Hot Dog Chili.

 

I don’t think there are many people on this planet who have thought about the perfect hot dog chili more than I. I am not proud of this but that is the way I am wired. I enjoy small pleasures in life and try to figure out how to reproduce them, and then maybe (maybe) make them better.

I understand the dynamics of creating a great chili. It is the mixture of heat, flavorful ingredients and texture. Great chilis can be served in many ways. The best chili, in my opinion, should be served alone in a large bowl by itself. It has large chunks of meat and other great ingredients. The next best way to serve it is as a topping for spaghetti Cincinnati-style, with cheese, onions and whatever else piled on top. The least appreciated way, but a very common one, is as a topping for a chili dog. I think this is mostly in the Carolinas. There if you order a hot dog you need to decide if you want chili, slaw and mustard on it, or chili, onions and mustard. It is a binary decision. Pickles, ketchup or, G-d forgive, mayonnaise are maybe things you can squirt out of a packet, if you wish. But on a chili dog the only choice is between slaw or onions, though you can always embrace the power of “and.”

The texture of the perfect hot dog chili is thin enough to spread but thick enough not to turn your bun into mush. It needs finely ground hamburger mixed with tomato paste, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper and whatever else seems to be needed as you taste it. You can start with a can of hot dog chili and then doctor it up as you wish.

Finding the best hot dog chili is a journey. Everything in life is a journey.

Published in General
This post was promoted to the Main Feed at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

There are 56 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Tex929rr Coolidge
    Tex929rr
    @Tex929rr

    OK:  beans or no beans?

    • #1
  2. Bob Thompson Member
    Bob Thompson
    @BobThompson

    The best I remember is the one I grew up on and had regularly at The Varsity (next door to the Georgia Tech campus) in Atlanta. (No beans but with raw onions, but I still got an order of onion rings with it). One of my favorite things to eat.

    • #2
  3. Barfly Member
    Barfly
    @Barfly

    Pfui. Chili is green, not red, and is made with pork. Cincinnati Chili is something a TV Dad would make for the kids when Mom’s away.

    I do love a good fine grained beefy paste with cumin, cilantro, and a little tomato on a hot dog.

    • #3
  4. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Tex929rr (View Comment):

    OK: beans or no beans?

    The religious war is about to begin.

    *Pops popcorn.*

    • #4
  5. David Foster Member
    David Foster
    @DavidFoster

    Hot dog buns as served at many places (such as The Varsity in Atlanta, mentioned above) are far better than anything we’ve been able to do at home. What’s the secret?

    • #5
  6. Jimmy Carter Member
    Jimmy Carter
    @JimmyCarter

    Frito pies.

    • #6
  7. Southern Pessimist Member
    Southern Pessimist
    @SouthernPessimist

    Great chili served in a bowl cries out for beans. Putting beans on a chili dog would be an abomination worse than mayonnaise.

     The Varsity in Atlanta is a good place to start for a chili dog but the best are served in obscure diners throughout the Carolinas.

     

    • #7
  8. EODmom Coolidge
    EODmom
    @EODmom

    Barfly (View Comment):

    Pfui. Chili is green, not red, and is made with pork. Cincinnati Chili is something a TV Dad would make for the kids when Mom’s away.

    I do love a good fine grained beefy paste with cumin, cilantro, and a little tomato on a hot dog.

    Pork is my favorite chili. With black beans. Green chili with fresh chilis – jalapeño, poblano, Anaheim and Serrano in proportions to suit. Tomatillos roasted with onions and garlic to make the sauce and cilantro and lime at the end. Lime crema and avocado to serve with tortillas. Or corn bread made in 9” cast iron skillet. 

    • #8
  9. AMD Texas Coolidge
    AMD Texas
    @DarinJohnson

    Southern Pessimist (View Comment):

    Great chili served in a bowl cries out for beans. Putting beans on a chili dog would be an abomination worse than mayonnaise.

    The Varsity in Atlanta is a good place to start for a chili dog but the best are served in obscure diners throughout the Carolinas.

     

    Great chili in a bowl cries out for nothing especially beans. 

    • #9
  10. AMD Texas Coolidge
    AMD Texas
    @DarinJohnson

    AMD Texas (View Comment):

    Southern Pessimist (View Comment):

    Great chili served in a bowl cries out for beans. Putting beans on a chili dog would be an abomination worse than mayonnaise.

    The Varsity in Atlanta is a good place to start for a chili dog but the best are served in obscure diners throughout the Carolinas.

     

    Great chili in a bowl cries out for nothing especially beans.

    Having said that, great chili has no greater compliment than working as a complement with a great hotdog.

    • #10
  11. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    My favorite used to be chili BURGERS.  Once common at places like Denny’s, I don’t know if any place serves them now.  At least not as a separate menu item.  You could probably order a burger and chili and put the chili on the burger yourself, but not at Denny’s because last time I checked Denny’s doesn’t even offer chili any more.

    The menu at Village Inn, however, does include chili as an optional side item with their burgers.

    • #11
  12. Django Member
    Django
    @Django

    Barfly (View Comment):

    Pfui. Chili is green, not red, and is made with pork. Cincinnati Chili is something a TV Dad would make for the kids when Mom’s away.

    I do love a good fine grained beefy paste with cumin, cilantro, and a little tomato on a hot dog.

    In Texas, they call it a “bowl of red”. No beans, no onions, no tomatoes. [Frank X. Tolbert] 

    • #12
  13. Southern Pessimist Member
    Southern Pessimist
    @SouthernPessimist

    AMD Texas (View Comment):

    AMD Texas (View Comment):

    Southern Pessimist (View Comment):

    Great chili served in a bowl cries out for beans. Putting beans on a chili dog would be an abomination worse than mayonnaise.

    The Varsity in Atlanta is a good place to start for a chili dog but the best are served in obscure diners throughout the Carolinas.

     

    Great chili in a bowl cries out for nothing especially beans.

    Having said that, great chili has no greater compliment than working as a complement with a great hotdog.

    I like how you used those two words, compliment and complement together. Chili completes a hot dog. Beans add a bit of texture and substance to a bowl of chili but it is complimentary. I think we agree on the substance of my argument  but perhaps we might disagree on what makes a really good chili dog sauce. I am embarrassed to admit that these are the things I spend so much time pondering.

    • #13
  14. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Southern Pessimist (View Comment):
    I am embarrassed to admit that these are the things I spend so much time pondering.

    Some folks simply have their priorities straight.

    • #14
  15. Southern Pessimist Member
    Southern Pessimist
    @SouthernPessimist

    EODmom (View Comment):

    Barfly (View Comment):

    Pfui. Chili is green, not red, and is made with pork. Cincinnati Chili is something a TV Dad would make for the kids when Mom’s away.

    I do love a good fine grained beefy paste with cumin, cilantro, and a little tomato on a hot dog.

    Pork is my favorite chili. With black beans. Green chili with fresh chilis – jalapeño, poblano, Anaheim and Serrano in proportions to suit. Tomatillos roasted with onions and garlic to make the sauce and cilantro and lime at the end. Lime crema and avocado to serve with tortillas. Or corn bread made in 9” cast iron skillet.

    I don’t think I have ever tried pork chili. Pork in the south is made for barbecue and chili is made with beef but your description sounds great.

    • #15
  16. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Southern Pessimist (View Comment):
    Pork in the south is made for barbecue and chili is made with beef but your description sounds great.

    Depends where in the South.

    • #16
  17. AMD Texas Coolidge
    AMD Texas
    @DarinJohnson

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Southern Pessimist (View Comment):
    I am embarrassed to admit that these are the things I spend so much time pondering.

    Some folks simply have their priorities straight.

    Agree

    • #17
  18. EODmom Coolidge
    EODmom
    @EODmom

    Southern Pessimist (View Comment):

    EODmom (View Comment):

    Barfly (View Comment):

    Pfui. Chili is green, not red, and is made with pork. Cincinnati Chili is something a TV Dad would make for the kids when Mom’s away.

    I do love a good fine grained beefy paste with cumin, cilantro, and a little tomato on a hot dog.

    Pork is my favorite chili. With black beans. Green chili with fresh chilis – jalapeño, poblano, Anaheim and Serrano in proportions to suit. Tomatillos roasted with onions and garlic to make the sauce and cilantro and lime at the end. Lime crema and avocado to serve with tortillas. Or corn bread made in 9” cast iron skillet.

    I don’t think I have ever tried pork chili. Pork in the south is made for barbecue and chili is made with beef but your description sounds great.

    I make 2 kinds for bigger parties: beef with dried red chilis ( more or less a la Rick Bayless) and pork with fresh green chilis – Hatch when I can get them are special. And I cook for the freezer. Never goes bad. 

    • #18
  19. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Barfly (View Comment):

    Pfui. Chili is green, not red, and is made with pork. Cincinnati Chili is something a TV Dad would make for the kids when Mom’s away.

    I do love a good fine grained beefy paste with cumin, cilantro, and a little tomato on a hot dog.

    Cincinnati chili is a Mediterranean meat sauce. Everyone knows that. You don’t order a bowl of Cincinnati chili. That would be like ordering a bowl of country gravy.

    Harumph.

    • #19
  20. Jimmy Carter Member
    Jimmy Carter
    @JimmyCarter

    I have absolutely no issue ordering a bowl of Country Gravy and eating it like soup.

    • #20
  21. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Jimmy Carter (View Comment):
    I have absolutely no issue ordering a bowl of Country Gravy and eating it like soup.

    If I could eat it without consequences, I might do that.

    • #21
  22. DonG (CAGW is a Scam) Coolidge
    DonG (CAGW is a Scam)
    @DonG

    There is a set of stores in Houston called James Coney Island that serves a yummy chili dog.  They have some vat of cheese sauce that emerges from a gun at the end of a hose.  It looks industrial and tastes yummy.  If you are Houston, get two “all the way”.

    James Coney Island wants to be known as JCI Grill

    • #22
  23. Southern Pessimist Member
    Southern Pessimist
    @SouthernPessimist

    DonG (CAGW is a Scam) (View Comment):

    There is a set of stores in Houston called James Coney Island that serves a yummy chili dog. They have some vat of cheese sauce that emerges from a gun at the end of a hose. It looks industrial and tastes yummy. If you are Houston, get two “all the way”.

    James Coney Island wants to be known as JCI Grill

    I could tolerate the idea of cheese sauce from a hose. I am not finicky about food but those dogs need some mustard to be enticing.

    • #23
  24. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Jimmy Carter (View Comment):

    I have absolutely no issue ordering a bowl of Country Gravy and eating it like soup.

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Jimmy Carter (View Comment):
    I have absolutely no issue ordering a bowl of Country Gravy and eating it like soup.

    If I could eat it without consequences, I might do that.

    • #24
  25. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Percival (View Comment):

    Jimmy Carter (View Comment):

    I have absolutely no issue ordering a bowl of Country Gravy and eating it like soup.

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Jimmy Carter (View Comment):
    I have absolutely no issue ordering a bowl of Country Gravy and eating it like soup.

    If I could eat it without consequences, I might do that.

    Sure, it sounds horrible, but I’m deprived, man. Haven’t been able to eat it in years. Decades, even. I’d mainline that stuff.

    • #25
  26. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Jimmy Carter (View Comment):

    I have absolutely no issue ordering a bowl of Country Gravy and eating it like soup.

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Jimmy Carter (View Comment):
    I have absolutely no issue ordering a bowl of Country Gravy and eating it like soup.

    If I could eat it without consequences, I might do that.

    Sure, it sound horrible, but I’m deprived, man. Haven’t been able to eat it in years. Decades, even. I’d mainline that stuff.

    It would probably be okay on cornbread, maybe even on fried mush.

    • #26
  27. kedavis Coolidge
    kedavis
    @kedavis

    Percival (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Jimmy Carter (View Comment):

    I have absolutely no issue ordering a bowl of Country Gravy and eating it like soup.

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Jimmy Carter (View Comment):
    I have absolutely no issue ordering a bowl of Country Gravy and eating it like soup.

    If I could eat it without consequences, I might do that.

    Sure, it sound horrible, but I’m deprived, man. Haven’t been able to eat it in years. Decades, even. I’d mainline that stuff.

    It would probably be okay on cornbread, maybe even on fried mush.

    What about biscuits?  Or is something additional required for it to be biscuits and gravy?

    • #27
  28. Sisyphus Member
    Sisyphus
    @Sisyphus

    Percival (View Comment):

    Barfly (View Comment):

    Pfui. Chili is green, not red, and is made with pork. Cincinnati Chili is something a TV Dad would make for the kids when Mom’s away.

    I do love a good fine grained beefy paste with cumin, cilantro, and a little tomato on a hot dog.

    Cincinnati chili is a Mediterranean meat sauce. Everyone knows that. You don’t order a bowl of Cincinnati chili. That would be like ordering a bowl of country gravy.

    Harumph.

    Wait. It’s bad to order a bowl of country gravy? Asking for a friend.

    • #28
  29. John Stanley Coolidge
    John Stanley
    @JohnStanley

    Chili needs to be on top of Grilled hotdog.

    • #29
  30. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    I love a good chili-cheese dog.  I use an Angus beef frank, onions, chili (no beans), and top it with melted cheddar.  I may or may not put some dill relish in there, but no slaw . . .

    • #30
Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.