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Jun 15, 2008 03:09 PM

Kentucky or West Virginia hot dogs with sauce ... and other chili dogs

Now I'm probably going to get the people in West Virginia all hotdogged and bothered for lumping this in the category of chili dogs.

There is even two websites that I've come across ... so far ... devoted to the West Virginia "hot dog with sauce".

This site has the anatomy of a West Virgina dog ... a cross-section photo with components clearly labeled

There's even a slaw map.

But the WV Frank Father has to be this blog with detailed reviews, photos and anylysis of the the dog at each joint. There are close to 400 WV hot dog reviews dating back to 2006 ... who knew?

He writes ...

"A true West Virginia hot dog is a heavenly creation that begins with a wiener on a soft steamed bun. Add mustard, a chili-like sauce and top it off with coleslaw and chopped onions and you have a symphony of taste that quite possibly is the reason that many transplanted West Virginians can never really be happy living anywhere else."

There seem to be variations within the state, but they all adhere to the above definition.

This got started when I was looking for something else and a Kentucky restaurant mentioned it made its own "hot dog sauce". I got curious and googled. It seems to be similar to the WV version and this former Kentucky resident bemoans that others just don't understand ... don't understand.

"In Florida, when you ask for a hot dog with sauce they want to call it and give you a chilli dog with beans in it of course ... By the way we have tried all of the ones off of the grocery store shelves, well let's just say that we would rather eat our hot dogs plain with just mustard than to go through that terrible experience!!! "

So if you have experience with hot dog sauce from these areas, why won't a chili dog do?

If not, what are some regional chili dog variations?

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  1. this is DIRECTLY from my area (ashland, ky/huntington, wv area). a chili dog isn't the same as a "hot dog with sauce," in my experience, because the chili for a chili dog is typically of a thinner consistency and with a bit too much spice to be a "hot dog with sauce."

    the sauce used for hot dogs in this area is much closer to a bolognese, minus the heavy cream. it's meaty and has a great beefy flavor without being spicy. i cannot tell you how many hot dogs i ate at the local ballpark with sauce, mustard, and diced onion. a local classic, i had no idea it was unique or special.

    1 Reply
    1. re: beelzebozo

      Thanks. After reading some of that blog I had a good feeling for what makes a good WV dog, but not how it differed from a chili dog.

      Turns out the website and blog are by the same person.

      Anyway, thanks to you I learned about those WV dogs. When I was curious in another thread about the ice cream situation in your area, I came across Crisps Dairy Treats which makes their own sauce and I wondered what that could be.

    2. Do you have any recipes for the sauce? My short research found none. I would love to try this.

      I grew up in KY and never heard of this type of chili sauce. In my home town we had Pool Hall chili, which is all meat, beer and spices. And most people ate chili buns instead of chili dogs.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Janet

        i do indeed. when i get home from work, i'll find it and post it later tonight. it's my mum's recipe, who used to be the official hot dog sauce chef for the little league baseball field.

      2. I dabbled in this thread a short while back

        talking about upstate NY and southern Quebec "Michigans". As you pointed out NOT a chilidog, but rather a hot dog with sauce.

        I'm not sure of the WV sauce, Janet, but I posted a facsimile recipe for our Michigan sauce.

        3 Replies
        1. re: porker

          They call them "michigans" here in Vermont as well. Which, as someone from Michigan, find confusing...because there they're just called chili dogs or coneys.
          And no one around here can explain the Michigan moniker.

            1. re: chilihead

              In the other thread, I listed a story from the Burlington Free Press;


              where columnist Ed Shamy tries to explain where "Michigan' came from.

          1. just want to say i haven't deserted you guys on that recipe i promised--i'm digging around for it and having a little trouble. it's pretty similar to the one porker posted, but as soon as i unearth it i'll toss it up here.