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The Authentic Detroit Coney Dog Recipe

Waits Coneys interior
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3.98 from 67 votes
The Detroit Coney Dog is a hot dog with heart. Literally. It's the beef heart that makes the difference. That's the secret ingredient in the pasty chili sauce that crowns the wiener.

Serve with: Vernor's Ginger Soda.

Course: Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: American


Servings: 2 Coney Dogs


Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes


  • 6 pork and beef blended frankfurters with natural casings
  • 6 hot dog buns
  • 1 white onion, chopped fine
  • Yellow ballpark mustard
  • 1 pound ground chuck
  • 1/2 pound ground beef heart
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 4 teaspoons American chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon Mortons coarse kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
  • 1.5 cups chicken or beef broth
  • 4 ounces tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
About the franks. Long skinny mostly pork franks are ideal because they usually are not as garlicky and spicy as beef franks, and beef franks just compete with the chili sauce for center stage. I have made this mistake. Koegel, Dearborn, and Kowalski are the local brands. Koegel is a pork and beef mix.
About the beef heart. If you can't find it, or are squeamish about it, just use more ground chuck.
About the salt. Remember, kosher salt is half the concentration of table salt so if you use table salt, use half as much. Click here to read more about salt and how it works.
Amp it up. Create your own variation by adding these common ingredients: Nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, mustard, turmeric for color, and basil. Some recipes I've seen use pickle relish. Feel free to use water instead of broth.
Shortcuts. It won't be authentic, but you can leave out the beef heart, the roux, and the blending. Still makes a pretty good topping.
Metric conversion:

These recipes were created in US Customary measurements and the conversion to metric is being done by calculations. They should be accurate, but it is possible there could be an error. If you find one, please let us know in the comments at the bottom of the page


  • Prep. In a small bowl, mix the American chili powder, paprika, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper. Mince the garlic.
  • Cook. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the ground beef and beef heart for 5 minutes or until brown. Crumble it as it cooks so it is brown all over.
  • Pour the meat into a strainer and drain the fat into a small sauce pan. Discard all but 3 tablespoons of fat. Whisk the fat and flour together over medium heat. This makes a roux. Cook it, stirring frequently, until it turns amber, about 15 minutes. Then whisk in the chicken stock, tomato paste, and vinegar. Let it sit on low a few minutes on low while you handle the next few steps.
  • Add the onion, garlic, and red bell pepper to the ground meat in the skillet and cook for another 5 minutes.
    Hot dogs on a flattop grill
  • Push everything aside and add the spices and cook in contact with the bottom of the pan for 2 minutes, stirring so the spices don't stick to the bottom. This "blooms" the flavor. Then mix them in with the meat.
  • Add the roux mix ingredients and stir it in. Simmer for at least 15 minutes, an hour is better.
  • Pour 1/3 the mix into your blender and puree it until it is pasty, and mix it back in. If you prefer you can use a stick blender to get the mix thick. Taste and add more of whatever you want.
  • Split the frank down the middle but don't cut it in half. Leave a hinge. This step is controversial. Some locals hate the concept. I like it because it creates more browned meat, and browned meat is better than chocolate. On a griddle, in a frying pan, or better still, on your grill, grilling the frank until it starts to brown on all sides. Steam the bun.
  • Serve. Put the frank on the bun, split side up. Squirt a line of mustard down its length. Spoon on a generous amount of Coney saucce, and top with the chopped onions. Serve with Vernor's.