Chili dogs are a ballpark classic and for many people bring to mind fond memories of games, (pro or little-league), and are just as much a part of summer as lemonade and watermelon. James Coney Island is famous for them. They're, as named, a plain old hot dog covered in chili. That's about the only consistant part. The below recipe is just a place to start. After that, the toppings are up to you. Many folks like chopped onion on top, some people swear by pickles, and many of them go for cheese be it cheap nacho goo or a quality aged cheddar. Limited only by your creativity and your ability to stomach unusual foods.

Chili Dog Sauce from

An original version of the classic "Michagan" sauce for chili dogs.
Makes 8 servings.

1/2 lb. lean ground beef
I medium yellow onion-chopped fine
1 1/2 tbl. chili powder-or to taste
2 tsp. cumin-or to taste
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper powder
1/2 tsp. dried red pepper flakes-to taste
salt-to taste
4 to 6 oz. tomato paste-according to taste
I cup water-more as needed

Over medium heat saute ground beef in a skillet glazed with small amount of vegetable oil. When the meat is nearly cooked, drain off most of excess fat. Add the onion, chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper, red pepper and salt. Saute for an additional 2 minutes. Add the tomato paste and water. Simmer slowly for 10 minutes adding additional water as necessary. Stir frequently. Spoon liberally over hot dogs and top with chopped sweet onions.