Make your own michigans

Some scrumptious dogs at Ronnie’s Michigan Stand in West Plattsburgh

One thing about michigans: they’re all unique. As I sampled different dogs for today’s story, I learned that every michigan joint has their own secret sauce recipe. They all have beef and tomatoes, but it’s the combination of spices that defines each sauce.

If you want to give michigans a try at home, whip up one of these not-so-secret sauces. The first is from Gordie Little’s wife, Kaye. He warned me that it’s spicy and packs a real punch. The second is a less traditional sauce by Adirondack Life reporter Niki Kourofsky that’s  featured in NCPR’s Stories, Food, Life cookbook. And check out Niki’s entertaining and thorough exploration of North Country michigan culture here.

Kaye’s Michigan Sauce Recipe

1 16 oz. can tomato sauce

¾ tsp. garlic powder

6 or 8 tsp. chili powder

1 or 2 tsp. cumin

¼ bottle hot sauce

6-8 minced onions

2 tsp. black pepper

2 lbs. hamburger

Place all incredients in a sauce pan and cook over low heat slowly. Let it simmer, stirring occasionally until ready.

This makes a rather “hot” sauce; so if you like it milder, just back off on some of the ingredients. If you like it hotter, add more.

Serve on steamed hot dog placed in a hot dog bun with copped onions either under the hot dogs (buried) or on top. Add mustard and/or catsup, if desired.


Michigan Sauce

2 lbs. uncooked hamburger

16 oz. tomato sauce

8 to 10 tsp. chili powder

2 tsp. cumin

2 tsp. black pepper

Onion or wild leeks

2 cloves garlic (omit if using leeks)

Hot sauce, to taste (about ¼ bottle)

Ketchup, to taste (makes it sweeter)

Mustard, to taste

Horseradish, to taste

¼ bottle beer or less (overdoing the beer will ruin consistency)

Combine all ingredients. Cook over low heat for 2 to 3 hours.

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1 Comment on “Make your own michigans”

  1. Cindy Snow says:

    For those who want a quick path to a great Michigan at home, you can buy a packet of Make-It-BetteRx Michigan sauce at the Plattsburgh Farmer’s Market or the North Country Coop. There are two varieties- Michigan (sweet, tangy and mild) or Michigan Red Hot (the true Nitzi-style Michigan sauce which does not contain tomato sauce).

    All of the proceeds from the sale of Make-It-BetteRx products supports Adirondack Medical Center’s Foundation.

    Check out recipes for Michigans, Michigan Pizza and more on Facebook.

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