CopyCat Lafayette Coney Island Sauce

I promised you this recipe. It is the much ballyhooed closer than a tick to a dog recipe for Lafayette Coney Island Sauce.

I made this. I smelled it. I smiled. I tasted it. I wept. And the years disappeared and I could remember standing in that steamed up windowed small joint across from headquarters, ordering “2 coneys and an order of fries” as I had done dozens of times before.

Go figure why Greeks (who own all the Coney joints I think) get things so right with a hotdog. Whether you go to American Coney Island, or Lafayette Coney Island, or Zorba’s Coney Island (my local one), the recipe is fairly the same.

It’s an odd little recipe. I doubt anyone could figure it out. But somebody got hold of it. This is it.

I could swim in this stuff.

If you want a true and authentic Detroit Coney experience, then make this. It’s easy, and you can divide it up into 1/2 or so serving sizes and freeze in plastic bags. Enjoy.


  • 3 TBSP canola oil
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 14 oz chicken stock
  • 4 TBSP flour
  • 1 TBSP chili powder
  • 1 TBSP paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 3 cubes chicken bouillon
  • 6 oz V-8 juice


  1. Heat the oil and then cook the ground meat in it, until no longer pink. Use a potato masher to break it up into very fine pieces.
  2. Dump all the rest of the ingredients in a blender and whirr for a few seconds just to mix.
  3. Add to the meat and heat until bubbling and thickened.
  4. Remove 2 c of the mixture and return to the blender and puree.
  5. Return to the pan.
  6. Done.

Serves: 20 or so hotdogs.

Now to properly experience this wonderful sauce, maintain perfect coney dog etiquette:

Place two buns on a plate, opened. Place a hotdog in each. Ladle about 3 tables or so of sauce over each. Grab a handful of raw onion, diced and sprinkle all over. Squiggle a bunch of ball-park mustard over the mess. Grab a fork. Coneys are eaten with a fork, preferably a plastic one, for which you will need a plastic knife to slice off a bite. If you attempt to cut with a plastic fork, you will break it. Trust me.  If using actual cutlery, you can cut this fine with a fork. No go forth and eat a real hotdog!

English: Lafayette Coney Island and American C...

Image via Wikipedia


27 thoughts on “CopyCat Lafayette Coney Island Sauce

  1. Pingback: Dirty old glove « Richard Gabriel

    • Well, you can say what you want, but I’ve eaten a ton of coney Islands in Detroit, and this sauce is pretty darn near perfect. Since you apparently have nothing more to say regarding what is missing or wrong, I’ll just leave it at that.!END

  2. My family loves this. After a trip to Detroit for a wedding and a quick lunch at the crowded Lafayette’s we wanted to be able to make them here in NC. Great recipe, easy, and yummy!! Thanks!

    • You are most welcome. I was thrilled to find it and it was like a trip home to make it and sit and pretend I was at Zorba’s on Brush across from the old Police Headquarters. lol…!END

  3. T. Sands, did you even make the recipe, or you just being a troll?
    I was at Lafayette 2 weeks ago, and I’m jonesing for this stuff. I’ll try this out this week and report back. Thanks for posting the recipe!

    • It sure took me back to my Detroit days. I found it very close to being perfect. lol. People have their own views, but I suspect that every coney island in Detroit had their own recipe. But frankly they all tasted pretty much the same, though I never did a taste testing for that reason. I’ve eaten at them all, but am most familiar with with the one across from Headquarters two blocks from Greek Town. That was the one I ate at the most. !END

  4. I grew up in Orchard Lake, MI a suburb of Detroit. I used to beg my grandfather to take me downtown for conies, always Lafayette Coney Island on Lafayette Blvd. (no offense American, but it was always Lafayette). He taught me the local’s way to order them, you don’t say, “I’ll have two hot dogs with chili, onions and mustard please.” Rather, “Two everything!”

    I’ve experimented a bit trying to re-create this and I believe this recipe comes very close. Here are few things I did differently and one caveat. I added a small grated onion to the ground beef because I couldn’t stand the thought of making any kind of chili without onion. I did not soak the meat in water this time as it grossed me out when I tried this the first time. I found that cooking the meat with the onion and 3 tbs. of canola over low heat in a cast iron skillet keeps the meat from clumping together too much. Break it up with a wooden spatula as it’s cooking and it will be nice and loose. The recipe above doesn’t mention draining the meat before adding the other ingredients but this should be done. The only other change I made was instead of 6 oz. of V-8, I used 4 oz. of V-8 and 2 oz. of tomato paste. Just a preference for consistency.

    Also, I skipped blending the 2 cups of the chili. Just another texture preference. The caveat: the first time I tried this I used Knorr bouillon cubes which were double the size of normal ones. I should have used 1½ rather than 3. It made the chili very salty as expected. Enjoy!

    • thanks for the tips! I thought the recipe very near what I remembered, but I ate most of my coneys across town across from what was then Headquarters on Brush St, just a block off Gratiot…I know all the sauces were slightly different, but not as much as you would notice. When I had a case in the Lafayette building, I usually hit that coney for lunch. Orchard Lake would be north of Detroit correct? Thanks for the input…this recipe has generated more discussion than others certainly. !END

  5. Yes Sherry, Orchard Lake is a northwest suburb close to West Bloomfield. I don’t go there anymore, my parents have moved away. Florida 8 months and Petoskey, MI for 4. Amazingly you can get good Detroit style conies up in Petoskey now!

  6. I’m from Royal Oak, MI and I now live in Canada. I miss my Coney dogs and my chili fries from Lafayette, Kirby’s and National (It’s been about 8 years! OMG! I can’t believe it’s been so long!). I’ve got to tell you, even though I made some modifications to accommodate what was in my pantry and fridge, this recipe comes super close to my lingering memories. Thanks for borrowing/stealing/pilfering/quietly peeking your newspaper like a spy to get this recipe!

  7. Excited to try this! I find the reviews so helpful too! I now live in Las Vegas (we do have an American Coney Island here but it’s on Fremont). There are more than a few former Michiganders out here all looking for a good coney sauce recipe. I’ll let you know how it turns out 😉
    Thanks again!

  8. I agree, not even close. I grew up and lived in the suburbs of Detroit and worked at Greektown casino. I have eaten these dogs all my life. Whether it was after a game or the bar, it was (is) the place to go for a coney. I don’t know what is missing, just know that something is. It’s a good recipe, just not what it claims to be, which is disappointing since I’ve moved South a few years ago. Keep trying…

  9. My mother and I have been using your recipe for just over a year now. We’ve made a couple My tweeks: We use tomato juice in place of V8. Add an additional Tablespoon of chili powder. Add more cumin and tumeric to taste. Also, we don’t blend it, we like the sauce to be a little chunky.

    Thank you for sharing this recipe. We love it!

  10. Good recipe, just not the true coney chili recipe. I worked at various coney islands around the city, and they ALL used beef hearts in the recipe. A for effort, though 🙂

  11. This is really good! I added a tablespoon of yellow mustard and it gave it a little more kick (it was an ingredient in a national Coney copycat recipe I previously used).

  12. Real Detroiter’s would never eat a coney dog with a fork. It’s all about the mess. And yeah why not just say “2 with everything. Side of fries.”?

  13. Recipe was pretty good but it needed more flavor so, I added a TBSP of worsechitre sauce a 1/2 tsp of cayenne and sugar plus 1/4 tsp of garlic powder and black pepper. I didn’t add any chicken bullion cubes because it would be way too salty however, I used the chicken stock and used tomato sauce instead of juice.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s