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Apr 22, 2009 04:29 AM

Charlie's Red Hots Recipe [Split from General Chowhounding Topics]

I too grew up in VT - right in Mallets Bay area, in fact. I am having friends over for a barbeque this weekend, and have been searching everywhere for the Charlie's Red Hots recipe. Does anyone have it? I would only share the food, and not the recipe!! Thanks!

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  1. flcaseyb,
    Here is the recipe that was posted in the Burlington Free Press about a year after Charlie passed away. I make it for the firefighters when they are doing a training class.
    I do cook it longer Enjoy

    Charlie’s Red Hot Sauce

    1 Teaspoon Salt
    2 Teaspoons Chili Powder
    1 Medium Onion
    2 Pounds Steak Hamburg (or use the 85%)
    3 Cloves Garlic
    5 Tablespoons Butter or Margarine
    3 Cubes Beef bouillon (I use the low sodium beef broth-2 cans)
    instead of the water.
    2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
    1 ½ cups Water
    ½ Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper

    Combine all ingredients and cook slowly about 2 ½ hours

    I chop the onion and garlic small and cook in a crock-pot until all of the liquid is gone. I will also add more chili powder and cayenne pepper if it needs more
    zip. This recipe is Vermont’s version of the Michigan.

    4 Replies
    1. re: dasherdog

      my Uncle is the late Ken Miller, owner of Ken's Pizza, The Pub,etc. long time friend of the owner of Charlie"s Hot Dogs. i would crawl smooth to Burlington from Holyoke Mass in a hailstorm to get a Red Hot. the urge to kill a man to get the recipe, or a genuine red hot dog, took years to pass. People do not realize what a state treasure Charlie's was. if you were to somehow open a stand with that on the menu, a fortune would be had.

      1. re: dasherdog

        I am considering opening a Red Hot's place in VT - maybe a cart on Church Street? It's sooooo great to read all of these entries where people remember them! :)

        1. re: dasherdog

          Unfortinantly, this is not Charlie's recipe. There are several ingrediants missing from this recipe. Charlie gave my grandfather the original recipe before he closed the shop and it has been a closely guarded secret ever since.

          1. re: dasherdog

            Thank you for the recipe .. I lived in vermont years ago.. I loved charlie's red hot... vermontlk

            1. re: njreggio

              I'd say stick with this recipe. It is close enough. My uncle got the original recipe before it closed shop but had to swear never to hand it out except to immediate family who had to do the same... Only two of us got this recipe besides my if his daughters and me, his niece. Although I can't pass the recipe along - I can tell you that the above one is good and should get you pretty close. Just remember to butter those buns, fry 'em up, and split those hot dogs!

              1. re: vermonter16

                Pretty close, but no cigar! Wish I could find the one I was given in the early 70' had liver in it & to me... at the time....tit asted just like Charlies. Nothing close to it here in WV.

            2. I too was raised in Burlington and ate Charlies regularly and miss my visits there. That recipe is not the original but is good. It is also hard to find the hot dogs with casings and those special Fassetts bakery buns. An Uncle of mine worked for Charlies and said this published recipe is not original but he too won't give me the original. I know there is a Greek ingredient in the recipe but can't figure what it is.

              1 Reply
              1. re: dtrov

                Please, ask your Uncle if the recipe is 1/2 ground liver & 1/2 ground beef? Best sauce I have ever tasted.

              2. I just posted, but it was lost. I went to UVM in the early 70's. I was a lifeguard at North Beach. I loved Charlie's Red Hots. I am interested in making it for a family gathering this weekend. It is a surprise to find others on the web, that know & loved it. I can't find my copy of the "original" recipe. I do however remember it had ground liver in it. (I hat e liver, but love Charlie's.) I may try it 1/2 beef & half ground liver unless anyone less has the "real" recipe.
                So do any of you all know about Smitty's? A sole food, hot chicken & shrimp place in Rochester??? I refound Smitty's "original" recipe. Please help me with the Charlie's recipe!

                1 Reply
                1. re: janet mvontg

                  I know Smitthy's. I'm from Rochester. Smitty's clsoed years ago from what I've heard. He passed away. I used to go there all the time back in the mid 80's. We went there so much, he would let us back in the kitchen. He had a slogan 'You don't need no teeth to eat my meat'. Here. I found this on the web.

                  Sal's originated in Rochester, NY where I grew up. There were two brothers, Sal and Smitty, each with their own Birdland Restaurant. One in Greece and one at Olympic Park. It was a favorite of ours. After I moved I had to either depend on my sister to send me several jars at a time or make my own. LOL, it's easier to make it myself!


                  1 cup honey
                  1 cup brown sugar
                  1 cup mustard*
                  1 cup white vinegar
                  1 orange chopped
                  Dash of lemon juice
                  Crushed Red Pepper to taste

                  *I was originally told to use Dijon Mustard so that's what I do.

                  Combine all ingredients thoroughly. Bring to a boil stirring constantly. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes or til thickened.

                  Brush on Ribs, chicken or whatever during last 10 minutes of grilling time. Or use as a dipping sauce.

                  Footsie Note: I didn't feel like going to the store so I used 8 Tbsp. of orange juice with pulp instead of the orange.

                  I have put this on burgers, chops, corned beef, ham, virtually everything. It's wonderful.

                  It's supposed to be sweet but tangy with a hot kick to it. You can adjust everything to your own personal tastes.

                2. the McKenzie Packing salesman Mac, was given the recipe by Charlie, he & Mac were friends since Charlie opened, he sold more hot dogs than beansie's did, he sold to booth of them, he said Beansies bought more lard than anyone in the city