Sabrett's Onion Sauce for Hot Dogs by Todd Wilbur

Total Time
1hr 40mins
Prep 10 mins
Cook 1 hr 30 mins

From Top Secret Recipes Posted in response to a request, this recipe is supposed to be a copycat for the sauce served on Sabrett hog dogs, one of the more popular street hot dogs in New York.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Sauté the onion in the oil for 5 minutes, or until the onions are soft, but not brown.
  3. Add the water, tomato paste, corn syrup, cornstarch, salt, and red pepper flakes, and stir together.
  4. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes.
  5. Add the vinegar and continue simmering for an additiona1 30-45 minutes, or until most of the liquid is reduced and the sauce is thickened.
  6. Makes about 1 cup.


Most Helpful

Thanks All, This is a delicious sause. I'm about to eat my hot dogs now. I lived in new york for 10 years so I missed the city's famous dogs. I took the advice of other reviews and made a few adjustments. I used sugar instead of corn syrup I used flour instead of corn starch. I used about 3 1/2 cups of water instead of 4. It took me a while to cook the sauce down and thicken. I would probably try 3 cups next time. I used apple cider vinegar AND half the amount! Someone mentioned the vinegar was a bit much. I agree. I'm glad I usually keep apple cider vinegar. I like the taste better. I hope this helps someone. Thanks for the recipe, you made my sunday dinner :)

lab76 January 24, 2010

I have made this sauce for 25 years (with some changes) for a vendor. It should take no more than 30 minutes, start to finish for the whole thing. There is WAY too much water, which is why you're cooking it so long - to evaporate the water. You should have no more than 1 or 1 1/4 cup total of water and the other ingredients if you're using a large onion (10-12oz). This is a simple and quick recipe but all the excess liquid is making this more difficult than it has to be. It also tastes better the next day after all the flavors mellow.
BTW, cornstarch is better, it makes the sauce glossier.

Zanne101 May 22, 2012

I have to agree with the others. Having retired from F.D.N.Y. I have definately consumed my share of "Dirty Water Wagon" Hot dogs. Imagine a KISS without a squeeze. Hot dogs without this sauce are mediocre to say the least. I would give this recipe 10* if allowed. BUT, like certain foods that are recognized by their location no one will ever be able to capture the total essence of a New York hot dog because to many related factors are missing. The Water, atmosphere, environment, the hustle bustle, the sounds etc. This brings back so many memories. Just like street corner pretzels in the winter. Thanks so much for the recipe. Cap'n Jack

Firehousecook AKA Cap'n Jack April 08, 2009

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