Copycat Lafayette Coney Island Hot Dog Chili Sauce Detroit Style

"If you want a true and authentic Detroit Coney experience, then make this. The authentic D-chili has beef heart in it... it really does make all the difference in the world, ask your local mom & pop butcher to grind it for you."
photo by soveria photo by soveria
photo by soveria
Ready In:
4hrs 15mins
1/2 gallon




  • In a large preheated pot, add lard (shortening), ground round, and cow heart (hotdogs), and simmer on medium heat until it seperates and browns. This mixture must be stirred regularly and mashed with a potato masher during process to create a kind of rough paste. Drain, but reserve the rendered fat and set aside for next step (yes, authentic Detroit style is kinda greasy).
  • In a cast iron skillet on medium-high heat, add the rendered fat. Slowly, add cracker crumbs 1 spoonful at a time, stirring contstantly to make a roux. It should be a paste consistency but still able to flow, so add additional fat (butter or shortening) or more crackers, if needed, and continue stirring until it turns a nice woody brown.
  • Add the roux to the meat pot along with chicken stock and simmer for 20 minutes at a slight boil, then add all remaining ingredients, and stir until mixed. Cover the pot and simmer for at least 3-hours (longer the better) stirring occassionally so it doesn't burn on bottom, adding water as necessary for proper consistency.
  • Take out 1/3 of the mixture and put it in a blender and puree until smooth, then pour it back into the pot. Continue simmering, uncovered, for another hour, stirring occassionally so it doesn't burn on bottom, adding water if too thick or more roux if too thin, as necessary for proper consistency.
  • When putting the sauce on your hot dog, the dogs must be grilled on a griddle or a cast iron skillet on medium low with a small amount of butter and vegetable oil. Constant turning of dogs is a must and they must never split open. You will be looking for a consistant light brown color with a darker line of brown on 2 sides. If dogs are straight they can be rolled back and forth regularily to insure even cooking with a large hamburger flipper. If curved use kitchen tongs and adjust next to the other dogs. NEVER BOIL A HOTDOG!
  • Steaming buns is the best way in a home enviorment a chinese steamer basket works well or you can wrap them in paper towells and microwave 3 at a time on high for about 20 seconds. Open bun place dog spread slightly thinned yellow mustard over dog. Cover with Coney sauce then top with onions. Additional mustard may be added, however, cheese or KETCHUP is never allowed; lets leave that to the people in ohio, ok?

Questions & Replies

  1. Just lost a competition with a fantastic Mexican chili. Second ingredient? Chilies. Planning on losing again with this one. This was the only recipe I've seen that even looks close to what I remember in flavor and texture. Number one was that delicious disgusting glaze that appears on the chili about 2 minutes after placement- it definitely had additional fat. A lot of it. I'm wondering if you found additional tweaks in your research that you have left out that might be fun to play with.
  2. Hey Everyone, native Detroiter here with an important question. Believing personally that the coney sauce(like the recipe here) is maybe the most important part, you’ve got some other components to assemble. The steamed enriched white bun, the chopped onions(Vidalia or Spanish white), the griddled pork/beef natural casing hot dog….but nobody ever talks about the mustard sauce. It’s not just a standard out of the bottle French’s or other. When you’re sitting at Lafayette or Duly’s, etc it’s usually in a big bowl and is scooped with a large spoon. It has a more sauce like consistency than mustards in the squeeze container. Any thoughts on this?
  3. Dude, I am so pumped to try your recipe - thank you from all Detroiters!
  4. hey there! im going to give this a shot. in the first step you mention the diced hot dog in place of the heart. then say strain out everything. Are we discarding the diced up hot dog?


  1. Thank you!! This recipe is legit! As a former Detroiter, now living in New Zealand, cooking this filled my house with such tasty smells. We'll be serving this to hundreds of people at a regional Burning Man event in a few weeks. I doubled the batch, and it makes... gah, probably two gallons worth of sauce? It's going to be perfect. I ground my own beef hearts on the Kitchen-Aid, and substituted a GF Flour for the crackers to make a roux. Thanks again for the time and expertise!
  2. I was born in Detroit, lived there for 26 years and I was basically raised on Coney dogs and coney Island food. My stepdad was a coney Island connoisseur. I've lived abroad for 4 years and it's at the point where I could literally kill a man for a coney Island. I made this recipe tonight, in fact my Chili is still cooking on the stove but by tasting it I can say this recipe is 100% legit. I used lard and rendered beef brisket fat instead of suet, minced hot dogs (had a beef heart in my freezer but my meat mincer quit on me) and 80/20 ground beef. They don't have saltines where I live so I used Ritz crackers. This recipe is so good I literally made an account here to review it. Thank you man. The only thing missing is the dingy diner full of your half drunk friends, Greek Mafioso, and that one homeless guy sleeping in the back booth
  3. I lived in Detroit on the West Side for 25 years and loved all Coney Island Chili, Dogs, Loose Burgers. This recipe is the Real Deal. We made it today and my husband loved it Beef Suet truly made the difference and the way you suggest mashing the beef up the texture was spot on and the flavor is the most. I will not have to place an order online for $60 or $70 dollars. Thank You So Much!
  4. Just used your recipe and it is really good and authentic. I grew up on the East side so National was always my go to. This is as good as their sauce. I did make a couple of modifications out of necessity. First I could not find cow heart so used veal and it seemed to work out ok. Second, (because m wife threw out the beef fat I had rendered over the holidays) has to make a game time decision to use butter and olive oil. Also seemed to workout fine. Serving tonight at a super bowl party so the proof will be I the tasting.
  5. OK. Out of the gate this is a legit Detroit coney sauce. My only qualm is that this is a copycat of Lafayette. Color was wrong and it has too strong of a flavor (or melding of flavors I should say). ‘Darker’ tasting as opposed to a ‘lighter’ tasting Lafayette sauce. And YES I did follow the directions to the letter. Ground beef heart ordered from an organic farm in Indiana along with real suet......I went all out. Made a double batch in fact just in case of a zombie apocalypse. Since I now live in Georgia and only every so often get to the Detroit area to eat a real coney this sauce is a throwback and a delightful trip down a flavorful culinary lane. Thank you sir for the recipe. It’s delightful. Chuck Hayes (Newborn, Ga. via Royal Oak, MI.)



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