If you were to ask my husband if he could choose what his last meal on earth would be, he would probably answer like this, "An All-beef hot dog, with only ketchup and mustard and an ice cold root beer." Do y'all know my husband pronounces root beer like rut beer? Hilarious, cracks me up every time he says it. Gene, my main squeeze, grew up in northern Indiana, on Lake Michigan right across from Chicago. It's hot dog land up there. In fact, his first job was at a hot dog stand where he worked with his Mom. They were serving up hot dogs and made-on-the-spot root beer. My husband was often in charge of making the root beer. He has fond memories of that first job, especially since he got to work with his Mom (and she made sure her baby got all the hot dogs and root beers his little stomach could stand). My hubby is a bit of a hot dog connoisseur, if there is such a thing. Our son, Alex, has inherited this trait from his Daddy. Those two could probably keep hot dog suppliers in business for years.
Now, hot dogs work a bit differently here in Southwest Virginia. When you order a hot dog, it automatically comes with chili. If you want it without chili, you gotta be specific. They usually refer to a plain hot dog as a weiner dog. But if you just order a hot dog with ketchup and mustard, they are gonna throw chili on there too. And if you go to someone's house for a BBQ, they almost always have a Crock Pot full of chili keeping warm in the kitchen. I enjoy chili on my hot dogs. There are lots of ways to make it. For me, the key is to have a chili that won't overtake the taste of the hot dog (cause I wanna taste that too). But for a true southern experience, add some bbq slaw on the hot dog with the chili. It's how they've done it at Martinsville Speedway here in Virginia for decades and the taste can't be beat!
1 pound lean ground beef
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
2 1/2 tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. worcestershire sauce
3 tbsp. tomato paste
1 cup beef broth (or water)
3 tbsp. corn meal
1/2 tbsp. kosher salt (to taste)
Put a couple tablespoons of vegetable oil in medium sauce pan. On medium-high heat, saute onion until translucent, then add garlic. Stir for about a minute, then add ground beef. As beef begins to brown, use a potato masher to grind up the beef into small bits. Once brown, add in the rest of the ingredients (if your beef produced a lot of grease, you may want to strain some of that out first before adding the rest of the ingredients).
These buns, by Heiner's, are what we use when we have chili dogs. Buns stay up and chili doesn't fall off the side.
Give it all a good stir to combine then reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. Do a taste test at this point to see if it has enough salt. If you want, you can transfer the chili over to a Crock Pot and put it on the keep warm setting.
Cook's Note: This chili is super-duper wonderful on tater tots and french fries. You gotta try it if you have some leftover chili. Throw some cheddar cheese on top and you gotta whole new meal! And you could definitely try this with leaner meats like ground turkey or chicken.
Printable Recipe Here
Printable Recipe Here