In the small towns that April and I grew up in there are several small locally owned restaurants that are famous for their hot dog chili. In London there was a local ice cream parlor that was around when I was younger but has since closed. They became so famous for their chili that they quit selling ice cream and instead started focusing on chili. They made their own chili and even though they are closed now you can still purchase Big Red’s Chili at local grocery stores. Here’s a great article from the Louisville Courier Journal with information about Big Red’s Chili. In addition to Big Red’s there was Weaver’s and the Dairy Dart, just to name a couple of places. In the neighboring town of Corbin you have The Dixie Cafe which was popular for their secret recipe chili as well as The Root Beer Stand.
So with all this access to delicious local chili, I guess you could say I got a little spoiled. I have tried to eat the hot dog chili from the can and I just can’t do it! Give me homemade chili sauce any day over the canned stuff!
My mom shared a recipe with me several years ago that came from a lady that she went to church with when she was a child. Evidently anytime that the church had a potluck or meal this lady would bring her famous hot dog chili sauce. I have since lost that recipe but I have tweaked this recipe till it’s pretty close to her special Blue Ribbon Hot Dog Chili Sauce. If you like your chili sauce with more of a kick you can easily add more chili powder, crush red pepper flakes or hot sauce. I don’t like my chili really spicy so I left the spicy stuff out of this recipe.
Blue Ribbon Hot Dog Chili Sauce
1 pound ground beef
1 cup water
1 medium onion, finely diced
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup spicy brown mustard (you could also use regular yellow mustard)
2 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt (more or less depending on your taste)
1. In a dutch oven add ground beef, onion, garlic and water. Bring to a boil, making sure that you ground beef is broke up and no large chunks remain. Boiling it in the water will help it crumble easily. Boil for 10-15 minutes until most of the water and grease is gone.
2. Drain any remaining grease and water.
3. Add the remaining ingredients.
4. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently. Taste and add more seasonings depending on your particular taste.
Prepare your hot dogs and enjoy!
This hot do chili sauce freezes well. I like to make a double batch and put some of it in Ziploc bags and freeze for later.