Embracing QB Stafford means embracing the Detroit Coney Dog

Mandatory Credit: Fnp 0413 Ai Nathans 02
Mandatory Credit: Fnp 0413 Ai Nathans 02 /

The LA Rams traded for quarterback Matthew Stafford, and as he and his family prepare to relocate to Los Angeles, we can prepare to welcome him by familiarizing ourselves with a staple of the Stafford family – Coneys. It’s a spinoff of the American hot dog made famous in Michigan. Yes, it’s time to discuss American cuisine.

Ah yes, American cuisine is a spectrum of tastes and smells that is as unique as the culture of each American city. If you travel and waste your time frequenting restaurants like Appleby’s, TGIF’s, Friendly’s, then you are missing the excitement of traveling.  You see, there is a calling to travelers. Each of us learns to specialize in a specific American cuisine. Some aficionados specialize in tacos.

Others sample seafood (fresh-caught Alaskan Salmon is to die for) and become skilled at the various varieties of delectable harvested from the sea. From New England clam chowder to Spanish Paella, the bounty from the ocean is a true treat.

But for landlubbers, the palate must be satisfied with something different. For that, we turn to the American hot dog.  Finally!  A topic that I know something about.  The variety of the American hot dog is truly something every traveler should come to know and appreciate. Why? It’s cheap. It’s fun. And it’s delicious.  How do you like your hotdog? Well, that says quite a bit about your culture.

For me? I was raised from the blend of the American standard roasting hotdogs on a stick (bonus points for blackened skin from holding it too close to the fire), hotdogs on the grill, kraut dogs from an American Amish background, and Chile dogs.

Regional hot dogs are fabulous. But when it comes to the Stafford family, they have been indoctrinated into the Michigan hotdog, a.k.a. ‘Coneys’. A Coney is a chile dog, only it’s not. It’s a Coney. It’s a grilled natural-cased hot dog with a soupy extra beefy meat sauce, finely chopped onions, and mustard. There are no beans of any kind on a Coney. And you will need napkins. A Coney is like barbecued spare ribs. You never order it or eat it with a date who you are trying to impress.

A Coney is a delicious and beefy version of the Chile dog. No cheese. Just the basics. Grilled hot dog, Coney sauce (a beefy meat sauce), finely chopped onions, and yellow mustard.

So where can you get  ‘close’ in Los Angeles? Pink’s chile dog is a great proxy to the real McCoy. Split Top Dogs gets close, but insists on adding cheese to their version, and fails to apply mustard and onions. Carney Train embellishes their Coney with diced tomatoes.  But all are palate-pleasing,

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Want to make your own Coney sauce? Simply doctor up this Greek hot dog meat sauce with 8 ounces of canned tomato sauce or 6 ounces of canned tomato paste. Grill your hotdogs and place them in steamed (or microwave for 30 seconds) buns. Add a tablespoon of the Coney sauce, a teaspoon of finely chopped onions, and a line of yellow mustard. Voila!

Now you can invite the Staffords over for lunch and enjoy a nice version of Coneys that may even score you tickets to the next game. Or simply celebrate the Staffords to the LA Rams by making a batch of Coneys. You’ll be glad that you did.