There is only one hot dog that matters in this world, the Koegel, and there is only one sauce to take it to another level, Flint Coney Sauce.
As some already know, I grew up in Flint, Michigan. I remember many great things as a child, some of which are still with me today. One of my earliest memories is of my grandfather taking me to a restaurant near the AC plant on the East side of Flint. He was a retired GM worker who loved to eat out, and there were a lot of restaurants to choose from in Flint. This particular one, though, had great Flint Coney dogs, and the waitress was friendly. So my grandfather, who loved the Flint coney as much as the next guy, hatched a plan to get the recipe from the kind waitress he was willing to bribe.
If it isn't a Koegel, it isn't worth eating.
As anyone from Flint knows, only one hot dog matters in this world, and that's the Koegel Vienna straight from the Koegel plant near Bishop Airport. We would buy them by the box, ten pounds at a time, and keep them in the freezer. Grilled and slightly burned is the best way to release all of its magical flavors, but boiled, pan-fried, or microwaved will work when you are in a pinch.
After receiving all the supplies, we returned to my grandfather's house, where he began cooking, and I went back to playing with my LEGOs.
The finished product was amazing, and I have loved the Flint Coney for as long as I can remember and still have them once in a while today. I always pan-fry or grill mine if I am going to have a coney; it's the best.
That was many years ago, and I am not sure what ever happened to that little piece of paper with my grandfather's secret recipe. But with the internet, you can find just about anything these days, and a friend from Flint sent me this recipe. Thanks, Michael!
When I was reading this recipe, I had the flashback of my grandfather and all his toil to get his hands on this, and when I read the ingredients, I felt pretty confident that this was the same recipe. So I thought I would share it so others didn't have to keep frequenting a small diner in Flint, offering cash to a waitress for the secret recipe.
Flint Coney Sauce with Koegel Vienna's
1/2 lb Beef Heart
1/2 lb Beef kidney
2 lb 80/20 ground chuck (or 2 lb ground Koegel Vienna's)
4 Tbsp Shortening or lard
4 Tbsp Butter not margarine
2 tsp Garlic, minced
2 Tbsp Mustard, ground
3 - 5 Tbsp Cumin, ground to taste
5 Tbsp Chili powder, mild
Pepper, black, ground
Freeze the beef heart, kidney, and ground beef (or thaw, if they're already frozen) to about 32°F, but to no cooler than that.
Trim the harder fat from the frozen beef heart.
Cut the frozen heart into 1” slices.
Grind the beef heart, kidney, and ground beef together, before they thaw too much.
Put the ground meats into a freezer bag and distribute them in the bag to an even thickness.
Refreeze the ground meats, again to about 32°F.
Grind the refrozen meats a second time.
Set the pot over low heat and melt the lard and butter in the saucepan. When the fats are melted, add the ground heart, kidney, chuck, garlic, and ground mustard and stir well.
Let the sauce simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Don’t allow the meat to dry out; add a tablespoon each of butter and lard if necessary and lower the heat when necessary. At the end of the 45 minutes, add the chili powder, and add the ground cumin to taste. Also add salt and pepper to taste, then simmer the sauce another 5 minutes before serving.
For best results, serve on grilled Koegel Viennas that have been cooked over low heat (250F) so the natural casing snaps when bitten.