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Best hot dog chili recipe? Similar to Pink's or Tommy's from california?

Does anyone know a real good hot dog chili recipe? The kind without ketchup or beans or any of that weird stuff?

The best hot dog chili sauce I have had so far is from her:


I have tried both flash frozen patties and fresh ground beef 80/20 and I think the fresh ground beef is better. Also I bet the founders of Tommy's and Pink's didn't use flash frozen patties back in their day when they came up with the recipe.

Another tip I learned was that the beef is easier to crumble if it is first dipped in water in a large bowl.

I also add some extra lard to make the roux in my hot dog chili. Some people suggest that adding carrot into the chili makes a difference...but I cannot seem to tell.

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  1. O yeah I forgot to add that Tommy's and Pink's chili is super greasy...and it is darker in color than the recipe in the link above.

      1. I'm probably asking a silly question, because I don't eat a lot of hot dogs.

        What's the difference between hot dog chili and chili chili?

        2 Replies
        1. re: Altarbo

          Some hot dog chili has ground hot dogs in it.

          1. re: Altarbo

            I think Chili chili can be eaten on it's own as a meal. Hot dog chili is greasier and less chunky.

          2. My husband and I attempted for years to recreate this particular hot dog chili recipe from of all places a bait shop. I walked in one day and asked the lady if I could have her recipe and she replied, "No. My mother-in-law makes the chili and she won't even give me the recipe!" I was very disappointed, I'm not a competitor to her, just someone who loved her chili. I think that's extremely selfish. Anyway, recently we hit upon a good recipe but it is ketchup based. The key to me, though, was that we cooked the ground beef in a small amount of water with no other seasoning than salt and pepper, and when it was done, we pureed it briefly in a food processor. We then added the other ingredients and let it simmer for an hour.

            1. Are hot dog chili recipes usually this well guarded??? Anyone got any more chili recipes similar to Tommy's or Pink's without ketchup or beans??? Thanks

              8 Replies
              1. re: potbeagle

                I'd love to get the one from Yum-Yum hot dogs in Greensboro, NC. I live in Tennessee now, but well remember the chili served there. I go back every time I'm back in town.

                1. re: potbeagle

                  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. re: potbeagle

                    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. re: potbeagle

                      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. re: Antilope

                        Yuuuccckkk!!! That will now make me never eat hot dog chili from anywhere but homemade now!! LOL. :-)

                        1. re: 41winsin14

                          Beef heart was a common ingredient in hot dog chili from Greek hot dog stands in Michigan.

                      2. re: potbeagle

                        Push Cart Hot Dog Chili

                        1 lb lean ground beef
                        1 clove garlic, minced
                        1 small onion, finely minced
                        6 teaspoons paprika
                        1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
                        2 Tablespoons chili powder
                        salt & pepper to taste

                        Brown ground beef in saucepan,
                        add garlic, onion, paprika,
                        Worcestershire sauce, chili powder,
                        salt and pepper. Mix well.
                        Add 2 or 3 cups of water and
                        simmer until mixture reaches desired

                        Source: Sarasota FL Herald-Tribune newspaper
                        Sep 16, 1993

                        1. re: potbeagle

                          John Pa's Hot Dog Sauce

                          1930's recipe John Pa's Hot Dog Stand
                          at Front & Main Streets, Toledo Ohio.

                          2 pounds ground beef
                          3/4 cup ground suet
                          1/2 Tbsp thyme
                          1/2 Tbsp ground cumin
                          2 Tbsp chili powder
                          1 Tbsp black pepper
                          1 Tbsp paprika
                          1 tsp salt
                          2 large garlic cloves, finely minced
                          1/2 tsp cayenne, or more to taste
                          3 cups water

                          Brown ground beef in heavy saucepan.
                          Add all other ingredients and simmer 1 hour.
                          Spread hot dog with mustard. Spoon sauce over
                          mustard and top with chopped onions.

                          Source: Toledo Blade newspaper - Jul 2, 1989

                        2. Here's the recipe that potbeagle linked to above, cut in half and paraphrased:

                          Original Tommy's Chili for Hamburgers and Hot Dogs

                          This is a copycat recipe for Original Tommy's Hamburgers of Los Angeles,
                          Chili for Hamburgers and Hot Dogs.

                          1 lb ground beef (70% fat) (use 4 flash frozen patties, thawed)
                          1/4 cup reserved ground beef drippings
                          1/4 cup all purpose flour
                          1 (14 oz) can beef broth
                          4 or 5 teaspoons chili powder
                          1/8 teaspoon of cayenne powder
                          1 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar
                          1/4 cup yellow onion, diced
                          1 teaspoon table salt
                          1/2 teaspoon onion flakes
                          1/4 teaspoon onion powder
                          1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar
                          1/2 teaspoon paprika
                          1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
                          1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of cumin
                          Pinch of ground black pepper

                          In a deep, heavy skillet, brown hamburger and crumble it up cook until no longer pink.

                          Drain and reserve 1/4 cup of drippings from the hamburger, (add more cooking oil, if necessary to make 1/4 cup).

                          Remove cooked hamburger from skillet and reserve for later in recipe.

                          Add the 1/4 cup of drippings back to the skillet and cook over medium heat. When drippings are heated, stir in flour to make a roux, stir out any lumps.

                          Cook roux, stirring constantly, for 3 or 4 minutes, until it is bubbly and reddish brown.

                          Add beef broth, whisk well to remove all lumps, about 30 seconds to a minute.

                          When all lumps are gone, stir in cooked, crumbled beef and the remaining ingredients.
                          Whisk well to mix the ingredients, scrape bottom of pan to prevent burning.

                          Reduce the heat to medium-low, and cover. Cook, covered, for about 10-minutes, stirring
                          occasionally, scrape bottom of pan to prevent burning.

                          The chili is done when you can no longer taste raw flour and the onions are tender.

                          1. Thanks Antilope. I made the CopyCat version of Tommy's Chili and it was the best chili sauce I have ever eaten. It was so good I just ate it on a bun without anything else. I'll never use another chili sauce recipe!

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: psyhamlin

                              For a tamale like fix, without making real tamales, I spoon some beanless chili over polenta. Crumbling some Fritos over the chili gives it a masa flour flavor.

                              1. re: Antilope

                                Sounds yummy! Thanks for the recipe and the idea!

                            2. This "secret" recipe is supposedly from a long gone, very popular hot dog emporium in CT. I made it once and it was very hot and I thought needed some tomato product. This recipe was probably developed in the 1950's and was made from ingredients that would have been on hand in a diner of that era. Back then animal fat (lard or suet) was what they deep fried in. Cumin hadn't been "discovered" yet.

                              1#- suet or lard
                              3#-ground beef
                              1-large onion, diced
                              3-garlic cloves, minced
                              6Tbl-crushed red pepper flakes
                              6 Tbl-chili powder
                              3 Tsp-paprika
                              3 Tsp-ground cayenne pepper
                              3 Cups-water
                              Salt & Pepper
                              Melt suet in a large pot then brown onion and garlic and then the meat. Add spices and about 3 cups of water, cover and simmer at least three hours. Skim some fat from the top when done.