How to Make a Flint Style Coney Island Dog

I often eat healthy foods, and even have several vegetarian meals per week, however, as I grow up around Flint, Michigan, every so often I like to enjoy something called The Flint Style Coney Island. These are to Flintoids (slang for people from Flint) what Philly Cheesesteaks are to Philadelphians, and what Chicago Deep Dish Pizzas are to Chicagoans.

For those of you who may not know what a Coney Island is, it is basically a hot dog topped with one of many various styles of sauce. The three most common are the relish based sauce of The Chicago Style Coney Island, the creamy sauce of The Detroit Style Coney Island, and the dry sauce of The Flint Style Coney Island, which in my opinion is the best.

You may notice that the three most common styles of Coney Island Sauces are named after cities either in or near Michigan. This is not by accident, as what is now known as a Coney Island Hot Dog was once known as Michigans. Yes dear readers, that’s right, Coney Island Hot Dogs were actually invented in Michigan. Later someone decided to sell these delicious snacks at The Coney Island Amusement Park in New York they became known as Coney Islands and the name stuck, even in Flint, Michigan.

Coney Islands are a major part of Flint culture. Most people from Flint will have memories of going to one of the various Coney Islands (slang for a restaurant that serves Coney Islands) as a child, as a teen, as a young adult, or even as an adult. If you lived in Flint and went to your High School Prom you most likely stopped at your favorite Coney Island before or afterwards. If you went to any of the small music or dance clubs in Flint you most likely finished up the night at one of Flint’s all night Coney Islands. In Flint even when times got bad with factory closings and inner city decay, we at least had the distinction of making the best Coney Islands in the world. Flintoids are really proud of that.

When I married a Canadian and moved to Alberta, I found out for myself that a horrible rumor was true. That rumor being, there are no good Coney Islands west of The Mississippi. Believe me, it’s all too true. What’s a Flintoid to do?

What I did is search for a good recipe for Flint Style Coney Islands. I found a few, however, none were accurate to my taste. So I experimented to make my own Flint Style Coney Island recipe and finally after about thirty attempts came up with what I think is an authentic recipe. Give it a try!

Flint Style Coney Island Dog © MGB

Flint Style Coney Island Dog © MGB


  • 1 to 1 ½ LB of Finely Ground Beef
  • 2 tbs Butter
  • 2 tbs Shortening
  • 1 ts Garlic Powder
  • 3/8 ts Black Pepper
  • 2 tbs Chili Powder
  • 1 tbs Onion Powder
  • 2 tbs Mustard Powder
  • ¾ to 1 cup Water
  • 12 All Beef Hot Dogs
  • 12 Hot Dog Buns
  • Mustard
  • Chopped Onions


  1. Over medium heat in an aluminum, cast iron, or stainless steel frying pan (do not use a Teflon frying pan)
  2. Add butter, shortening, and ground beef.
  3. As the ground beef begins to brown, use a pastry cutter or similar utensil to further chop the ground beef, as it is important to have an ultra fine consistency.
  4. It must not be lumpy.
  5. As the ground beef browns you will want to drain the excess fat and moisture from time to time.
  6. When the ground beef is sufficiently browned add the garlic powder, black pepper, chili powder, onion powder, and mustard powder.
  7. Gently blend these spices into the ground beef, then immediately add the water.
  8. Reduce heat slightly and let simmer stirring occasionally until the mixture has a dry consistency.

You’ve just made your Flint Style Coney Island Sauce.

For an authentic Flint Style Coney Island your “All Beef” hot dogs will need to be either pan fried or cooked in a roller type hot dog cooker. Do not boil, bake, or steam the hot dogs. These may seem like a small details, they’re not! The taste is very different.

You will also need to warm the hot dog buns. Again, for an authentic Flint Style Coney Island your choice of bun is very important. Only use plain white hot dog buns, you know the kind.

Now comes the good part. Put the hot dogs on the buns and top with the sauce.

To garnish or not to garnish your Flint Style Coney Island, with mustard and/or chopped onions, is a matter of personal taste. If you have had one, you most likely have your preference already. If this is your first experience with a Flint Style Coney Island, I would suggest trying them with and without garnishes.

Vegetarians are welcome to use vegetarian hot dogs and fake ground beef.  I am sure they are just as good (and cruelty free too).

First published by me January 28, 2008 on