Essentially Detroit style coney dogs consist of a steamed hotdog with a natural casing nestled into a soft bun and is topped with seasoned (no-bean) beef chili, yellow mustard and finely diced white onion. Yields 8 coney dogs in about 40 minutes.

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You may be asked the question: Flint or Detroit style when ordering a coney dog in Metro-Detroit Coney Island. Obviously Flint and Detroit are cities here in the southeast region of the mitten state, but it’s also different ways you can order a coney dog.

Depending on what you prefer, you can usually order both at most coney islands in the surrounding Detroit area. And in Michigan, we have plenty of coney restaurants to choose from.

Detroit Style Coney Dogs l SimplyScratch.com

Personally, I’ll take two steamed hotdogs topped with the creamy-tomato-based-no-bean chili, mustard and finely minced onions over a Flint-style any day. Oh and a side of chili cheese fries.

Because really why not?

Detroit Style Coney Dogs l SimplyScratch.com

Here’s what you’ll need: 1 pound lean ground beef, 1 white onion, 2 cloves of fresh garlic, 1 (15 ounce) can tomato puree, 2 to 3 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard, 1-1/2 tablespoons regular chili powder, 1-1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste), 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 3/4 teaspoon paprika, 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1/2 teaspoon each of onion and garlic powder and freshly ground black pepper and a few pinches of sugar.

Detroit Style Coney Dogs l SimplyScratch.comDetroit Style Coney Dogs l SimplyScratch.com

To start, add the pound of lean ground beef, 1 cup diced white onions (save the remaining onion for serving later) and 2 cloves of minced fresh garlic into a medium pot or small dutch oven. Cook over medium heat, using a wooden spatula to break up the meat into small crumbles. Continue to cook until the beef is no longer pink and the onions are tender. About 10 to 12 mintues.

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Now’s the time to add all the spices. Measure and add in 1-1/2 tablespoons chili powder, 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, 1 teaspoon of cumin, 3/4 teaspoon of paprika plus 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1/2 teaspoon of onion and garlic powder and freshly ground black pepper. Add a few shakes of cayenne and a few pinches of sugar.

Stir and add in 1 (15 ounce) can of tomato puree – not tomato sauce. Measure and add in 2 to 3 tablespoons of prepared yellow mustard and 1/4 cup of water.

If you’re wondering if you need to drain off the fat, the answer is no. Fat is flavor and traditional Detroit coneys make it the same way. With that said, you do not want a ton of fat in your chili. This is why we use lean ground beef.

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Stir, cover and simmer on low-heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then remove the lid and simmer for an additional 10 minutes so the chili can thicken up a tad.

A lot of people have their opinion on how to make the no-bean chili for chili dogs, which is totally fine. Some may argue that coney dogs are not “true Detroit Style Coney Dogs” unless you have used beef heart in the chili. (yeah, no thanks).

Look, I’m a home cook who doesn’t want to use beef heart in chili nor do I want to attempt to convince my family to eat it.

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Finally place steamed hotdogs into buns and top as much chili as your heart desires. In my opinion, it’s totally normal for one to need/use a fork and knife in order to eat Detroit style coney dogs. Lastly, zigzag few stripes of yellow mustard and top with finely minced white onion.

If you’re gluten free you can still enjoy a Detroit coney! Besides using gluten free buns, once I topped two hotdogs (no buns) with coney chili. Then loaded them up with crushed Fritos, diced jalapeños, mustard, onion and cheddar cheese.

Technically it wasn’t a coney dog (perhaps you’d call it a coney bowl?) but still an amazingly delicious experience nonetheless.

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What’s the difference between Flint and Detroit style?

“Flint-style” is more of a loose beef topped hot dog while Detroit-style is a chili dog with mustard and onion. Detroit style coney dogs are also a Football Sunday standard in our home. I’ve done research, and once read that both types originated right here in Michigan [woot!] and not in Coney Island, NY [who knew?!] like one may think.

I hope you fall in love with these coney dogs. We think they are pretty darn delicious.

Serve with chips, fries, coleslaw and or potato salad.

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Enjoy! And if you give these Detroit Style Coney Dogs a try, let me know! Snap a photo and tag me on twitter or instagram!

Detroit Style Coney Dogs l SimplyScratch.com

My cookbook Simply Scratch : 120 Wholesome Homemade Recipes Made Easy is now available! CLICK HERE for details and THANK YOU in advance! 

Detroit-Style Coney Dogs
Yield: 8 servings

Detroit-Style Coney Dogs

Essentially Detroit style coney dogs consist of a steamed hotdog with a natural casing nestled into a soft bun and is topped with seasoned (no-bean) beef chili, yellow mustard and finely diced white onion. Yields 8 coney dogs in about 40 minutes.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 cup diced white onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, more or less to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • a few shakes of cayenne pepper
  • a pinch or two of sugar
  • 1 (15 ounce) can tomato puree
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons yellow prepared mustard (to taste)
  • 1 package (of 8) hot dogs with natural casing (for these I used a Michigan based company, but you can use your favorite)
  • 1 package (of 8) hot dog buns
  • yellow mustard, for serving
  • finely diced white onion, for serving

Instructions

  1. Place the ground beef, onion and garlic into a medium pot or dutch oven. Cook over medium heat, using a wooden spoon to break up the meat into very small crumbles.
  2. Once the meat is fully cooked (do not drain off fat) add in the spices, sugar, tomato puree and mustard and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes stirring occasionally.
  3. Then uncover, stir and simmer for an additional 10 minutes to thicken the chili.
  4. Prepare the eight hot dogs until warmed through-out. Serve the hot dogs in warm hotdog buns and top with desired amount of chili, yellow mustard and minced white onion.
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