I enjoy reading in Cooks Illustrated and Cooks Country about how they try dozens of iterations of a recipe to get it just right. pon further reflection, I downgraded yesterday’s Coney Dog attempt to 2 stars. The biggest variable was which bottled chili sauce to try as the base. That could go on for a long time and I wasn’t sure the results would ever be what I was looking for. Carla is still down in Ashland with her sisters and Judy so I thought I’d make another attempt at Coney Dogs. I only needed to buy another pound of burger to go for try two.
I’m trying to get close to Roake’s (now Annie’s out on TV Highway between 185th and 198th in Aloha). It’s nice meaty, rich, silky sauce. Given that the purchased chili sauce route had little promise, I went back to the web to see if I might find something I could work with. It turns out the internet is home to a argument (as it is for so many things) as to whether wiener sauce should have a tomato base or not. Since yesterday’s had tomato in the chili sauce, I decided to take another attempt at it. I settle on a recipe I found here on Cooks.com.
Many of the same ingredients as yesterday. I used more liquid than the recipe called for; instead of 1 cup water, I used 1 cup home made chicken stock and 3/4 cup water. I also used some corn meal (aka Masa) because I get a hint of that at Annies/Roakes As we’ll see later, I needed another ingredient in the end.
Ingredient set for Coney Dogs take 2 – I also used chicken stock and Frank’s Hot Sauce
Here’s are the prepped ingredients. Really, I only do this for the picture. Many of the spices go in at the same time so I’d use one container. I can’t see myself ever doing the normal thing of adding spices as I go; part of the joy of cooking to me is this prep work stage of the project. Maybe it’s my programming background; you’ve got to have requirements (recipe) and design (prep) complete before you can start coding (cooking).
Mis en place for Coney Dog sauce take 2.
Like yesterday, I sautéd the meat and onion for about 5 minutes, skimmed off the fat, then added the spices until they bloomed. Then added everything else for about a 20 minute simmer. If I did this over, I would hold out the brighteneners mustard and worcestershire sauce until the end. The consistency is much to chunky; rather than using the food processor and all the parts that need washing I used a stick blender. If you do this, make sure you wear an apron; I learned the hard way; T-shirt into the wash.
Simmering ingredients after being blended down to a smoother consistency
I took a taste; ugh. Oh can people like this? I think many people in the midwest just don’t know what good food tastes like. I made two adjustments: more salt and 1/4 cup Frank’s hot sauce. That improved it a bit.
I fried a Nathan’s Famous, and put it in a bun I popped in the microwave for 8 seconds, laid a bead of CYM (classic yellow mustard to you non-BBQ folks), heaped on a spoonful of chili and topped with chopped onion and cheese.
Dinner is served.
Maybe this needs to simmer for more than 20 minutes, but it was pretty bad on my hot dog right out of the pan. Just not much depth. I’ll try it again after it sits in the fridge overnight. If I get up my courage I’ll try a non tomato based sauce; or I’ll start from my El Cid recipe without the chorizo and sirloin steak). That recipe really helped my chili colorado project which is in the fine tuning stage.
A note on the photography; I went into manual mode and tweaked the flash setting manually. It took quite a while to get decent pictures. But again, with Carla gone, I had the whole kitchen to mess around with my tripod and try a dozen or so pictures to get the right exposure. I still needed to cool the temperatures in Lightroom. Our brown countertop really seems to cause my camera to see Orange.