Sunday, October 16, 2011

Ken's Hot Dog Chili

Its game day and Kono requested that I make Ken's chili sauce.  So I quickly read over the recipe and started to prepare for the game day meal. 

The inspiration for this chili sauce came from our friend Ken who is originally from New York.  He cooked up a batch of his mother’s legendary hot dog chili for a bbq this summer.  It was not like any chili dog that I have had before.  After experiencing Ken’s chili sauce, I was sure that this is how a chili hot dog was intended to be eaten.  This style of dog is better known as a Coney Island Dog which has a natural casing hot dog topped with a spicy bean-less chili and a squirt or two of yellow mustard.

The parts are simple but important to achieve the ultimate chili dog.  According to Ken, the assembly is also a very important step.  First you need to get a basic hot dog bun (not the fancy kind).  Squirt a couple of rows of mustard on your bun followed by a sprinkling of chopped onions.  This step allows the onions to stick to the mustard and not just fall off the top.  Lay the natural casing dog with its crispy skin that burst when you bite in to it squarely on the bun and finish your masterpiece with a hearty scoop of spicy chili sauce.  This is a wildly delicious combination that will surely satisfy your hot dog craving.

The chili challenge became a bit more complicated because, after the bbq, Ken shared a second recipe with me that was quite different than the first.  I had all the ingredients, but needed to do a bit of sorting along with a touch of creativity to make it work.  So I picked out what I thought was the best from both recipes and stirred in a bit of my cook’s intuition to create the recipe below.  What I ended up with was a saucier chili with nice body and a good punch of spice from the cayenne.

If you prefer a “FLAMING HOT” chili sauce, kick up the cayenne to 1 Tablespoon instead of 1 teaspoon.  But be careful… this addition will make an enormous difference.  So you may want to start slow and gradually work your way up to a full tablespoon.

I would also like to note that it is important to cook this uncovered so that the liquid can evaporate leaving behind a tender meaty sauce.

Ken's Hot Dog Chili
printable recipe

1              med                       onion, chopped small (about 2 cups)
1              clove                     garlic, minced
1              pound                   ground beef
4              cups                       water (divided)
1              6oz. can                tomato paste

2              Tbsp.                     chili powder
1              Tbsp.                     cumin
1              tsp.                        cayenne
1              tsp.                        paprika
1              tsp.                        salt or 1 ½ tsp. kosher salt
1              tsp.                        black pepper

Place ground beef in a bowl and add 2 cups tap water.  Squish it around with your hands or a potato masher to loosen the meat.
Add spices and mix with the meat well.  This will make a visual mess that may discourage you from the start.  But if you keep going, you will be pleasantly surprised.  Set aside.

Place a pot over med - low heat and cook onions and garlic in about 2 Tbsp. oil for about 10 minutes or until they are very soft and caramelized.
Add meat mixture to pot and turn up heat to high.  Mix into the onions and let cook for about 5 minutes.  
Add remaining 2 cups of water and tomato paste.  Stir to mix and bring to a boil.  
Lower heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for 2 hours or until you have a thick meaty chili.  Stir occasionally during the 2 hour slow cook.

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