Midwest Hot Dog Recipes – Brats, Midwest Coneys

The Midwest boasts an enticing array of bratwurst and hot dog recipes that are sure to delight any palate. Hot dogs were introduced by Austrian immigrants to the public in Chicago during the World’s Fair of 1893. Ever since, the region has never ceased to produce a delectable array of hot dog varieties and recipes. Tempting choices of ingredients are used to confect the most popular bratwurst and hot dog fare in the region. The Midwest is famous for its bratwurst, Coney Island hot dogs, chili cheese dogs and Chicago style hot dogs.


Nutmeg is the special ingredient in bratwurst that gives it the unique flavor that distinguishes it from Italian sausage, knockwurst or other sausage varieties. Brats are purchased smoked or fresh. The smoked brats are lighter in color and pre-cooked. Reheating to the desired temperature is all that is required for cooking them. Fresh bratwurst need to be thoroughly cooked before consumption. Bratwurst are often served with fresh or sauteed onion and or green peppers and mustard.

Despite its name, the Coney Island hot dog is contended by Michigan residents to originate in their home state. The dog is served with a special sauce made from ground beef. The recipe for the sauce is as follows:

1 lb. ground beef
2 onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. ground cumin
1 T. yellow mustard
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
2 t. brown sugar
3/4 c. tomato paste

Thoroughly cook the ground beef and drain excess fat. On low heat, add the onions, garlic, cumin, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar and tomato paste. Continue to cook over low heat while frequently stirring. After about 15 minutes, the sauce should be somewhat dry. Spoon the sauce onto heated hot dogs. For the “Cincinnati” version of the Coney Island hot dog, simply sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese on top.


Chicago style hot dogs are another celebrated recipe enjoyed in the Midwest. This delectable hot dog demands an all-beef frankfurter on a poppyseed bun. The addition of sport peppers gives the recipe its extra bite. Following is a recipe for Chicago style hot dogs:

8 all-beef hot dogs
8 poppyseed buns
8 dashes celery salt
16 sport peppers
1/2 c. sweet green pickle relish
1/2 c. yellow mustard
32 tomato wedges
8 dill pickle spears

Boil the hot dogs until thoroughly heated and steam the buns if desired. Place the hot dogs in their buns and top with mustard, relish, tomato, onion, sport peppers and a pickle spear. The tomato wedges are usually nestled between the hot dog and bun on the sides while the pickle spear rests underneath the dog on the bun. Sprinkle lightly with celery salt.

The chili cheese dog is another favorite treat enjoyed in the Great Lakes region. The area is dotted here and there with quaint, car hop style drive in restaurants. One of the most popular items on the menu is the chili cheese dog along with its sister, chili cheese fries. The basic recipe consists of a boiled or deep-fried hot dog that is covered in beanless chili, cheese sauce and onions. Some customers prefer to add extras onto their order including mustard, ketchup and even relish. The following is a simple recipe for the chili sauce:

2 lbs. ground chuck
1 qt. cold water
4 onions, minced
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
5 bay leaves
1 oz. dark chocolate
8 oz. tomato paste
1 t. minced garlic
4 t. chili powder
1 t. flaked crushed red pepper
1 t. allspice
1 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
1 1/2 t. white vinegar

In a large pot, add water and stir in beef until it separates into fine pieces. Mix in remaining ingredients and simmer for at least three hours, stirring occasionally. At the start of the third hour, cover the pot and continue to cook and stir until the mixture reaches the desired consistency. Bay leaves are discarded from the sauce just before serving.

The best of the Midwest can be enjoyed at home anywhere by following some simple bratwurst and hot dog recipes. Brats and specialty frankfurters from the region are family favorites and are sure to please any palate.

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