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Your Best Michigan Sauce Recipe

I am very tempted to post this on the Tri-State board because very few people will know what I am talking about. It is very specific to Clinton Cty. NY, and I have heard tell of a converted bus in Burlington serving up the much craved Michigan too. I know in Montreal there was a Pogo's Michigans but it seems to be gone.

So if you went to school up there, family was based (Air Force) up there, vacationed in the area, still live up there, what is your favorite recipe? I am in the no tomato camp and the cheapest ground beef you can get. I know there are some who say it has to have tomato sauce. So bring it on. Your best and favorite.

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  1. I have a recipe here somewhere. If I find, I'll post it. Until then, the bus in Burlington is Beansie's and there is a seasonal stand in Colchester called Brigante's (about 5 minutes from Costco) that has very good Michigans (I stopped there on Friday). You can find a Michigan style dog in the Albany area but many have tomato in the sauce. I agree that a high fat content as well as a fine grind are important along with a long and slow cooking process. Hopefully I can find the recipe as it is pretty authentic.

    9 Replies
    1. re: TonyO

      My brother and S-I-L live in Colchester. He is with UVM. I will have to ask him about the bus. Also a friend who has a home in Burlington but always on a trek across the lake has to stop at Gus'. I use one that usualy tastes right. The really hard thing in the mid-west is getting the proper bun. My DH may get the expensive King Arthur New England roll pan this Christmas.

      1. re: Candy

        Candy, I see "DH" a lot hear and can't figure out what it means ? I know it is going to be simple but beyond Designated Hound I can't figure it out !

        1. re: TonyO

          did you ever find charlie's red hots recipe?

          1. re: njreggio

            Yeah, and of course I can't find it ! I'll make a couple phone calls and post as soon as a get another copy.

            1. re: TonyO

              I don't have the actual receipe...but I know that Charlies "secret ingrediant" is canned deviled ham. Delish! I miss that place.

          2. This is very common in Quebec, especially at road side "casse croutes" (snack bars). Almost every one serves a "Hot Dog Michigan" (that's what they call it, even in French), and some even offer a "Hamburger Michigan" (which is like the world's sloppiest chili burger). Sorry to say, all the sauces have tomato in them. Of course, that's the way I like them! When you serve them with a poutine (fries with cheese curds and gravy), it's a fast food heaven you'll never experience in McD's or Burger King.

            1 Reply
            1. re: KevinB

              The michigan sauce on poutine sounds decadent and heavenly. If I could only get cheese curds in Indiana!

            2. I'm from michigan and never, in my whole life, have I heard of a michigan sauce...can you please explain what is in it/what it sauces?

              17 Replies
              1. re: sixelagogo

                Me too--is it possibly what we in Michigan would call a coney dog?

                1. re: coney with everything

                  It is similar to a coney but the sauce is much denser and more compact. The frank is served on a New England roll, the type that is split on top and is used for lobster rolls and clam rolls. Why a Michigan? There are a number of theories but no definitive answer. Most are ordered 'buried" meaning chopped onions in the bottom of the roll then the frank and topped with sauce and a squiggle of yellow mustard.

                  The sauce I learned was a lb of ground beef in a pot with 1 C. water. 3-4 Tbs. commercial chili powder, maybe a little extra garlic powder, if you want it spicer add some crushed red pepper, a tiny biy of sugar to round things and 1 tsp. cider vinegar. Cook slowly breaking up the meat until the water has evaporated and the sauce is almost dry. You will need to season with salt to your own taste.

                  1. re: Candy

                    I go to Michigan regularly but have never heard of this either. Please expand and tell me where to eat this and what to order.

                    1. re: itryalot

                      As stated in the OP this is indigenous to Clinton County NY if you want to be more specific Plattsburgh, NY. I don't want to repeat myself so please read through the full thread.

                      1. re: Candy

                        I did read that; maybe I'm missing something, but then why is it Michigan sauce?

                        1. re: itryalot

                          It says above that nobody seems to be able to give a definitive answer to your question.

                          1. re: Nancy Berry

                            And a couple of places like Clare and Carl's called them Texas Red Hots. They are all pretty much the same from vendor to vendor. Undortunately the bun has changed. Bouyea bakery used to supply all of the vendors with the bun. It was a split top type but delivered fresh and uncut. The buns needed to age a day beofre being cut and steamed. It was a bigger and heavier version of the NE split top bun. The family sold out to bigger concerns who decided the specific bun was not profitable for them so now instead of the heftier bun but that held more onions sauce and dog we have been lefft with a corporate decision. I still give the former owner ( old BF) grief over selling out.

                            1. re: Candy

                              In northern New Jersey you can find Texas Weiners[sic]. Like these "Michigans" they have absolutely nothing to do with Texas and are unknown there.

                              There seems to be a trend towards naming things after places that have nothing to do with them.

                              1. re: rockhopper

                                Trend, nothing new, French Fries.

                              2. re: Candy

                                I hear you, I grew up on Clare and Carls, Nitzi's, Orange Julup, Gus's, McSweeny's, Frenches in Keeseville and Goodmans diner in Keeseville and All michigans were fabulous with Bouyea's buns. Shame on the corporate people for disturbing the way of life. (Just kidding) anyway. I was away from home for over 30 years and visited in 2000 and was craving a michigan and went to Clare and Carls and my jaw dropped to the ground when it was deliverd to my car. I thought that I was at a budget cutting convention. I asked my car-hop Why? She then explained that a new Sheriff was in the bakery town and changed some rules and Regs. Oh well, for what its worth. Michigans in the North Country are the best. You can't find one in Washington State, unless I make it myself.

                                1. re: grobare

                                  Like Chicken in a Basket and Bouyea's bread, Nitzi's is long gone but I hope I have a resemblance of the recipe that we once called "Michigan Red Hots" They weren't hot by any means but they were a part of my youth as was "Frosty's Dairy Bar" where you could get an enormous banana split or whatever served in a trough and when you finished it you would get a pin that said "I was a pig at Frosty's"

                                  1. re: BorninPlattsburgh

                                    didn't grow up in Plattsburgh but came there in 1959 as a freshman at Plattsburgh State and I could swear that it was the Altamont not far from the dorm where you ate an enormous sundae and could wear a pin saying you were a pig at the altamont...

                                    1. re: bigapple134

                                      We are obviously the same age and when I got the "I was a pig" pin it was some years earlier. They may well have changed hands (and names) by 1959.

                                    2. re: BorninPlattsburgh

                                      i remember Frosty dairy quenn in champlain you could get muchigans there yum yum yum

                        2. re: Candy

                          Reminds me of a Maid-Rite, but on top of a hot dog instead of just on a bun. Mmmmm....Maid-Rites.

                          1. re: Candy

                            Actually sounds pretty edible as hot dog condiments go- when I saw the thread title, it made me think of the boloney gravy I heard wild tales of when my sister moved to Wisconsin.

                      2. I spent five years up in p'burgh for college and haven't thought of these in a while. I never attempted to make them myself, but I may have to give it a go.


                        2 Replies
                        1. re: CeeBee

                          They are addictive. When we hit town it is usually a first stop.

                        2. Had the best dog sauce ever growing up in Schenectady at a place called Newest Lunch on Albany St.. Have been trying to duplicate it but not there yet, perhaps this will be the place for it. Anyone heard of or got a recipe please give it a post. Good Eating all.

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: jdp

                            I know the Schenectady Meatsauce featured at Newest Lunch. In fact, it's served thru-out the city.


                            There is some kind of secret spice...a cinn-a-zing or some thing? Redwood Diner in Rotterdam is my first stop when back. We never called them Michigans are they considered to be Michigans?

                            1. re: netmover

                              Clair and Carl's and Nitzies called them red hots but "Toot 'n' Tell'em refered to them as MICHI

                              1. re: netmover

                                that "cinn-a-zing" your referring to, and by the way what an excellent description of the taste, is "nutmeg" a staple spice in greek cooking

                                1. re: iloveredhots

                                  Actually it's cinnamon and is basically the same recipe as Pastitso but probably made with beef and not lamb.

                                  1. re: BorninPlattsburgh

                                    Allspice berry is probably more accurate. Known for being used in pumpkin pie it is surprisingly tasty in michigan sauce. Adds a little something.

                                2. re: netmover

                                  CD Kitchen.com has a clone for Albany St Hot Dogs sauce. I have enjoyed them for 60 years along with Mikes on Erie Blvd, two different types but both a cult following. You can buy Broadway Lunch (ON BrOADWAY) sauce to go , which is similar to Alb St, almost as good but not quite. Albant St appears to have changed hands recently-sauce almost as good as before -a little less flavor.

                                3. re: jdp

                                  I love Newest Lunch and Redwood meat sauce. Grew up with it. I also would like to get the recipe for the meat sauce. If anyone knows what the recipe is, please share. Jo Ann

                                4. The ONLY place in the USA you can get a Michigan is upstate New York; it is not a Coney or a chili dog. There are many recipes out there but the originals were "Nitizies", Clair & Carl's and "TooT 'N' Tellem". I have eaten every one of them and each has there own special twist. You can not get them anywhere but upstate unless you stumble through Lynchburg Va on my back deck or some other transplant from that area with a family recipe. When I make MICHIGANS people in Lynchburg come alive, actually I was home last weekend and fixed them for a family get together, big hit with my kids who are all southern born and raised, we had left over so I froze some and brought with me to South Carolinia. I prepared some today for the locals, the response was “I never have eaten a better chili dog". My recipe is a family recipe, but I have some comparable recipes if anyone is interested. By the way I have never heard of any one EVER adding water in any Michigan Sauce Recipe.

                                  8 Replies
                                  1. re: casesuperl

                                    Water is the way to make the beef crumble so finely. I don't know if you lived in P-burgh when the Orange Julep was in business, they served up a good Michigan too. It was the big round drive-in out towards the beach, it kind of looked like an orange. I used to babysit the owner's kids and learned from him. Nitzi's was not spelled with an "e" btw.

                                    1. re: Candy

                                      A few illustrative pix. Michigans on a plate at Mc Sweeney's, I think that is what Clare and Carl's morphed into. Nitzi's and Clare & Carls. I think C&C always looked like it was about to fall down.

                                      1. re: Candy

                                        hehe, just copped me a mich from C&C's for lunch today, i cant wait for mcsweenys across the street to open so i can do a real side by side comparo!

                                      2. re: Candy

                                        The Orange Julep is a Montreal institution. There's always been a lot of travel back and forth between upstate New York (and Vermont - Green Mountain in French). Michigans have been popular in the southern part of la Belle province for a long time. A buddy of mine has been noshing on them for over 40 years. Me, "I ain't gonna suck on no chili dog."

                                        1. re: mrbozo

                                          I remember Orange Julius stands around almost anywhere '60's&70's. The Orange Julep was very different. The place was a huge round concrete ball shaped building painted orange and served all of the typical drive-in foods common. Theirs was a good Michigan. They had a good Binky Burger named for a family friend. That was on Rt. 9 further up the highway almost at Cumberland Head was the Astrodome. Theor's werent bad eithr. They also had a pretty good pizza.

                                      3. re: casesuperl

                                        How does it rate to a Cheesy Western -all the way- from the "T" in L-burg?

                                        1. re: casesuperl

                                          It's not "Upstate" to those living there - it's Northern New York.

                                          1. re: BorninPlattsburgh

                                            Must be a change since Upstate became socialist last few years - was Upstate in the 60's and still is now. Last I checked anyway. Or have we revamped since the Clinton's became "residents"?

                                        2. Mmm, this is a family favorite for us. I make a big batch and split it up with my brother and cousin.
                                          Stir together, in your crock pot,
                                          1 15-oz. can tomato sauce
                                          1 8-oz. can tomato sauce
                                          8 Tbsp. good chili powder
                                          2 tsp. dried minced onion
                                          2 tsp. cumin
                                          1 tsp. ground black pepper (I use fresh ground)
                                          2-4 Tbsp. bottled hot sauce (use less if using Tabasco)
                                          2 Tbsp. sugar
                                          Add 2 lbs. ground beef, stirring well and breaking up any chunks.
                                          Cook on low for 10 to 12 hours or High for 5-6. Tastes better the next day, heated up on your hot dog with buried onion. (Buried onions are very small diced onions put on top of the hot dog under the sacue.) Serve with mustard, (or ketchup). Enjoy!!!

                                          1. I live here in Clinton Country and I would have to say the best place I have eaten michigans would have been Gus's Red Hots. The sauce is more dry and spicier than other michigan stands but to my personal taste its the best!

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: nikkilee

                                              We were in Plattsburgh in late July for a few days. Each day we had a Michigan for lunch. Clare and Carl's was the best. Mc Sweeny's was good too. Gus' was awful. We didn't finish them. The sauce was quite sweet and very soupy. They served it up on a regular hot dog roll. It was like a Greek spaghetti sauce.

                                              By the way, Nitzi's is long gone. The building was demolished. I wonder why.

                                              1. re: Candy

                                                Back in 2008, I had preferred Gus' over McSweeney's (see my post 4 below).
                                                However as a teenager in the 70s, I thought Gus' was terrible. I don't know if its my taste or if the recipe (cook) changed.

                                                I have yet to try Clare and Carl's. I just hope to get there before its too late...doesn't look like their building will last forever, plus they're only seasonal...

                                            2. Oh and theya re addicting.. not done reading all the replys to this but I live in Plattsburgh and they are a town favortie.. even little stores will make their own version of the tasty dogs and sell them.. I think it's a definate must try when you're around the area!

                                              1. I live south of Montreal and everyone around here knows what a 'Michigan' is. I have to admit that I don't know WHY its called a michigan.
                                                For those really not in the know, its similar to a chili dog, but the topping is 'michigan' sauce rather than chili.
                                                So whats michigan sauce?
                                                Well, its LIKE chili, no beans, and not distinctively chili flavored. Pretty much ground beef simmered in liquid and flavorings. Almost like a cross between spaghetti meat sauce and chili - a weak comparison, granted, but it gives you the idear.

                                                I am somewhat puzzled by the OP suggestion of "no tomato camp" as pretty much every michigan sauce I've seen or had was tomatoey, or at least red, and thus, to me, tomato based.

                                                In the Montreal area, we like to think Lafleurs has the best michigans, although once in a while, you come across an out-of-the-way casse croute which makes utterly fantastic michigans. I especially like to let those puppies rest for like 3-5 minutes while the sauce penetrates the bun then eat 'em.

                                                Finally, this thread points to a recipe...
                                                My wife set out to make a classic michigan sauce awhile back and we were quite happy with the results. It needed some tweeking for perfection, but good nonetheless. I asked her for the recipe 2 minutes ago, but alas, she didn't write it down.
                                                Off the top of her head, it was something like

                                                1 lb hashed meat (ground beef)
                                                1 TBL yellow mustard
                                                2 TBL chili powder
                                                1/2 C onions chopped as fine as possible
                                                1 TBL garlic powder
                                                1 TBL chili flakes (or more if you like)
                                                6 oz tomato paste
                                                14 oz ground tomato
                                                1 C water

                                                Saute the meat in a bit of oil (crush meat to get a finer texture), drain, add onions, saute a few minutes until soft (don't brown), add rest of ingredients and simmer for an hour or three. While cooking, continue squashing meat so it gets finer and finer. If it thickens too much, add a bit more water.
                                                Cool to room temp and refrigerate overnight (this develops more flavor).
                                                Warm and serve over steamed hot dogs, onions optional, but recommended.

                                                As for the tweeking, cumin and sugar in small increments would improve the sauce!

                                                Ahhhh man, I want some now...

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: porker

                                                  The red came from the chili powder. Tomato sauce always added a sweetness that masked some of the zing of the chili powder in the sauce. I'm originally from the Southwest and would never put tomatoes in chili either.

                                                2. Looking at Candy's original post, I see this was from last August. Hope I'm not too late with a few tidbits...
                                                  Spent the weekend in Burlngton and happened to pick up Sunday's Burlington Free Press on my way to Ken's Pizza on Church Street. Waiting for a large pepperoni with 1/2 anchovy, I spied an article on the Michigan on the first page of Section C. You can find it here;


                                                  Ed Shamy does an ad hoc journalistic investigation on the origins of Michigan.

                                                  BTW, I took the Grand Isle ferry to NY and stopped in both Gus' and McSweeneys. Gus' has come a long way since I remember and has a nice addition to its dining area.
                                                  In my opinion, Gus' has a better Michigan (@ $2) than McSweeneys ($1.95).
                                                  You can see them below...

                                                  1. My Grandfather had an authentic Michigan Stand in Plattsburgh up until the mid-30's. My Mother still retains the recipe that made "Michigan Hot Dogs" famous. I don't know the entire recipe off the top of my head... but I can tell you that one of the most important ingrediants is missing from every single recipe I have read here. It is something that nobody would expect... but without it... it just "ain't" a Michigan. AAAA ?

                                                    12 Replies
                                                    1. re: GrandsonOfJohnRabideau

                                                      So you going to enlighten us? Each family and stand had their own. You related to Dick Rabideau?

                                                      1. re: GrandsonOfJohnRabideau

                                                        you should obtain this recipe and post it. one of my good freinds had a grandmother who was a wonderful cook and an old battleaxe. would never give recipes to anyone, she then died suddenly (she was rather old, after all) and all those recipes are gone, forever. i dont understand this. what a waste. instead of remembering her everytime you make the food, you just remember her sour old puss and the fact that she was so miserable she wouldnt tell you how she made it.
                                                        that said, maybe coffee? i put it my my baked beans and everyone always wonders what that flavor is?

                                                        1. re: hyde

                                                          Long and short. i was getting my hair cut today and an operator who used t have a space near my shop and loved when I brought in sample to taste, commented to the people in the shop that when I made something, there was always a certain nuance that made what ever it was one step better. My response was "Thank You and I will always share a recipe, ther whole and complete recipe", my beautician replied "and don't change anything from the way she tells you to do it." Many many years ago as a young bride I made my family's potato salad for a company cook out. I wrote out specific instructions in the recipe. The recipient later complained that when they made it it did not taste the same. i verbally walked them through the recipe, the twits had substituted Miracle Whip for the mayo. Maybe that is why people are sometimes reluctant to share.

                                                          1. re: Candy

                                                            I grew up in Michigan, and the so-called "Coney" or "Coney Island" is more or less a chili dog, at least in the Detroit area. That said, the chili is a peculiar concoction (often with a few beans) that doesn't taste like chili from anywhere else. It is mainly water and thickener--rather little meat--it almost seems like the Japanese "curry" sauce to me. I find it revolting on its own but essential on a Coney. Those who travel through Detroit airport can taste this culinary treasure at the Coney place in the main Northwest terminal there. I always agonize over whether to get two Coneys or one Coney and some chili cheese fries....

                                                            Now, in Flint (where I has the pleasure of spending a couple of years), the sauce seemed far closer to the "Michigan" sauce we get in Quebec: Dryer, meatier, no beans, a little more seasoned. People in Flint said that it should be made with beef heart to be "authentic," though I don't know if that is actually common or not. Does seem like a good use for beef heart, though.

                                                            1. re: zamorski

                                                              I once bought a #10 can of chili from Lafayette Coney Island, Detroit, for a party in Ann Arbor. I only remember it had vessel pieces in it so it probably contained liver
                                                              or heart, animal source unknown, year 1965.

                                                              1. re: wolfe

                                                                Michigan Coney dog sauce is indeed made from ground organ meat.

                                                              2. re: zamorski

                                                                "the so-called "Coney" or "Coney Island" is more or less a chili dog, at least in the Detroit area"

                                                                A Chili dog is just that, A dog with chili. Chili here is typically made with beans and ground meat.
                                                                Coney sauce does not contain either beans or any type of ground flesh other than organ meat.

                                                          2. re: GrandsonOfJohnRabideau

                                                            What stand did he have? I loved the michigans from Nitzi's. Steady diet growing up. Haven't found a recipe yet that matches. I know Big Nitzi closly guarded his recipe. Last trip back found a similiar michigan at Michigan Plus but a bit more spicy than the original.

                                                            1. re: Naftel

                                                              Are you Connie or Don? I liked Nitzi's too but my parents liked Clare and Carls. It was spicier. As for Fritter's remark that it always had ground organ meat in it, I beg to differ. I use more of an Orange Julep recipe. Longe's were neigbors, and i used to baby sit their kids. I did not get the recipe written down but got sort of a verbal explanation of how they did it.

                                                              1. re: GrandsonOfJohnRabideau

                                                                I've seen recipes that grind up some of the hot dogs and add them to the sauce. Maybe that's the "secret" ingredient.

                                                                1. re: GrandsonOfJohnRabideau

                                                                  Hello Mr. Rabideau. My name is Nathaniel Infante. I know you know my uncles and father Larry from the Plattsburgh area. I have been experimenting with various recipes over the years and though I like many of them I know that they are not authentic. Even ones I have from Terry and my dad. I grew up on C and C's, Gus', Mcsweeny's, Michigan Plus, etc. What I have come to is definitely no tomato. Could the secret be curry powder or turmeric? If not I would love to know. We host a hot dog party every year and I get crazy trying to replicate the original. Thanks

                                                                2. To my taste, the best ones by far are at Clare and Carl's. They use a bun that is closed on the ends which is an outstanding idea. The sauce is quite dry, almost pebbly in texture. Not too much tomato, to me tastes like a little bit of paste - spicy but not hot, doesn't taste like chili. There may be some chili powder in there, but not much. Little if any sugar.
                                                                  The otherwise fabulous Hot Biscuit Diner in Ticonderoga has Michigans for lunch. Great natural casing, pale hot gogs, but the sauce is pretty sweet - not a good thing.
                                                                  Clare and Carl's has just the slightest smear of mustard - too much mustard is just creepy. Gotta have onions.
                                                                  By the way, the "relish" at C&C's is DILL - quite startled my sweet-relish-loving Mom.

                                                                  I recently did the Michigans tour - Gus' - McSweeneys and C&C in one lunch!
                                                                  1) C&C - and the Michigan burger is SWELL!
                                                                  2) Gus'
                                                                  3) McSweeneys
                                                                  But it's all good. Yum!

                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                  1. re: sophie fox

                                                                    When Bouyea's sold out to ITT Continental. They quit making that larger bun which was closed on the ends and was a bit heavier and longer. I got on Peter Bouyea's case about that (he was an old BF). He said when they sold he had to sign a non-compete agreement so he could not go out and start a new bakery, making those buns. Pity. Do you remember the A&W out towards the beach near that river. The Warren's owned it. It closed long ago, but their Michigans were not too bad either. I remember going there one afternoon with my next door neighbor she and i ordered 1 then another and another, maybe we ate 5 apiece. I certainly cannot eat that way again, but I would not want to be 17 again either.

                                                                    1. re: Candy

                                                                      Hi Candy. It's Connie. I got a craving for a michigan and started a search. I liked Orange Julep and A&W too. Don and I went on a search last time we were up and only found the Michigan Plus to come close. What's your recipe? I've a couple but not like those. Angelos sent one from her uncle's restaurant. I'm about ready to contact Nitzi and beg for it. I do know his Dad, Big Nitzi, always made the sauce Sunday morning and noone was allowed in when he was doing it. He used to let me buy it by the quart as long as I promised not to have it analyzed.LOL.

                                                                      1. re: Naftel

                                                                        I tried to bring home just the "sauce" last time time and could not buy it. If I wanted it I would have buy complete Michigans" and either scrape off the sauce to freeze for later or freeze the real deal. Nitzi jr is on Cape Cod and has an upscale restaurant and inn. Mine is posted above but I can post it again. Be warned, I'm in the no tomato sauce camp. I think it makes it too sweet. I count on the chili powder for the red. For a cheap blend to go along with the cheap gr. beef I use Mexene. i usually buy pure ground dried chilis from Pendery's in Texas. Mexene gives me the right taste. Luckily Kroger is making split top buns. Now if they would use the old Bouyea recipe for the rolls!

                                                                        e-mail me at ckgrover2006@comcast.net and I'll send you how I make it.

                                                                        How are you and what is up We are 4 yrs. from retirement and trying to decide whether to stay here or maybe go to Seaside or Savannah. Decisions descisons!



                                                                        1. re: Candy

                                                                          Hey Candy,
                                                                          If you live in TX, it's not to far from us, we live in Mesa, AZ. And just so you know, I still make my mom's Michigan Sauce, I grow up in Rouses Point, NY. Her sauce was considered one of the best in the North Country. If you ever want some, give us a yell. The sauce is designed after Nitzi's.

                                                                          1. re: MariansSauce

                                                                            Thx Marian. I live in south central Indiana at the moment with trips back to Plattsburgh. My family on my mother's side is from Douglas, AZ.

                                                                            Michigan eaters are a special breed i guess. You have to know them to love them. It is always a first stops for us. If we fly into Burlington the Gus' is right on the way. Now that we can get split top buns here it makes the homemade Michigan experience a little more like "home".

                                                                        2. re: Naftel

                                                                          Connie, my moms' sauce it made after the Nitzi's reciepe. one of the Nitzi brother have eaten her sauce and asked her how she got his reciepe, and laughed. She worked for them way back when!

                                                                    2. I'm not sure if anyone would remember a Michigan Stand on Champlain Street in Rouses Point, NY, it was named DAV PFC Robert A. Lafountain after my brother that died in VM. My mother was known, and is still, as the Michigan Queen when it comes to Michigan Sauce. She has been making it since the 50's, she it in her later 80's and still makes it for people all over. Her sauce was known by many people as Marian's Michigans, it also is a tomato based sauce, that is very secret and just a few of us know the true reciepe. I have tried many in my years of life, but have to admit it truely is the best out there, many people from all over the country have my mom make it for them when they visit the North Country on vaccation. I now live in Mesa, AZ and make the sauce myself so if there is anyone in this region wanting to try it out for them selves, leave me a message and we can meet up for a treat of your lives.

                                                                      10 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Candy

                                                                          Candy, that link didn't work for me. Is this what you wanted?

                                                                          1. re: Candy

                                                                            Thanks, serves me right for getting up and poking around in the computer when i should be asleep

                                                                            1. re: Candy

                                                                              I don't have a michigan sauce recipe but I was told by an old family friend who used to own a little grocery store here in Plattsburgh that his secret to the perfect sauce was to boil the hamburger before mixing it in the ingredients.It gets rid of alot of the fat and makes the meat crumbly. I think he boiled it after cooking it first but, i'm not too sure.

                                                                              1. re: SimplySweetness

                                                                                I always cook mine in water first. It is not just a fat thing, it crumbles the meat to the proper consistency.

                                                                                1. re: Candy

                                                                                  I might be able to clarify why some of us from Michigan have only had a more moist/wet version. I live near Flint and work there. At most coney island restaurants you can get either a Flint or Detroit coney hot dog. A Flint style coney sauce is extremely dry, really not much moisture. The Detroit syle is what many think of as a chili dog. The Detroit style is very moist. This might be the difference. Sounds to me like the Michigan Sauce is more like what I would call a Flint coney dog.

                                                                                  1. re: HotHead

                                                                                    That is the first explanation that makes some sense. The next conumdrum is how it got to Plattsburgh, NY. Nice town but only a stop on the way to Montreal.

                                                                                    1. re: Candy

                                                                                      I am curious as well. When I clicked on the link for Michigan sauce I expected a totally different conversation, but honestly this is interesting. I am wondering the same thing too.

                                                                          2. re: MariansSauce

                                                                            Hi MarianSauce,
                                                                            I pass through Rouses Point maybe a dozen times per year, either on my way south or coming back to Canada.
                                                                            Can you explain where DAV PFC R A Lafountain Michigan was.
                                                                            I'm fairly familar with Champlain Street from the 89 to the lake.
                                                                            Another question, where or what was Nitzi's?

                                                                            Rouses Point seems to be somewhat sleepy these days. The Grand Union left town, its now a Dollar Store (I think everyone was going to the Price Chopper in Champlain), Theres a pizza/ice cream place near the marina, a few cafes (Claire's?) and a cool looking bar (another man's name which I forget, Sam' s?), a Chinese place on Champlain in a strip mall next to a gas station (the owners are actually Chinese and make some decent plates) as well as a former Zacharies Pizza (which closed for a long time, after which another Italian style eatery opened in the same building).
                                                                            I don't seem to recall a michigan dedicated joint in Rouses Point.
                                                                            Your thoughts?


                                                                            1. re: MariansSauce

                                                                              Just came across your 3 year old post while researching Michigan recipes for a friend now in Texas. I used to work at the Saxony & Ayerst & knew Bobby, as well as your Mom & Dad. I thought Bobby was a great kid, and was shocked when he died so soon & so young.

                                                                              I also remember your Mom's Michigan's fondly. They were great,. and we always awaited eagerly the opening of the stand.

                                                                            2. Craving some michigan's for dinner! The winter weather just makes me want foods I eat in the summer, lol. I am making an attempt to find a recipe that sounds about right and close to the ones i've eaten from C&C or Gus' but it's just not working :/

                                                                              And thanks, Candy - I am going to boil my beef in water before throwing it in the crock pot. I probably should have started cooking it earlier but, 3 hours shouldn't be that bad. Plus, it'll be even better tomorrow :)

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: SimplySweetness

                                                                                My mother-in-law was a cook for 14 years at Bailey's Restaurant in Keeseville, NY (just south of Plattsburgh) and made the BEST Michigan sauce!! But I never could duplicate it. My sister-in-law's mother cooked in their family-run cafe and my sister-in-law taught me how to make Michigan sauce just two years ago (I am 63!) My husband says it is just like his mother's!! The secret is cumin! If anyone wants the recipe, send me an e-mail at cllahue@hotmail.com and I will send you my recipe (which I have created in a Word document) as an attachment. I can't help but wonder if the reason it is called "Michigan" sauce is that the person who created the recipe came from Michigan -- hmmm!

                                                                              2. I am from Altona NY, Clinton Co Ny, and I have to say the best recipe I ever had for Michigans was at Connie's Michigan stand...MMM MMMM GOOD!


                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: Stacey Kitchens

                                                                                  Stacey I have also enjoyed Connie's little roadside stand on route 190. Did you ever get chance to have her Cole Slaw recipe? You can email me cgagnier@twcny.rr.com.
                                                                                  Thank you.

                                                                                2. Ingredients

                                                                                  1 tablespoon butter
                                                                                  1 onion, chopped
                                                                                  2 tablespoons white vinegar
                                                                                  2 tablespoons brown sugar
                                                                                  3 tablespoons lemon juice
                                                                                  1/2 tablespoon prepared mustard
                                                                                  3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
                                                                                  1 pound lean ground beef
                                                                                  1 cup ketchup
                                                                                  1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
                                                                                  1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
                                                                                  salt and pepper to taste

                                                                                  13 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: Stacey Kitchens

                                                                                    Can I ask how you came about the recipe, Stacey?

                                                                                    1. re: Stacey Kitchens

                                                                                      Was the ground beef boiled before adding or browned and defatted?

                                                                                      1. re: wolfe

                                                                                        The people in upstate New York can complain and explain but they are making coney dogs. Now I believe a real coney dog or chili dog is a red spicy meat sauce without beans. If I get a chili dog with beans I know the person making it is from Chicago and they may know how to drag a dog through a garden but they don't know how to make chili/coney dogs. I think the reason the upstate New York people insist they are not making coney dogs is because in their region a coney dog isn't a hotdog with a spicy meat sauce, it's a white hotdog with spices inside of it. That's what they call a coney dog.

                                                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                                                          I think the people in upstate New York WILL complain.
                                                                                          I would agree with them too, as I don't think a Michigan is simply a coney dog by another name.
                                                                                          With a broad stroke, you can call them ALL chili dogs (or coney dogs), just as you can call all automobiles on the road "cars", but they are all quite different, with different nuances.

                                                                                          1. re: porker

                                                                                            My parents lived in Michigan before I was born and my mother used to make coney sauce all the time. She never called it Michigan sauce. I'm sure there are geographical differences in the sauces, but coney sauce usually doesn't contain any beans and doesn't have to be made with organ meats. I do know that a coney in upstate New York is not a sauce but a white, spiced sausage.

                                                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                                                              But thats part of the mystery of the michigan - nobody quite knows WHY its called a michigan. One thing is for sure, it is NOT regional to Michigan state.
                                                                                              Maybe have a look at this

                                                                                              1. re: porker

                                                                                                What I was referring to when I said geographical differences was that I'm sure that the sauce differs a little within the state of Michigan depending on where it is made and eaten.

                                                                                                1. re: John E.

                                                                                                  Also, people in this region know very well what a Coney Island dog is. I have never heard of it being a white hot dog. I did do a little search on it and that is a type of white hot dog in Western and and Central New York. Michigan is an upstate NY thing. And by Upstate, I mean near the Canadian border(Montreal area)

                                                                                                  1. re: nortnic

                                                                                                    White hot dogs are specific to pretty much the Rochester area. I grew up in Buffalo, and they were not something available to us at all. And they weren't called coneys in Rochester, they were called white hots.

                                                                                                    1. re: jeanmarieok

                                                                                                      We do call them coneys in Syracuse, though.

                                                                                          2. re: John E.

                                                                                            John E., but that's the thing, they are not the same. I know many people who have tried both and Coney Island Dog and a Michigan and all of them had said that they are very different. Many of them are out of towners(NYC area), mind you. They are very different recipes. If you were to set up shop selling Michigans and calling them Coney dogs, the first thing that one would say is "This is definitely not a Coney Island dog." And, by the way, a Michigan is NOT spicy whatsoever.

                                                                                            1. re: nortnic

                                                                                              I don't call myself an expert on regional NY hotdogs. I read somewhere that a 'coney' somewhere in New York, and I thought they were referring to upstate, was a spiced, white colored sausage. If in fact that type of sausage is in western NY, well ok I stand corrected.

                                                                                              I would guess that the 'Michigan' in New York is a hotdog with some sort of meat sauce on it and even if it isn't just like those served in Michigan, they like them that way in NY. I suppose they got the name because Michigan is known for their chili dogs with they call Coney Island hotdogs. I suppose they got the name because all Amercian hotdogs have origins in Coney Island, NY.

                                                                                              1. re: nortnic

                                                                                                I just re-read the last several posts and a though struck me. One place where you likely cannot get 'Michigans' is in Michigan. The Michigans of the northeast have a meat sauce that is quite different from the sauce used on the coney/chili dogs of Michigan.

                                                                                        2. Candy, I googled michigan sauce and it brought me to this. I am originally from Plattsburgh, NY. When my dad passed away while going through his recipes (he was the cook in our family) I came across a letter from a woman who had sent him the original Mitzi's restaurant. I am telling you it is exactly what I remember. I will post that recipe on this site.

                                                                                          14 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: corrie131

                                                                                            Looking forward to it corrie131!

                                                                                            1. re: porker

                                                                                              Have you heard from corrie131? I have posted many comments on here looking for him. Please reply to my comments, thanks!

                                                                                            2. re: corrie131

                                                                                              I'm really surprised that people are so hesitant to give out recipes. My mothers best friend ages ago gave my mom her meatloaf recipe, which is amazing. We named that recipe after this woman and all these years later with my own family, it's still called Marge Glassers meatloaf. Anyhow, I just enjoyed a Michigan the other day while camping in the Adironadacks. It was a hot dog cart across the street from the entrance to Paul Smith's College on Rt 30. Everyone on that area says this guys are the best. It was the best I've ever had and only the second one I've had, the first being from the same guy last year. He served them on Glazier's or Nathan's. I chose the Glaziers.
                                                                                              I'm from Rochester NY and we have a hot sauce consisting of ground beef and a very long list of spices and is the sauce that covers a dish we call the 'Garbage Plate'. It's also used as a topping to hamburgers and hot dogs. I posted this recipe and sure enough, the greatest person on the planet, who worked at Nick Tahou's (inventor of the Garbage Plate', posted a comment and corrected my recipe for me. If interested, search chowhound for 'Nick Tahou's Meat Sauce Recipe' and use the recipe in combination with the comment posted.

                                                                                              1. re: Limer

                                                                                                Hi Limer. I tried over and over again to find your garbage plate meat sauce recipe on this site. Could you please send it to me, along with the comment that you said corrected the recipe? Or better yet, please just post it in this thread. I live just 20 miles West of Rochester, but have never "officially" had Nick Tahoe's garbage plate. There are people in my area that "claim" to know that recipe, but will not give it out. No help there. I am not sure if its "legal" to post my email address on this site. I do not see where anyone else has. Thanks in advance.

                                                                                                  1. re: Antilope

                                                                                                    Thanks Antilope for the Nick Tahou's meat sauce recipe!! I'll give it a try this weekend!

                                                                                                    1. re: camelotisp

                                                                                                      Here's another version of the recipe I found with Google. I haven't made either one yet.

                                                                                                      Nick Tahou's Garbage Plate

                                                                                                      Here's another recipe I found while searching: (not related to the Nick Tahou recipe


                                                                                                      Michigan Coney Sauce Recipe

                                                                                                      1. re: Antilope

                                                                                                        Thanks for the quick reply. I looked at both of the recipes, and the Nick Tahou one looks pretty good. It may be the one I already have that I found earlier at another blog devoted to this subject. But the 2nd one: http://www.chow.com/recipes/11840-mic... is not one I'd like. I can tell just from the list of ingredients, that it wouldn't have the flavor I am looking for. Thanks anyways. I am always looking for that special recipe. P.S. corrie131 (see the name above) says they have a good recipe and I hope it gets posted on this blog some time soon. Would love to try it out.

                                                                                              2. re: corrie131

                                                                                                Yes Corrie I too am looking forward to seeing your recipe posted on this site! Thanks

                                                                                                1. re: corrie131

                                                                                                  Hi corrie131,
                                                                                                  I was just wondering if you found your recipe and plan to post it on here, as you said. I'd really love to try it. Thanks!

                                                                                                  1. re: corrie131

                                                                                                    Hi corrie131, I am still very interested in receiving your recipe for your dad's recipe from Mitzi's restaurant. Please post it here or send it to my email camelotisp@yahoo.com Thanks!!

                                                                                                    1. re: camelotisp

                                                                                                      Has anyone on this blog gotten ahold of corrie131 yet for his recipe?? I am seriously interested in it, but I never see his reply to our pleas for his recipe. He posted this offer back on August 06, 2010. Please look above for his posting. Can anyone help me??

                                                                                                      1. re: camelotisp

                                                                                                        Is it Mitzi's or Nitzi's? Here's a link to Nitzi's Original Michigan Sauce recipe

                                                                                                        1. re: camelotisp

                                                                                                          I dunno, if you click on corrie's home page, it shows only one thread and this is it. Maybe a lurker who has since disappeared?

                                                                                                    2. Vermont Recipe for Charlie's Red Hots AKA Michigan dogs. Party favorite, made it many times and there is never leftovers.

                                                                                                      1 Teaspoon Salt
                                                                                                      2 Teaspoons Chili Powder
                                                                                                      1 Medium Onion
                                                                                                      2 Pounds Steak Hamburg (or use the 85%)
                                                                                                      3 Cloves Garlic or garlic powder
                                                                                                      5 Tablespoons Butter or Margarine
                                                                                                      3 Cubes Beef bouillon
                                                                                                      2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
                                                                                                      1 ½ cups Water or beef broth
                                                                                                      ½ Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper or cracked red pepper

                                                                                                      Combine all ingredients and cook slowly about 2 ½ hours

                                                                                                      I use toasted New England style hot dog rolls with Mckenzie Natural Casing Franks. MMmmm

                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                      1. re: shween

                                                                                                        shween...made that same recipe around Christmas (same recipe, smae rolls, and same hot dogs !!). One twist was I had the butcher double grind a bottom round roast for me to use as ground beef (about 85 % lean and a nice fine grind). It worked perfectly as you want to avoid large pieces of meat to keep the consistency small crumble of meat. It was a HUGE hit...

                                                                                                      2. Almost Flint-Style Coney Sauce - Source: Grand Rapids Press , October 15, 2007

                                                                                                        The Cruise Coney - Source: The Detroit News, August 14, 2008

                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: Antilope

                                                                                                            Hmmmm Turkey and hotdogs....... not quite sure what the goal is there. Health foodish maybe? LOL I say bring on the lard, beef , and food byproducts! And always remember - Pork Fat Rules! EUREKA! Bacon wrapped hot dog w/ meat sauce. <runs to kitchen>

                                                                                                            1. re: Antilope

                                                                                                              definitely not a Michigan, maybe healthy to some, but make something else.

                                                                                                              1. re: Antilope

                                                                                                                Flint Coney Island Hot Dog Sauce

                                                                                                                1 Tbsp butter
                                                                                                                1 Tbsp Margarine
                                                                                                                1 1/2 lbs LEAN Ground Beef
                                                                                                                2 medium onions, minced
                                                                                                                1 clove garlic, minced
                                                                                                                3 Tbsp Chili Powder
                                                                                                                1 Tbsp Cumin
                                                                                                                1 Tbsp Prepared mustard
                                                                                                                1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
                                                                                                                1 (6 oz) can of water
                                                                                                                13 to 16 Cheap skinless hot dogs, ground up
                                                                                                                Salt and pepper to taste

                                                                                                                DO NOT brown ground beef before using.
                                                                                                                Combine ALL ingredients except hot dogs and simmer until thick.

                                                                                                                Grind the hot dogs (or chop in food processor) stir into mixture and cook 15 minutes longer.

                                                                                                                The final results must be cooled overnight and reheated before use, allowing the flavors to merge.

                                                                                                                Use over GOOD casing hot dogs (like Koegle's) with chopped onion and mustard. The big secret in this recipe is the cheap ground hot dogs.

                                                                                                            2. Nice to see folks back in NY still up and at it. One thing's for sure - the greek style sauce has NO TOMATO whatsoever. Antilope - best recipe I've found to date that's close to Newest's and Redwood is below. Those sauces have a spice flavor, ultra fine texture and feel all their own. Not to mention that dark, almost black color. Using this recipe I back the chili powder down to 2Tbs to keep it from overpowering the flavor. Try it and see what you think. Enjoy all!

                                                                                                              Original Greek Coney Sauce

                                                                                                              1 pound Ground beef
                                                                                                              1 cup lard
                                                                                                              1 medium Onion(s), diced
                                                                                                              1/3 cup Chili powder
                                                                                                              2 teaspoons Paprika
                                                                                                              1 teaspoon Black pepper, coarsely ground
                                                                                                              1 teaspoon Garlic powder
                                                                                                              1 teaspoon Cumin powder
                                                                                                              1 teaspoon Allspice
                                                                                                              1 teaspoon Basil, dried
                                                                                                              1 teaspoon Salt
                                                                                                              1/2 teaspoon Oregano, dried

                                                                                                              To get the right consistency, cover the meat with water and soak, in the fridge, for about 30 minutes. Then take a fork and break up any remaining chunks. Drain the water and go on to browning. You will have some water while browning but it will slowly steam off.
                                                                                                              Brown beef, onion and shortening.
                                                                                                              Add remaining ingredients.
                                                                                                              Simmer for 2 hours. You may have to add some water.

                                                                                                              17 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: jdp

                                                                                                                OY! a cup of lard? I can almost hear the arteries hardening... With the myriad of recipes that have appeared on this site over the last 4 years is there a definite conclusion to the one recipe that comes closest to the Michigan sauce I used to remember at Nitzi's in the late 50's early 60's? yeah, I'm older than dirt...and one of my fondest memories of SUNY P'burgh was that spot out on route 9

                                                                                                                1. re: bigapple134

                                                                                                                  A cup of lard in a meat based recipe does seem a little over the top but remember, a cup of lard is better for you than a cup of butter. I bet 80% of cake and cookie recipes call for at least a cup of butter.

                                                                                                                  1. re: bigapple134

                                                                                                                    corrie131 has the original Nitzi's recipe and intended to post it her, but perhaps couldn't find it or forgot...

                                                                                                                      1. re: eclecticsynergy

                                                                                                                        Michigan Sauce, Coney Island Sauce, Texas Weiner Sauce - Meriden, CT - Record Journal newspaper, July 27, 1994

                                                                                                                    1. re: jdp

                                                                                                                      Member folks - the taste is in the fat. Or was that last eye'o'round you ate just wonderful? Yuck.

                                                                                                                      1. re: jdp

                                                                                                                        as a matter of fact that eye round WAS delicious... As a nursing grad from P'burgh I have learned to cook/eat healthier and adjusted MY tastes...no yuck factor here at all...

                                                                                                                        1. re: bigapple134

                                                                                                                          Ok, good for you. But this isn't about the "health value" of a hotdog n sauce - it's about the taste, texture and all around hedonistic value of them. I'm sure a fat free hotdog has it's merits. Somewhere. Just nowhere I happen to be at that time.
                                                                                                                          I'll go toe to toe w/ your eye o' the round anyday with a crappy ribeye from the Grand Union.

                                                                                                                      2. re: jdp

                                                                                                                        Used a similar recipe as jdp yesterday but it was very bitter. I really had to play with it.
                                                                                                                        So here's my two cents. I grew up in Plattsburgh and have been eating michigan's for as long as I can remember. I live in Potsdam now and have been experimenting with recipes for the past 4 years. I get kind of obsessed. Though I love my Michigan sauces for different reasons; they are not C and C's and I would never claim that they are. I am still looking for the elusive 'authentic' sauce. Like Ahab and the white whale. The color is confounding. We help host a hot dog party every year and michigan's are my responsibility. Here's a couple of tidbits to think about. Original michigan sauce has absolutely no tomato in it. I dare you to go to C and C's or Gus's and tell me different. But, I like mine with a little tomato sauce. I see a lot of recipes with gobs of tomato paste or sauce. I suggest using no more than one regular size can of sauce for 1-2 lbs meat. Skip the paste. My personal secret is to use curry. I usually make 2 batches at a time. one with curry and tomato and one that is boiled with no tomato. The difference is both textural and flavor. The no tomato batch I did yesterday had saffron. It was nice but too much chili powder. I used a dark organic that was a little rustic tasting. So here is my tomato michigan sauce recipe or close to it as I always play. Also, my no tomato recipe is drastically different.

                                                                                                                        1-2 lbs ground beef (though now I wonder about turkey burger)
                                                                                                                        1 can tomato sauce
                                                                                                                        2 tbs worchestershire
                                                                                                                        2 tsp allspice
                                                                                                                        2 small- medium onions
                                                                                                                        2 tsp salt and pepper
                                                                                                                        2 tsp garlic powder
                                                                                                                        1 tsp cumin
                                                                                                                        2 tbs vinegar
                                                                                                                        2 tbs franks red hot
                                                                                                                        2 tbs chili powder
                                                                                                                        2 tsp chili flakes
                                                                                                                        3 tbs curry powder
                                                                                                                        2 tbs yellow mustard
                                                                                                                        2 tbs catsup

                                                                                                                        Thats about it off the top of my head. Make sure you drain the fat and cook it down for 4-6 hours at least, adding water to moisten. I would love to here from Plattsburgh area people about there no tomato recipes as I remain stumped.

                                                                                                                        1. re: natron2000

                                                                                                                          Natron, have you tested any of the non-tomato recipes offered on this thread?

                                                                                                                          1. re: Pigpen24

                                                                                                                            Also, could you share your non-tomato recipe?

                                                                                                                            1. re: Pigpen24

                                                                                                                              I tried the jdp recipe minus the lard and found it to be kind of strange. It seems like it should be great but I had to change it for my tastes. The all spice was nice though. Shween's recipe looks promising too. For the most part, throughout my research I found that, though the recipes are all different, they basically have the same ingredients. Changing the amounts by a tbs or so won't effect the end result that dramatically. The thing that gets me is the color and how it looks as though there are very few ingredients but a very exotic flavor. The meat is lighter making me think that it is possibly turkey burger, and it should be more of a yellow rather than deep red making me think that there is turmeric, or extra mustard powder or cumin and lighter on the chili. That being said the recipe is probably not as different as I previously stated and again I am experimenting and would encourage others to do so as well. And please post your results.

                                                                                                                              Nate's Non-tomato recipe:

                                                                                                                              1 lb ground beef or turkey? not sure of original
                                                                                                                              1 medium onion minced

                                                                                                                              I would say 1-2 tbs cumin but my uncles from Plattsburgh say closer to 1 tsp. Again, this is a possible cause for the color? and they use tomato in theirs.

                                                                                                                              4-6 big tbs chili powder. maybe more. maybe less. I start with less and add as cooking to taste. This is why so many people think there's tomato sauce/paste.

                                                                                                                              1 tbs yellow mustard or mustard powder
                                                                                                                              2 tbs Franks red hot
                                                                                                                              2 tsp crushed red pepper

                                                                                                                              Heres where I experiment. I add vinegar. Not sure what kind is best. 1-2 tbs.
                                                                                                                              1 tbs worcestershire sauce
                                                                                                                              Allspice berry (to taste)
                                                                                                                              maybe some turmeric
                                                                                                                              maybe garlic powder

                                                                                                                              For the preparation you can either brown and drain the meat or as i prefer for this, boiling the meat then straining. This helps get that dry texture that seems more authentic. Add all other ingredients and simmer a minimum of 4-6 hours. If you boil you may find it needs some fat. jdp uses lard. you can use butter but this again changes the look. With butter the mixture will have a weird luster effect when stirring. Lard may be better or you can just say no to keep it dry. I'm up in the air about most of this so your guess is as good as mine. I'm sure the authentic versions are much simpler, but there is something missing from all the recipes that I haven't figured out. But thats half the fun for me. Happy eating.

                                                                                                                              1. re: natron2000

                                                                                                                                I am fascinated by this. I really want to find the right non-tomato recipe. I think the best way would be trial & error but I can't subject myself or my family to Michigan dogs too often. It's far from healthy and I don't want them to get sick of them.
                                                                                                                                I have also lately been experimenting with making my own Indian food. To my surprise, I have found that many of the curries I enjoy do use tomato as a base, even though the taste of the dish is not "tangy" as you would expect a tomato sauce would be. So maybe tomato can be used. The key is that the sauce should not be too sweet or tangy. That would be more of a Coney Island, I think. That is also why I am staying away from the recipes offered by our Canadian friends because their sauce is described as "spaghetti sauce". While that sounds good, it is not the true Michigan sauce we are seeking.
                                                                                                                                I agree, the color of the sauce is not dark as described in jdp's recipe. It should have more of a yellow tint. I'm thinking there must be a secret ingredient. I'm curious about the suggestion of "organ meats". I thought I might experiment with some liverwurst or something, but that might be crazy.
                                                                                                                                I think I will try your tomato based recipe today. I will let you know how it turns out.
                                                                                                                                I also found this:
                                                                                                                                I am tempted to give it a try because I live very close to Brigante's and could easily pick some up, but it seems like cheating.

                                                                                                                                1. re: natron2000

                                                                                                                                  growing up here in Elmira,NYthere were there used to be around 8 different hotdog places. most were greek. they used cummin and majoram.

                                                                                                                          2. Hello my fellow dogs-topped-with-saucy-yumminess aficionados! Born and raised in E'town, NY (short for Elizabethtown for those not familiar or posing as Upstaters). By the way, after years of traveling, going to school in Rochester, working in NYC, going overseas, and final settling in Ballston Spa, NY, I can report that "upstate NY" is considered anything north of a line drawn across NY from Albany to Buffalo. In fact, in NYC they think upstate is anything north of Poughkeepsie - which coincidentally is where the Metro North tops out.

                                                                                                                            Anywho... I have a tip on how to easily get that fine meat texture we see in Michigan sauce, and for that matter in the Nick Tahou Garbage Plate meat sauce. I make a batch of Michigan sauce each week for my wife and our friends (all from SUNY Plattsburgh). My sauce is based on the Grandma Slattery Michigan Sauce recipie you can Google from Allrecipes.com.

                                                                                                                            How do you get that fine texture? My first approach was to brown the meat - don't worry about the size of the chunks - and put it in the food processor for a couple of seconds. I have a small food processor so it took 5 batches. I varied the consistency of each batch, which was excellent texture from superfine to less-fine-not-chunky. Problem is that it took forever and made a wicked mess. (Yes, I still say "wicked" sometimes.) My solution? Potato masher. I brown the meat in a large stock pot - nothing added, just brown the meat. Use the potato masher as your stirring weapon and begin the process of breaking up chunks as they brown. While it cooks, the masher action will break up the meat into the fine pieces - and you still get the non-uniform distribution of particles of meaty goodness.

                                                                                                                            Depending on the meat, I find that I have [want] to drain. We need some fat/oil for flavor and cooking, but I just can't bring myself to leave a full cup of meat oil.

                                                                                                                            Other tips and mods I make to the Grandma Slattery recipe:

                                                                                                                            * Apple cider vinegar instead of white
                                                                                                                            * More Worcestershire sauce
                                                                                                                            * Yellow mustard is vital for the flavor.
                                                                                                                            * Play with the brown sugar and ketchup to adjust sweetness
                                                                                                                            * Play with the cayenne to adjust heat

                                                                                                                            An old friend's mom from E'town starts off her sauce by cooking bacon in the pan, removing the bacon, and browning the beef in the bacon fat. I'm willing to bet she didn't drain, but I remember the sauce was fantastic. I also had a recipe from someone who ran a stand in Schroon Lake and it was extremely close to the Grandma Slattery.

                                                                                                                            1. Michigan Sauce A Northeast Favorite
                                                                                                                              Greatest Sauce for the top of hot dogs

                                                                                                                              1 16 oz tomato sauce (comes in 15 oz cans and that is ok also)
                                                                                                                              2 lbs burger
                                                                                                                              2 onions chopped fine (I use dried onion flakes, ¼ cup)
                                                                                                                              ¾ tsp garlic powder
                                                                                                                              2 tsp cumin
                                                                                                                              6-8 tsp chilli
                                                                                                                              ¼ bottle hot sauce 3 oz
                                                                                                                              2 tsp pepper

                                                                                                                              **I also add some dry cayenne pepper. Maybe a tsp or more.

                                                                                                                              Put all of the above in a large pot and mash, and mash and mash together until meat is broken down and all the other ingredients are incorporated.

                                                                                                                              You can now heat it on the stove to give it a head start and then put it directly into the crockpot/slowcooker for 4-6 hours. You really cannot overcook it. Taste a few times, I often add a little more hot sauce or cayenne, as I like it spicy.

                                                                                                                              Frequently check it and suck up the grease with a paper towel or bread. If you make a little dip in the middle, the grease will congregate there. I keep checking and taking it away until I get sick of it or it’s done the cooking.

                                                                                                                              If it looks too dry, add a little water. We like ours pretty dry. It freezes very well also.

                                                                                                                              1. "This is in response to the request for a recipe for Michigan Sauce. There are a ton of recipes out there, most of which contain tomatoes. Where I grew up near Oswego, they call this Texas Hot Sauce. The unofficial rule was that it could only be served with Hoffman’s hotdogs and Freihofer rolls."

                                                                                                                                Here is the original recipe:

                                                                                                                                1 lb. ground round
                                                                                                                                1 c. lard (these days this would be modified to a much smaller amount of EVOO, I am sure.)
                                                                                                                                1 (6 oz.) can of tomato paste
                                                                                                                                1 small bottle chili powder
                                                                                                                                1 large, strong onion, chopped very fine
                                                                                                                                1 tsp. sugar
                                                                                                                                crushed red pepper seeds to taste
                                                                                                                                Salt and pepper
                                                                                                                                2 c. water

                                                                                                                                Crumble the burger and mix with onions. Mix in lard (or EVOO) and brown slowly. Add paste, chili powder, red pepper, salt and pepper. Cover with 2 c. water and cook on low for 2 to 2 and a half hours. It was recommended that you not serve this the day it was cooked. It should be reheated thoroughly the next day. When served on a hot dog, it is generally placed over hot mustard, then topped with raw onion and melted cheese whiz, if desired. In Oswego, this is known as a Texas hot with cheese. We also eat our fish fries with the same topings and call it “Fish hot with cheese.” Not exactly low cholesterol!

                                                                                                                                Here is a simpler version:
                                                                                                                                1 Tbsp butter
                                                                                                                                1 onion, chopped
                                                                                                                                2 Tbsp. white vinegar
                                                                                                                                2 Tbsp. brown sugar
                                                                                                                                3 Tbsp. lemon juice
                                                                                                                                3 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
                                                                                                                                1 c. catsup
                                                                                                                                1 (8oz.) can tomato sauce
                                                                                                                                1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
                                                                                                                                1 lb. ground beef
                                                                                                                                salt and pepper to taste

                                                                                                                                Melt butter in saucepan and saute onion over medium heat till soft. Stir in all ingredients exept ground beef. When the mixture is simmering add the raw beef, breaking it up with a spoon as it cooks, Simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Skim off fat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve over steamed dogs. Garnish with raw onions.

                                                                                                                                Albany Times Union newspaper, Jun 26, 2010

                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                1. re: Antilope

                                                                                                                                  I have had a butcher "triple grind" the beef to get a fine texture....works great

                                                                                                                                2. Here is a link to a blog in Detroit devoted to Coney's, Coney restaurants and recipes:

                                                                                                                                  Coney Detroit

                                                                                                                                  Coney and Chili Recipes

                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: Antilope

                                                                                                                                    The "Only" Coney in Michigan is Angelo's in Flint. Koegel natural casing dogs and smothered in their "Special" Chile and Onions.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: flic5180

                                                                                                                                      I'm from Detroit and partial to the coney's at the Lafayette Coney Island downtown. Here is a link to a bunch of recipes from the Koegel's site - enjoy. I do grind beef hearts for fresh coney sauce when I make it and I only use natural casing hot dogs, yellow mustard and minced onion.


                                                                                                                                  2. Greek Coney Island Chili

                                                                                                                                    1 lb finely ground beef heart
                                                                                                                                    1 teaspoon cumin
                                                                                                                                    1 teaspoon chili powder, or to taste
                                                                                                                                    1 medium onion, chopped
                                                                                                                                    garlic powder
                                                                                                                                    salt and pepper
                                                                                                                                    cayenne pepper

                                                                                                                                    Combine all ingredients in a heavy casserole or pot.
                                                                                                                                    Mix well. Simmer the mixture at least 3 hours (the longer
                                                                                                                                    the better). Add enough water to prevent scorching.

                                                                                                                                    Note: The average beef heart weights 3 to 4 pounds.
                                                                                                                                    Have your butcher grind it twice with a small amount
                                                                                                                                    of suet.

                                                                                                                                    Source: Modesto Bee, newspaper, Nov 22, 1987 from a reader in Jackson, Michigan.

                                                                                                                                    1. Coney Island Chili

                                                                                                                                      Recipe from Richmond, Indiana restaurant
                                                                                                                                      from the late 1930's or early 1940's

                                                                                                                                      1 pound beef suet
                                                                                                                                      2 pounds ground beef (good quality)
                                                                                                                                      1/2 cup finely chopped celery
                                                                                                                                      1/2 cup finely chopped onion
                                                                                                                                      2 Tablespoons chili powder
                                                                                                                                      1 Tablespoon paprika
                                                                                                                                      1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

                                                                                                                                      Render (melt down) the suet.
                                                                                                                                      Discard the cracklings.
                                                                                                                                      Simmer the meat, celery and onions
                                                                                                                                      slowly in suet. Add the salt and pepper
                                                                                                                                      along with remaining ingredients.
                                                                                                                                      Simmer the mixture longer to blend.

                                                                                                                                      Source: Modesto Bee, newspaper, Nov 22, 1987 from a reader in Richmond, Indiana.

                                                                                                                                      1. Greek Sweet Chili Sauce

                                                                                                                                        (Paraphrased recipe)

                                                                                                                                        The secret ingredient is unsweetened cocoa powder.
                                                                                                                                        You can't really taste it, but it adds a flavor dimension
                                                                                                                                        the this sweet hot dog chili sauce.

                                                                                                                                        1 Tbsp olive oil
                                                                                                                                        3/4 lb ground lamb
                                                                                                                                        3/4 lb ground beef
                                                                                                                                        1 large onion, chopped
                                                                                                                                        2 garlic cloves, minced
                                                                                                                                        1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
                                                                                                                                        1/2 tsp black pepper, or to taste
                                                                                                                                        1 Tbsp chili powder
                                                                                                                                        1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
                                                                                                                                        1 tsp ground cumin
                                                                                                                                        1 tsp dried oregano
                                                                                                                                        1 tsp paprika
                                                                                                                                        1/2 tsp ground allspice
                                                                                                                                        1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
                                                                                                                                        1 cup tomato sauce
                                                                                                                                        1 cup beef broth
                                                                                                                                        1 cup water
                                                                                                                                        2 Tbsp honey
                                                                                                                                        2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
                                                                                                                                        1/2 cinnamon stick
                                                                                                                                        1 bay leaf

                                                                                                                                        Heat oil in skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat.
                                                                                                                                        Add ground meat, onion, salt and pepper. Cook, breaking up
                                                                                                                                        clumps of meat, cook until meat is no longer pink, about 10 minutes.
                                                                                                                                        Add chili powder, cocoa powder, cumin, oregano, paprika, allspice and
                                                                                                                                        cayenne. Cook and stir for 3 minutes. Add tomato sauce, broth and 1 cup
                                                                                                                                        of water and heat to a simmer. Stir in honey and vinegar and add cinnamon
                                                                                                                                        stick and bay leaf.

                                                                                                                                        Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, about 45 minutes to blend
                                                                                                                                        flavors. Uncover and simmer for another 15 minutes, until mixture is
                                                                                                                                        reduced to a light sauce consistency. Add a little more water to prevent
                                                                                                                                        sauce from sticking if necessary.

                                                                                                                                        Adjust seasoning, if necessary. Discard cinnamon stick and bay leaf.
                                                                                                                                        May be stored in fridge for up to 3 days or frozen.

                                                                                                                                        Source: New England Home Cooking: 350 Recipes from Town and Country, and Sea.

                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                        1. re: Antilope

                                                                                                                                          This recipe looks very much like what I'm looking for in a hot dog meat sauce. Any other ones like this one out there? Thanks

                                                                                                                                        2. Gillie's Coney Island chili

                                                                                                                                          Makes 10 lbs of chili

                                                                                                                                          Flint-Style Chili Ingredients:

                                                                                                                                          1 1/2 cup shortening
                                                                                                                                          1 cup fine-diced onion
                                                                                                                                          3 Tbsp each paprika, cumin powder, chile powder
                                                                                                                                          10 lb extra-finely ground hamburger
                                                                                                                                          Hot Dog Assembly Ingredients
                                                                                                                                          hot dog buns
                                                                                                                                          Koegel Vienna hot dogs
                                                                                                                                          ketchup (optional, frowned upon by some)
                                                                                                                                          diced sweet white onion

                                                                                                                                          Gillie's Coney Island Chili Instructions:

                                                                                                                                          Over medium heat, melt shortening. Heat until quite hot.
                                                                                                                                          Add the onion and saute for 1 minute
                                                                                                                                          Add the spices and stir, cooking for 2 minutes
                                                                                                                                          Add 10 lbs of hamburger; reduce the heat to very low and cook for 1 hour
                                                                                                                                          Assemble the hot dogs: Grill the hot dogs (preferably a Koegel Vienna dog from Flint, MI)
                                                                                                                                          Place the dogs in buns and top with the Gillie's chili, mustard, (ketchup optional) and raw diced sweet onion.

                                                                                                                                          1. my mom worked at the drive-in in west Chazy in the late 50's early 60's and made Don Drysdale's michigans. that recipe has been our family's secret recipe all my life. It is unique from the others on here. Not spicy and I've made it with / without tomato and like both. Does anyone remember the drive-in and michigan dogs on friday nights, the big spot lights? somewhere here i read someone saying if they can name the secret ingrediant than he'll post the recipe, was that you Candy?

                                                                                                                                            9 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: lumberhead

                                                                                                                                              Michigan Red Hots lovers!

                                                                                                                                              My husband received this recipe from a friend. It is supposed to be the recipe from Ronnie's, Although it has tomato it is pretty darn good.

                                                                                                                                              Michigan Sauce:

                                                                                                                                              1 - 16 oz can of tomato sauce

                                                                                                                                              2 - lbs hamburger
                                                                                                                                              3/4 tsp. garlic powder
                                                                                                                                              8 - tsp chili powder
                                                                                                                                              2 tsp cumin powder
                                                                                                                                              1/4 bottle hot sauce from a 4 1/2 oz bottle
                                                                                                                                              2 tsp. dried onions
                                                                                                                                              black pepper.

                                                                                                                                              Combine all of the dry ingredients in a pan breaking up the meat. Add the tomato sauce, mix well and simmer on low 2-3 hours.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Candy

                                                                                                                                                RONNIE'S!!!!!! My father is from Cadyville and has family in Plattsburgh, Peru and Saranac as well. We live in Glens Falls now but still go up there frequently.

                                                                                                                                                I was surprised to not read of Ronnie's on the thread before this. They were always our family's favorite. C&C is good, but it was always Ronnie's for us!

                                                                                                                                                Thanks for this. If it tastes like Ronnie's, it will make my father's year!

                                                                                                                                                1. re: CaptainArcus

                                                                                                                                                  I was at Ronnie's 4th of July weekend. The sauce was thin and tomato-ey. Not the recipe of old. I confess, Gus' has always been my go-to Michigan sauce.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: 6189mail

                                                                                                                                                    We went to Gus' last summer. We each ordered a Michigan. New owners? The sauce was dreadful, more like Greek spaghetti sauce from Cincinnati. We did not even finish them.

                                                                                                                                              2. re: lumberhead

                                                                                                                                                Re: lumberhead, I have been looking for a good meat sauce. Please post your family recipe that comes from where your mom worked. If you do not wish to post here, please send to my email camelotispatyahoodotcom. Thanks!

                                                                                                                                                1. re: camelotisp

                                                                                                                                                  was really wondering if anyone remembers the drivein and michigan dogs there. This recipe is not like all the others even on this site. Nobody else on here uses this "secret" ingrediant. And I'm curious if thats because the drivein's michigans were a wierd recipe (not authentic) or because it's the only original recipe left. We moved from Chazy when I was 7 and I've never had any of the other michigans everyone raves about. Does anyone remember the drivein's dogs and were they the same flavor as C&C's or Nitzi's????

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: lumberhead

                                                                                                                                                    Clare and Carl's were a bit spicier with red pepper flakes in it. Mc Sweeney's is supposed to be Nitzi's sauce. Even if it is not it is still quite good.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Candy

                                                                                                                                                      So you don't remember the drive-in movie place in west Chazy? It was owned by Don Drysdale as I remember. I know the Canadians came down to the drivein on friday nights just for tje michigan dogs, they would shine big spotlights in the sky to let the Canadians know they were serving. They only served michigan dogs on friday nights. My Dad build Don Drysdale's house on the lake. Lots of history, seeking people who remember.

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: camelotisp

                                                                                                                                                    was really wondering if anyone remembers the drivein and michigan dogs there. This recipe is not like all the others even on this site. Nobody else on here uses this "secret" ingrediant. And I'm curious if thats because the drivein's michigans were a wierd recipe (not authentic) or because it's the only original recipe left. We moved from Chazy when I was 7 and I've never had any of the other michigans everyone raves about. Does anyone remember the drivein's dogs and were they the same flavor as C&C's or Nitzi's?????

                                                                                                                                                2. Believe it or not, there's a stand in Bristol, Connecticut that has a very close version of the old Plattsburgh Michigan. Their sauce is so close to what we would get at Clare and Carl's. The stand is situated on Route 6 on the town line between Terryville and Bristol. No idea where they got their recipe but they had to know someone from the Plattsburgh or Montreal area. The place is called Buster's Drive-in. Always busy. They close for the Winter. You can see in the photo how close the texture is too. Odd finding this so far away from my old home in Plattsburgh. Without that bun from Bouyea, it just isn't the same wherever you go.

                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: sacheney

                                                                                                                                                    And the Bouyea bun is not to be found anywhere. When the family run bakery sold out to ITT Continental they discontinued the rolls. Too bad. That sauce looks as if they fried the ground beef instead of cooking down with the wet ingredients, that looks a bit soupy.