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Midwestern Coney Dogs

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Ohhh, to be a kid again. All us grandkids sitting at Grandma’s table, awaiting our favorite lunch! Grandma Dale’s coney! 😀

I could’ve about eaten my weight in that stuff, and over the years I probably did! There was nothing more fun than going to Grandma’s house! (Is there ever?) Grandma’s are special like that. 😉

I wish I could make it exactly like she did, but I don’t have the right sauce out here. And, it isn’t the same as when we were kids anyways. I remember the day Kroger’s changed their barbecue sauce. Grandma was so mad. That was her go-to sauce for the coney! And we had coney a lot. I mean a LOT a lot. She loved it, all us kids loved it, and it was quick and easy to fix.

You just sauté your hamburger and onions with a little salt and pepper. Add in your barbecue sauce, a little sugar and a little water, and you’re almost done!




Well, I happened to have two of my favorite barbecue sauces on hand, but after tasting both of them, each had issues for the taste I needed. One was too thick, one was much thinner, one was too tangy, one was too smokey. So I decided to just use both. I also decided to take it down a bit because barbecue sauces have come a long way since the 60’s and 70’s, so I added what most homemade sauces start with – – ketchup. And that worked like a charm! I added just a little bit of sugar, as Grandma’s was a little on the sweet side, plus a little chili powder and water so that I could simmer it just a bit to let all of the flavors mellow together.

The two brands that I used worked really, really well, so I would use those two, as every bbq sauce is so very different that I doubt you can just use any kind. It might taste “funny”.  So please do try it with these two first, then you can see how you like it and adjust to your own liking from there. Remember, too, that this particular recipe is supposed to be just a little sweet.


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I can’t say that it was quite as good as hers, might’ve needed a little more sugar, but it was really, really good and I was very happy with it!

The hubs wasn’t sure he was going to like “coney”.

He inhaled it. 😉

Don’t you love it when that happens? 😉


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When we were kids, Grandma always just served her coney on a piece of white bread and we always ate it open-faced with a fork. But I decided to stretch it out and go the traditional route and we had ours over hotdogs! 

You can top your coney dogs with your heart’s desire, or just enjoy them as is! 



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So if you’re looking for a nice change from regular chili dogs, these are quite different and so very easy to make! And unlike what a lot of people mistakenly think, they did not originate in Coney Island, New York. Nope, it was purely a midwest thing, and originated in Michigan! I have never had the pleasure of tasting an actual “Coney Island Dog”, but this is how my Grandma made it, and we love it! 😉 

I so hope that they become a favorite in your home, too!! See you all later! ~Kelly


Yield: 6-8 servings

Midwestern Coney Dogs

Midwestern Coney Dogs


  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1/2 of a medium onion
  • 1/4 tsp. coarse ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup Sweet Baby Ray's Barbecue Sauce (or your own favorite)*
  • 1/2 cup Sue Bee Honey's Barbecue Sauce (or your own favorite)*
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar, or to taste
  • 1/2 cup water, or as needed
  • 6-8 cooked hotdogs
  • 6-8 buns
  • Toppings of Choice including: chopped onion, mustard, shredded cheddar cheese, sweet or dill pickles, pickle relish, chopped tomato, mac 'n cheese, or pickled jalapeño pepper rings


  • In a frying pan, add hamburger, onion, salt and pepper. Saute until done, breaking up finely as you go along. Drain grease if needed.
  • Stir in rest of ingredients, bring to a simmer, stir and simmer until most of water has cooked out, but coney is still a little saucy.
  • Fill buns with cooked hot dogs, steamed or boiled, and ladle coney sauce over the top.
  • Top with toppings of choice if desired.
  • Notes

    *The barbecue sauces used are mild, sweet sauces.

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    Tuesday 27th of January 2015

    You missed the best Midwest coney dog: the Detroit coney dog. It's covered in a thick Detroit style chili, then topped with onions and mustard. If you really want to go all in, get chili cheese fries: fries topped with the same chili, and then melted cheese. Once you try one, you will try no other again!


    Tuesday 27th of January 2015

    I so wish I could've tried one before we moved!! If I'm ever back that way, I'll be SURE to go there! :D

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