No, this is not some boring history of the hotdog. Nobody cares about that except those of you who know who you are, and already know because you obsess about stupid stuff like that.
No, hotdogs are in the blood of every real American, and that’s all that needs be said.
However, not every hotdog is created equal. We all know that too.
Now if you were born and raised in Flint, Michigan, as I was, you know that there is really only one authentic hotdog and it’s a sin that every other hotdog maker doesn’t voluntarily bankrupt itself. I speak of the Koegel’s, the finest hotdog creation in the history of the Milky Way.
Ex-Flintites regularly order their hotdogs online. And no Margaret, there is no turkey, chicken or pork in any self-respecting hotdog. The mere look at their website and the picture of that lovely Koegel’s Ring bologna, brings tears to my eyes of evenings spent munching a hunk of bologna and a chunk of cheese. Bliss. . . .
But I digress.
Some time ago, I ran upon a recipe at JustAPinch regarding “coney island sauce.” So I scurried to the recipe, and it looked interesting so I gave it a try. It was quite nice, but it got me to investigating further, since my heart began to ache for what I missed so much, the REAL CONEY ISLAND SAUCE.
In posting the JustAPinch recipe, I alluded to this topping being more akin to Flint Coney Dogs, which is more a loose-meat topping, and referred to a google picture I found. I compared this to the picture above, which is a Lafayette Coney Island, which is more of a gravy. Indeed, if you were to walk into Lafayette Coney Island and request “chili fries” you would get french fries covered in this coney dog sauce.
This all occurred at my food site, What’s On the Stove?
Well. I don’t get much in the way of comment there, but I sure did on this one. The recipe called for some hot sauce, and I was told that no self-respecting Flintite ever ate a Coney Island from an authentic Flint Coney Island which had any hot sauce in it. And she bet I had never BEEN to Flint.
Of course, I said, the recipe results only “looked” like a loose-meat topping similar to what a Flint Coney appeared to look like. In any case, I had stated that I don’t recall ever eating a Flint Coney.
Now, Detroit coneys. That’s a very different thing. When I worked in Detroit, our back door was about 40 feet from a Greek coney joint, by the name of Zorba’s, which I think might have been open 24-hours a day. It was across from the then Police Headquarters, and it had a fine flow of cops, attorneys, and all the usual riff-raff that attend such groups.
Don’t ask me to explain why Greeks in Detroit have a corner on the All-American hotdog, but they do. All the best coney joints are owned by Greeks.
I, over some 20 years, ate a boat load of those coneys at Zorba’s, and we knew the staff by name. everybody was a sister or brother, cousin or parent of everyone else. From time to time I ate a few Lafayette Coney Island’s as well (located across town in the Lafayette Building). They are pretty much indistinguishable, but no doubt a good few connoisseurs would argue that point as well.
Anyway, they are nothing like a Flint Coney, they are nothing like a Long Island Coney, they are not like any hotdog topping anywhere in the world. If you have not had one, you have not lived. You are not American. You sir or ma’am don’t know chit about hotdogs!
So, I found a copycat recipe for Lafayette Coney sauce. And I made it. And it smells perfect. And I am in heaven. And you are not. So there. (I’m posting it later today on the food site, so if you want to try it, by all means do. It’s a weird little recipe, but not hard at all, and it is really really the only way to eat a hot dog.
And the proper way to fix your dog? Lay out your bun, drop your dog on it. Ladle your sauce over it. Throw on a handful of raw chopped onions, and drizzle with BallPark mustard. They ain’t no other way. Period. And you never eat one. You order two, and they load up side by side.
And, although The Donald don’t have a clue how to eat a Slice, when you eat a coney, you use a fork.