Texas wiener sauce is a coney sauce it has chili in it. Hmmmmmmm

Foodbme
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Re:Chili dog vs. Coney dog ? - Wed, 11/2/11 8:12 PM
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mikejames533


Thanks for all the great feedback. I always thought the difference was the use of chili powder. A chili dog sauce included chili powder and coney sauce did not.
However maybe that's not the case. Foodbme thank you for sharing the recipe. If the Texas wiener sauce is a coney sauce it has chili in it. Hmmmmmmm

The Texas Wiener Sauce is a Coney Sauce by another Mother!

Michael Hoffman
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Re:Chili dog vs. Coney dog ? - Wed, 11/2/11 9:38 PM
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The basic difference is one is topped with actual chili, the other by some sort of sauce.
 
And that's the last word on the subject.

mikejames533
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Re:Chili dog vs. Coney dog ? - Thu, 11/3/11 12:20 AM
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I meant to say the Texas wiener sauce has chili powder in it.

Major Weiner
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Re:Chili dog vs. Coney dog ? - Fri, 12/9/11 9:23 PM
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Wow! How uninformed you people are. I used to live in Michigan which is heavy into Coney Dogs!
A coney consists of a dog,  a meat sauce made of ground beef with spices that is thick and not runny, mustard & lots of onions on a steamed bun. AWESOME!
 
Foodbme,
 
You seem to have many opinions but no experience. Please do us all a favor and shut up!
 
Just saying!
 

CLVdog
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Re:Chili dog vs. Coney dog ? - Fri, 12/9/11 9:31 PM
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Its all just variations on the same theme. Any attempt to classify them as different is just plain wrong. Sorry if I hurt anybodys ego !
 

Russ Jackson
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Re:Chili dog vs. Coney dog ? - Sat, 12/10/11 6:51 AM
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Detroit Coney Sauce
 
In a very large preheated pot with 1 cup of lard simmer 5 lbs of ground round and 1/2 lb cow heart ground fine on medium heat until it seperates and turns just brown. This mixture must be stirred regularly and mashed during process to create a kind of rough paste. 
In a cast iron skillet put 6 tablespoons of butter and melt it then add 6 tablespoons of flour and make a light brown roux and set aside. Cut 3 tomatoes in half and roast in a 450 degree oven with a little vegatable oil on top until completely cooked and starting to turn into mush with a slight browning taking place. Set these aside.Add 32 ounces of chicken stock to meat simmer for 20 minutes at a slight boil then add roux, cooked tomatoes, 3 tablespoons chili powder,4 table spoons paprika,1/3 cup plochmans yellow mustard,2 tablespoons tumeric, 2 tablespoons cumin powder, 1 tablespoon garlic powder not salt,and 1 tablespoon onion powder. Simmer this down to the proper consistancy. At least 2 hours. If it gets to thick add more chicken stock. The heart can be left out however it gives a specific flavor that cannot duplicated any other way...Russ

Michael Stern
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Re:Chili dog vs. Coney dog ? - Sat, 12/10/11 7:49 AM
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I agree that the differences are geographic and linguistic more than culinary, but it's always seemed to me that sauce for a chili dog more likely will contain beans and/or tomatoes where as Coney sauce rarely does. The sauce on a Texas hot wiener is more like the latter. Am I right, John?
 
Chili dog:

 
Coney Island:


mar52
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Re:Chili dog vs. Coney dog ? - Sat, 12/10/11 2:05 PM
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Michael,  I've never seen beans in a chili dog served anywhere in Southern California.  Are there areas that do that?
 
I have several pictures of chili dogs in my report made a few years ago.  (One of them was labeled a Coney from Detroit)
 
http://www.roadfood.com/Forums/tm.aspx?m=465846&high=san+fernando
 
 

pnwchef
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Re:Chili dog vs. Coney dog ? - Sat, 12/10/11 2:40 PM
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Going back years ago when the Chili dog and Coney dog evolved it was a much simpler time. The only condiments we had in our Bridgeport, Conn hot dog stands were, mustard, relish, raw onions, kraut, chili. I don't think they even offered a Chili dog with beans on a Chili dog, or a Coney. The Greek's Hot Dog stand in Bpt always put real bacon bits in the bun and then put the fried dog, then the topping. All the dogs were dresses by the guy behind the counter. I never thought there was much of a difference between a Coney and a Chili dog.................pnwc
<message edited by PNWCHEF on Sat, 12/10/11 5:14 PM>

ann peeples
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Re:Chili dog vs. Coney dog ? - Sat, 12/10/11 4:26 PM
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Chili dogs are, well, in Milwaukee, just that. Chili(mostly with beans) served over a hot dog with cheese and onions. Dont know about coney dogs.

Michael Stern
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Re:Chili dog vs. Coney dog ? - Sat, 12/10/11 5:13 PM
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Mar52, I don't recall seeing beans on a California chili dog. Maybe it's more a Northeastern thing, the ultimate example being a Bean Dog of Fall River, Massachusetts (which doesn't purport to be chili at all):


mikejames533
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Re:Chili dog vs. Coney dog ? - Sat, 12/10/11 5:26 PM
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Mar52, Thank you for sharing your chili dog report.
 
Mike

mar52
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Re:Chili dog vs. Coney dog ? - Sat, 12/10/11 6:27 PM
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Thanks to Michael and Mike.
 
I've never seen a bean dog.  Thank you for posting the picture.
 
 

ChrisOC
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Re:Chili dog vs. Coney dog ? - Sat, 12/10/11 7:39 PM
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7 /11 has chili for your hotdog with beans in it.

UncleVic
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Re:Chili dog vs. Coney dog ? - Sun, 12/11/11 1:47 AM
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I really don't think there's any difference between the Coney or Chili dog, other then the way the shop owner labeled it..  And as Ann mentioned in Milwaukee, their chili dogs have beans.  It could be a regional thing there, but most places I see this is at a restaurant.  They normally sell chili by the cup or bowl, so when someone orders a chili dog, the cook the dog, walk over to the soup station and ladle on their 'chili'. 
Russ, couple of the Greek recipes I have, they go lb to lb on the lard and beef, same with the heart being lb to lb to the beef...  But with there being so many variations, I'm glad you posted an honest one there!
Mr Stern...  That bean dog you posted looks like a 'Boston dog'...  (Hot dog covered in baked beans)... ?
And Major Weiner... Those thick and not runny dogs are Flint Style as they call it... (Detroit be far thinner).  I'm also from Michigan, and have devoured more then my fair share of chili dogs!  Most places I've been to serve them thin and sometimes runny, but normally thin to say the least...  (Unless they ladle on the chili from their soup line, then it's thick and runny... Not to mention messy)...
Love this topic! Hope to hear more people jump in...
 

John Fox
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Re:Chili dog vs. Coney dog ? - Sun, 12/11/11 7:27 AM
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Michael Stern


I agree that the differences are geographic and linguistic more than culinary, but it's always seemed to me that sauce for a chili dog more likely will contain beans and/or tomatoes where as Coney sauce rarely does. The sauce on a Texas hot wiener is more like the latter. Am I right, John?

Chili dog:


Coney Island:



The sauce on a Texas Hot Wiener, or Coney IS more like the latter picture. I've been to many hot dog establishments in the Northeast region of the country and in my experience most chili dogs do not contain beans. There is no set rule. In New Jersey where I live the great majority of places do not have beans in the chili. But I've come across many places that serve chili with beans.
 
It gets sort of complicated. Here there are trucks and carts that serve Sabrett beef hot dogs. Many of them have chili that do not fit the definition of Texas Weiner or Coney. The chili can be canned versions like Castleberry and are tomato based. Many vendors use a packaged chili (with or without beans) and doctor it up. Many places like Father & Son and JJ's truck serve a hot chili (spicy) similar to the Kuhn's chili that is popular in Connecticut.
 
When we talk about Texas Weiners in Jersey, there are 2 basic types. The Paterson area "Hot Texas Weiners" and the Plainfield area Texas Weiners. Paterson (including Clifton and all of Passaic County) Texas Weiners are deep fried pork and beef franks that are served with mustard, onions, and a thin chili sauce that is heavy on spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, etc. The brand of dog is often Thumann's made for deep frying. Places that fit into this category are Libby's, the Hot Grill, Pappy's, Johnny & Hanges, and Falls View. There are many others.
 
The Plainfield area Texas Weiner is a grilled rather than deep fried pork and beef frank that is topped with a thicker chili. It has some of the same spices that the Paterson area Texas Weiner does, but it is hotter/spicier. Almost all of these places use a Grote & Weigel griddle frank. This type of Texas Weiner is close to what many call a Coney. Examples of this style include Texas Weiner l and ll in Plainfield and Greenbrook, the Red Towers, J&G in Dunellen, Manny's Texas Weiners.
 
The Coneys I've come across in the Hudson Valley New York, PA, New England, and even some places in Jersey include a thicker chili sauce (again beanless) similar to the Plainfield area Texas Weiner described above; but it isn't as hot/spicy. Similar spices such as nutmeg, allspice, etc. Most of these places are either owned by or were started by Greeks. The Coneys I've come across are mostly beef/pork dogs, but the brand varies. While Jersey Texas Weiners for the most part stick to Thumann's deep fryer for one style and Grote & Weigel for the other (both high quality dogs with casing), the Coney joints use a variety of brands and either skinless or natural casing. I've come across Hatfield, Berks, and Kunzler in PA, and Tobins, Hatfield, Grote & Weigel, Kayem, and other brands in New York and New England. There is also more variation in the way the dogs are prepared. They can be grilled, fried, or steamed.
 
In short, all dogs with chili are chili dogs. Not all chili dogs are Texas Weiners or Coneys. These have subtle differences depending on region, but for the most part use a beanless chili, have a spicing that has Greek origins, and use a milder beef/pork frank. A dog labelled a chili dog can be any type or brand with chili that may or may not have beans, can be tomato based or not, and can be extremely spicy. They can be prepared any way.

seafarer john
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Re:Chili dog vs. Coney dog ? - Mon, 12/12/11 10:07 AM
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Thanks to John Fox for what should be the definitive  description of "coneys" , "Texas hots, and "chili dogs".
 
One thing I might add is that here in the mid-Hudson valley
the quality of the dog is definitely secondary to the sauce. The dog , to this untrained eye and palate, is usually a relatively small, bland, pork/beef thing that stripped of it's sauce is not much of a joy to eat. But, the sauce raises that humble dog to extravagant heights of culinary satisfaction.
 
As an extraneous aside, I have to say the best hot dog I have ever eaten was at Galloping Hill (on the first John Fox Hot Dog Tour) where the dog is of excellent quality and the roll on which it is served is worth the trip itself. To my taste the only way to eat this great dog is with mustard and sauerkraut.
 
Cheers, John  

the grillman
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Re:Chili dog vs. Coney dog ? - Mon, 12/12/11 1:41 PM
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To me, a chili dog has chili, mustard, and onion, and the coney dog has chili and cheese, sometimes onion, but rarely mustard.  Do I have that wrong?
 
FWIW, I like the chili dog variation with mustard and onion.  Cheese just seems superfulous to me.

mar52
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Re:Chili dog vs. Coney dog ? - Mon, 12/12/11 2:32 PM
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I agree with the grillman.  Cheese takes away from the taste.
 
In Southern California I find the addition of a tomato wedge is included.  I say...  No cheese and no tomato... please.

ann peeples
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Re:Chili dog vs. Coney dog ? - Mon, 12/12/11 3:41 PM
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I grew up with a chili/cheese dog.Thats what I know.I would absolutely love to eat the differences-the best example of my new experience was at Snoopy's in Raleiegh-chili, onions, coleslaw.No cheese!Cheese may be a northern thing.The coleslaw was new to me!As I recall, no beans for their dogs....

Mib
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Re:Chili dog vs. Coney dog ? - Fri, 12/30/11 1:30 PM
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I actually have the original recipe from the Texas Weiner "restaurant" that was in Plainfield, NJ. It was owned by a Greek gentleman. For years I have been trying to figure out a way to market it. My son and I have reduced the original recipe for 8# of beef to 1# and it's just incredible. We always serve it with a thin hot dog, yellow mustard, onions and sauce. Perhaps I should start to sell the spice mixture on this forum! 

Foodbme
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Re:Chili dog vs. Coney dog ? - Fri, 12/30/11 2:16 PM
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Mib

I actually have the original recipe from the Texas Weiner "restaurant" that was in Plainfield, NJ. It was owned by a Greek gentleman. For years I have been trying to figure out a way to market it. My son and I have reduced the original recipe for 8# of beef to 1# and it's just incredible. We always serve it with a thin hot dog, yellow mustard, onions and sauce. Perhaps I should start to sell the spice mixture on this forum! 

Welcome to Roadfood!
Happy you have a great recipe!
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TxGrl
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Re:Chili dog vs. Coney dog ? - Mon, 01/2/12 9:37 PM
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Well, I don't know how they do it in New England, but as a fifth generation Texan, we call 'em Chili dogs: and the chili has no beans. We lightly toast and butter the buns, I prefer all beef Nathan hot dogs cooked on the grill until split: add mustard, yellow or deli (NEVER ketchup) top with chili, dill pickle rellish, grated cheddar, and chopped onions. That's how great grandma ate 'em, and how we all do in my family, including reunions. I never heard of a coney until a Sonic franchise came to our small country town. ;)

ConeyDetroit
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Re:Chili dog vs. Coney dog ? - Fri, 01/6/12 10:00 PM
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I have eaten a lot of coneys and visited well more than a hundred coney island restaurants in the Detroit area for the book Coney Detroit, coming out of Wayne State University Press in April.
 
Detroit and Michigan are the epicenter of the coney nation with hundreds of coney islands and lots of different ways of making them, as well as variations such as the coney taco, the coney pizza and the omelet. (I am not making this up.)
 
These are the essentials of a coney island:
 
A meat sauce (Detroit style) or topping (Flint style) on a hot dog (traditionally with a natural casing) in a bun (should be steamed) topped with minced white onion and yellow mustard.
 
Some will argue about whether the onion should be minced or chopped, machine cut or hand cut, and I have seen it all. A few places will put the mustard and onions on before the coney sauce. There is lots of regional pride and competition over Flint-style vs. Detroit-style coneys, but both are coneys. (We get into all that and even visited the sauce, hot dog and bun factories.)
 
For Coney Detroit, we had a dozen photographers shoot in Detroit, Flint, Jackson, Port Huron, Battle Creek, Traverse City, Ypsilanti, as well as outside of Michigan in Worcester, St. Petersburg and near Las Vegas. They are not just a Michigan thing, of course, but no one does more of them.
 
A coney dog is a distinctive subset of chili dogs. One important distinction: Coney sauce has NO BEANS. We enjoyed a lot of coneys as we did the book, but the real coney story is about the great people, many of them Greek and Albanian, whose families turned this food into a phenomenon in Detroit and Michigan.
 
Joe Grimm
 

Foodbme
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Re:Chili dog vs. Coney dog ? - Fri, 01/6/12 11:20 PM
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ConeyDetroit


I have eaten a lot of coneys and visited well more than a hundred coney island restaurants in the Detroit area for the book Coney Detroit, coming out of Wayne State University Press in April.

Detroit and Michigan are the epicenter of the coney nation with hundreds of coney islands and lots of different ways of making them, as well as variations such as the coney taco, the coney pizza and the omelet. (I am not making this up.)

These are the essentials of a coney island:

A meat sauce (Detroit style) or topping (Flint style) on a hot dog (traditionally with a natural casing) in a bun (should be steamed) topped with minced white onion and yellow mustard.

Some will argue about whether the onion should be minced or chopped, machine cut or hand cut, and I have seen it all. A few places will put the mustard and onions on before the coney sauce. There is lots of regional pride and competition over Flint-style vs. Detroit-style coneys, but both are coneys. (We get into all that and even visited the sauce, hot dog and bun factories.)

For Coney Detroit, we had a dozen photographers shoot in Detroit, Flint, Jackson, Port Huron, Battle Creek, Traverse City, Ypsilanti, as well as outside of Michigan in Worcester, St. Petersburg and near Las Vegas. They are not just a Michigan thing, of course, but no one does more of them.

A coney dog is a distinctive subset of chili dogs. One important distinction: Coney sauce has NO BEANS. We enjoyed a lot of coneys as we did the book, but the real coney story is about the great people, many of them Greek and Albanian, whose families turned this food into a phenomenon in Detroit and Michigan.
Joe Grimm

Welcome Coney Detroit!
We look forward to your discussions on here. If you have time, suggest you read as many threads under the "Hot Dogs, Sausages and Bratwurst" Forum as you can to familiarize yourself with some of the discussions on here that have involved Hot Dogs in all it's various forms from all regions of the Country.

John Fox
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Re:Chili dog vs. Coney dog ? - Sat, 01/7/12 6:00 AM
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Coney Detroit,
 
As for the actual franks that are used in the Detroit area, what do you prefer out of Koegels, Winter Sausage, and Dearborn Sausage?

Russ Jackson
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Re:Chili dog vs. Coney dog ? - Tue, 01/10/12 8:29 AM
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ConeyDetroit


I have eaten a lot of coneys and visited well more than a hundred coney island restaurants in the Detroit area for the book Coney Detroit, coming out of Wayne State University Press in April.

Detroit and Michigan are the epicenter of the coney nation with hundreds of coney islands and lots of different ways of making them, as well as variations such as the coney taco, the coney pizza and the omelet. (I am not making this up.)

These are the essentials of a coney island:

A meat sauce (Detroit style) or topping (Flint style) on a hot dog (traditionally with a natural casing) in a bun (should be steamed) topped with minced white onion and yellow mustard.

Some will argue about whether the onion should be minced or chopped, machine cut or hand cut, and I have seen it all. A few places will put the mustard and onions on before the coney sauce. There is lots of regional pride and competition over Flint-style vs. Detroit-style coneys, but both are coneys. (We get into all that and even visited the sauce, hot dog and bun factories.)

For Coney Detroit, we had a dozen photographers shoot in Detroit, Flint, Jackson, Port Huron, Battle Creek, Traverse City, Ypsilanti, as well as outside of Michigan in Worcester, St. Petersburg and near Las Vegas. They are not just a Michigan thing, of course, but no one does more of them.

A coney dog is a distinctive subset of chili dogs. One important distinction: Coney sauce has NO BEANS. We enjoyed a lot of coneys as we did the book, but the real coney story is about the great people, many of them Greek and Albanian, whose families turned this food into a phenomenon in Detroit and Michigan.

Joe Grimm


 
Welcome Coney Detroit,
 
I hope this is not your one and only post. If it is I guess we will consider it a Detroit drive by. Being from Detroit myself I have not found a more passionate group when it comes to the Hot Dog. Defending them as the first and best Coney in the country. I agree and have found a true Detroit Coney to be in a league of its own. Most other concoctions around the country revolve around an inferior hot dog with a masking sauce. Detroit uses only top quality for the entire process. A boiled Dog would never fly in Detroit. Would love to hear more incite about the up coming book and what your favorites were.  Plus yours or any recipes you picked up along the way? And maybe a nice picture of a Coney for those of us no longer there....Russ 

buffetbuster
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Re:Chili dog vs. Coney dog ? - Tue, 01/10/12 9:06 AM
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ConeyDetroit-
Welcome to Roadfood and thanks for the excellent reply.  This sounds like a book I will be interested in buying when it comes out. 

John Fox
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Re:Chili dog vs. Coney dog ? - Tue, 01/10/12 9:22 AM
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I too will be buying this book. Speaking of books, I got an e-mail from Bruce Craig who already has a book out called Hot Dog: A Global History. His new book will be coming out in June or July of this year. It will be called Man Bites Dog. It will be about the regional styles of hot dogs and hot dog culture in America.
 
I met with Bruce and a photographer over the summer and took him on a Tour of a bunch of Jersey places that will be included in the book. Of course there will be a section on Detroit Coneys. Bruce travelled the country for over a year doing research for this book. I'll let you know when it becomes available.

Foodbme
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Re:Chili dog vs. Coney dog ? - Tue, 01/10/12 10:48 AM
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Coney Detroit,
Is "Coney Detroit" the title of your book?
Will it be available on Amazon.com?

TnGuy
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Re:Chili dog vs. Coney dog ? - Tue, 01/10/12 1:36 PM
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Foodbme


Coney Detroit,
Is "Coney Detroit" the title of your book?
Will it be available on Amazon.com?

 
http://www.amazon.com/Coney-Detroit-Painted-Turtle-Katherine/dp/0814335187/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1326220240&sr=1-1
 
 
 
David

Fenway
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Re:Chili dog vs. Coney dog ? - Sun, 03/25/12 12:12 PM
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I grew up just outside of Fall River, Mass., and if it is the place i am thinking of, the dog you are showing is baked beans and not chili. But it is delicious just the same!

pitaaaaaaaaa
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Re:Chili dog vs. Coney dog ? - Mon, 04/2/12 9:37 PM
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Wow, that's a beast! I can only find plates like that at the fairs, maybe even outside farmers' market.
 
Thanks for sharing that ahh-mazing macro-filled photo !

Jamerican28
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Re:Chili dog vs. Coney dog ? - Thu, 09/19/13 11:10 AM
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mikejames533


What is the difference between a chili dog and a coney dog?

Real coneys use ground beef heart and beef suet as the base for their coney sauce.  They also have several spices added to it before it is simmered in a large pot.  They are topped with mustard and onion.  These types of coneys were founded in Jackson, Michigan back in the late 30's early 40's and most food historians credit this as the birthplace of coneys in America although Detroit, New York, and other places dispute that laying claim to their birth in America.  Once you've had a Jaxon style coney dog like this you'll know the distinct difference between a coney and a chili dog. 
 
Detroit style and most New York coneys are a runnier base.  They are similiar to a chili dog except they have spices added to their sauce.  They also are topped with onion and mustard.  The texture is runny and the taste is different as not much ground meat is used.  The flavor of the spices used, generally Greek, Hungarian, Macedonian, or some type of that kind of ethnic food, are often what people associate Coney Island diners with.
 
There are other places such as Flint that have a coney sauce similiar to the Jackson style but use a ground hamburger and Greek spice base for their sauce.  They also are topped with onion and mustard.  These are close to a Jackson coney in texture but have less tang with the absence of beef heart. 
 
The rest of the country west of the midwest and south of New York that I've been generally just refers to chili dogs as coneys.  Cincinatti is a perfect example.  Their sauces, though good, are not true coney sauces.  They are chili.
 
In my mind without beef heart being used in a grind you don't really have that tangy taste that I associate with a coney but the addition of Greek style spices even without the beef heart still make those types distinctly different from a regular chili dog.  In the end what you associate as a coney is largely based on what region of the country you're from.  If I can post some pictures here I will.
<message edited by Jamerican28 on Thu, 09/19/13 11:16 AM>

Jamerican28
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Re:Chili dog vs. Coney dog ? - Thu, 09/19/13 11:22 AM
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Jackson/Flint style coney:

 
Detroit/New York style coney:

 
Chili dog: