Saturday, January 26, 2008

Coney Dog vs. Chili Dog

This weekend I've decided to open up one of the time-honored great debates of mankind: Coney Dogs vs. Chili Dogs. Actually, it's not so much of a debate. I have an opinion, but I'm more curious about yours. So, here's the question:

"Is there any difference between a coney dog and a chili dog? And, please give a reason for your answer."

This is important stuff. I need to know.


Uvulapie said...

Methinks that photo has been shopped! While I've been known to wear a giant ear of corn outfit when playing accordion in front of groups of drunkards to my knowledge I've never donned a hotdog outfit. Especially not one with mustard.

Cindy Swanson said...

Doofus (I still feel weird calling you that), your question made me curious, and I couldn't resist googling it. My quest took me to a recipe on for a coney sauce. Under the recipe are several comments making it clear that there's a big difference between a coney dog and a chili dog. The coney recipe contained not even a speck of chili fact, the recipe reminded me of recipes I've seen for baked beans.'s the link:

Big Doofus said...


Feel free to call me Doofus or Roger, which is my given name (i.e. Roger). I'll answer to any.

I'm still waiting to see if I hear from anyone else on this before I chime in.

Hunny Bee May said...

I don't have an opinion cuz I don't much about hotdogs except that I like them with relish and mustard. But I also like to be included in stuff, so I also googled "coney dog vs. chili dog" to see if I could get a good concrete answer for you, but all I got was a link to yor blog!!! You're first on the list when it comes to "coney dog vs. chili dog".

I think this means you've arrived.

eally said...

Nope, don't know if there is a difference...but I know when DS and I go to Sonic we both order the XL Cheese Coney's - mine with everything (including cheese & chili) and his with just hot dog and cheese. LOL Great question though because I never understood the difference either. I figured it was one of those northern/southern language things.

Kathy said...

Okay, "you say two-ma-toe" and I say two-may-toe." As long as it comes with cheese and onions, I'm okay with whatever they are called. Throw in a tums and I'm doubly happy.

Randy said...

Mr. Shumway,

I always thought they were the same. Except maybe "Coney" is a NY term? Or is it all semantics.

I'm sure you'll give us the answer!


Big Doofus said...

This whole thing started at a recent lunchtime conversation that included a brother-in-law and a friend. Incidentally, it took place at a Skyline where we were eating what that restaurant referred to as a "Coney Dog." If you know anything about Skyline, you know they make chili (Cincinnati or Greek style chili) and their dog is, technically, a "Chili Dog."

I've seen different theories online, but the consensus seems to be that a "Coney Dog" has a sauce without chili spices--perhaps similar to what Midwesterners would call a "Sloppy Joe". A "Chili Dog" has a sauce made of chili, which includes chili powder and other spices. Personally, I prefer the Chili Dog as I like things with spice and heat.

So, that's settled. Now it's time to tackle starvation and world peace.

Mr. E said...

As I understand it... a corny dog (or corndog) is a weiner, skewered by a stick, and dipped in a cornbread type mixture and fried. Cornydogs (as we call them in Texas) are often dipped in mustard or catsup (or ketchup), and eaten off the stick.

A chili dog is basically a hot dog plus chili. It's a weiner placed in a bun, served with whatever toppings you wish.

At least that's how I understand it!

Cornydogs (as we call them in Texas) are often dipped in mustard or catsup (or ketchup), and eaten off the stick.

Now, I'm not sure about what exactly a "Coney Dog" is, unless it's like our Corny Dogs. It may just be a NY thing!

JAM said...

I think this is only important if you're from New York or Chicago where people get into fist fights over stuff like that.

I'm from Louisiana where this is a meaningless argument and they're ALL hot dogs to me.

Sorry I can't help.

I saw a thing about hot dogs on the Travel Channel this past weekend and all these famous places all over the country with hot dogs that people come from far and wide to buy. They all looked good to me, so I would be a useless taste tester.

Plus, the general consensus was that one should never, under any circumstances put ketchup on a hot dog.

Shows how much I know, I LOVE ketchup on hot dogs.

Sniz said...

How'd you get Jason's picture in there so seamlessly?

Me said...

Holy guacamole

Tony said...

There is a difference!
First the coney dog (or Coney island) isn't a NY thing it's a Michigan thing. Although it's argued if it started in Detroit or Jackson.

In NY they actually call them Michigan hot dogs or Michigans.

To be a true coney it should have coney sauce, mustard, and raw onions. That's it. If you can put it on a Koegel Vienna hot dog all the better.

Many places have ground hot dog in the coney sauce (see Angelo's in Flint, MI)in addition to ground beef, and the spicing should be different that chili. There are obviously no beans.

The must tries of coney dogs are

Lafayette Coney Island (detroit)
American Coney Island (detroit)(read there story, it's similar to Gino's and Pats in Philly)

Todoroff's (Jackson)
Angelo's Famous Coney Island (Flint)

Anonymous said...

I live in the "North Country" region of Upstate NY, and what's really popular in the area is this stuff known as "Michigan Sauce" which people smother on top of their hot dogs and often top the sauce with onions, sometimes even ketchup and mustard will go on top of the sauce. There are sweet and spicy varieties (I prefer the sweet stuff, myself...with onions!). Everyone seems to have their "own" recipe for the stuff. It's neither Coney Island Sauce nor Chili Sauce; though it was originally invented as a re-creation of a sauce used on the "Jackson Coney Island Dog" that was actually sold at Coney Island in the early 20th century.

For more info:

Anonymous said...

A Coney Dog is a Michigan thing. There are not beans in a Coney Dog sauce. They are the greatest thing you will ever have in Detroit. Once you move away, you will miss them dearly. A Chili Dog doesn't come close to the excellent taste of a Lafayette Coney in downtown Detroit. I believe New Yorkers call the Coney Dog a "Michigan". Coney's are a Michigan classic and they vary even in the cities within Michigan. For example, Detroit's coney's are wetter than Flint coney's.

Anonymous said...


Funny you should ask about this. I have been working on my own recipe for both coney dogs and chili dogs for several years.

Coney dogs are made from a sauce there are no beans used; it’s made a number of ways, but for the most part is a mixture of hamburger and spices. I have seen coney sauce made from using soybeans ground into a form of hamburger using some spices and cooked in suet, or beef tallow. After working on my own recipe for several years I finally perfected a world famous coney sauce.

The difference in a chili dog is that they are made using a recipe similar to chili soup only as a rule much thicker and most of the time it's enhanced with melted cheese on top. Chili cheese dogs won't have quite the tang, or kick that coney,s have.

Coney dogs are always made with bun, dog, mustard, chopped onions, and coney sauce spread on top. The spices in the coney sauce mix with the mustard release a killer flavor.

Hope this helps you out
Mike E

Anonymous said...

BIG DIFFERENCE!! This is one of my pet peeves. I grew up on Mom's hamburger,catsup,mustard and sugar with a couple hotdogs ground up in it recipe. When I order a Coney Dog I am always so dissappointed when I get a chili dog.

marty said...

Hey Roger, there is a vast difference in coney dogs and chili dogs. I am from Michigan and we love our coney dogs. The true Flint style coney dogs are made with a ground meat and dry spices only. There are other variations, but most of the coney dog sauces are similarly prepared. A true coney has the Koegel hot dog, meat sauce, one line of mustard and onion on top. Nothing more. No ketchup or anything else.

A chili dog has beans, is thicker and is chili powder heavy. Typcially, the restaurants will take the chili that they serve in a bowl and slop it on a hot dog and call it a chili dog. You can't do that with coney sauce. There is an obvious difference in the weight, consistency and flavor of each. The chili sauce is made with ground burger whereas the coney sauce is made with either rough ground or ground beef.

I developed my spices to produce authentic Flint Coney sauce and you can use either rough ground, ground beef, ground chicken or ground turkey.

The true flavor of coney sauce comes from the spices and not necessarily the ground meat that is being used. Please visit to see the spices and pictures of the coney dogs.

Roger, I hope this helps!

Diana said...

Consistency and flavor is the biggest difference in the two. Coney's are sweet and sour and the meat has to be super fine. Chili meat is more bulky and not a hint of sweet. I love them both!