A weiner just ain't a weiner without the proper sauce.

Unless otherwise noted, all of the following hot weiner sauce recipes can be prepared in one of two ways: 1) brown the meat in a skillet, then add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for a long, long time (at least one hour), or 2) bring all the ingredients except for the hamburger to a boil, then add the uncooked meat, lower heat, and simmer for a long, long time. According to Robert Randolph (who collected and posted most of these recipes to alt.rhode_island back in 1996), "both methods provide the same taste," but "method two yields the desired 'look.'"

Important: Unless otherwise stated, the chopped onion is to be reserved for use later as a topping. Don't throw it into the pot with the rest of the ingredients unless the recipe says to!

The most authentic weiner is that made by Little Rhody Brand Frankfurts of Johnston, Rhode Island, the company that supplies weiners to all of the New York System-style restaurants in the state. If these aren't available to you, experiment with whatever you can find in your local grocery store, but steer away from jumbo-sized franks and anything smoked or filled with cheese!

Weiners can be fried, boiled, or steamed. In the case of frying, use very low heat. The object is merely to make the weiner hot, not to add unattractive scorch marks. Remember—hot dogs and weiners come pre-cooked, they just need to be warmed up.

The building of the weiner itself is accomplished in specific sequential steps:

  1. Put a cooked weiner in a bun.
  2. Put mustard on the weiner (yellow mustard is traditional).
  3. Put hot weiner sauce over the mustard.
  4. Put raw chopped onions on the sauce.
  5. Sprinkle celery salt on top of the onions.

Hint: Throw your weiner buns in a microwave for five seconds to approximate that wonderful steam table sponginess.

Unless otherwise noted, the recipes offered below were posted in the alt.rhode_island newsgroup in 1996. They are offered for the purposes of information and experimentation only. We have not tested them and can vouch for neither their palatability nor survivability. No guarantee is expressed or implied. Prepare at your own risk.

Hot Weiner Sauce by Anonymous #1

  • 1½ pounds of extra-lean ground beef or turkey
  • ½ teaspoon of celery salt
  • 2 teaspoons of chili powder
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • ¼ cup of lite soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of Gravy Master

Hot Weiner Sauce by Anonymous #2

  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • ½ cup of chopped onion
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • 1 teaspoon of celery salt
  • 1 teaspoon of red chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons of dry mustard
  • ½ teaspoon of allspice
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1 cup of water

Hot Weiner Sauce by Anonymous #3

  • 1½ pounds of lean ground beef (ground twice)
  • ½ cup of chopped onion
  • 2½ cups of water
  • 1¼ teaspoons of ground cumin
  • 1¼ teaspoons of paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon of celery salt
  • ¼ teaspoon of ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of prepared mustard
  • 3 teaspoons of chili powder

Michelle A.'s New York System Weiner Sauce

  • 1 pound of hamburger
  • 2 small onions, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons of margarine
  • 1½ tablespoons of chili powder
  • 1½ tablespoons of allspice
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 1 pinch of black pepper
  • 1 cup of water

Lightly brown one of the chopped onions in margarine (reserve the other chopped onion for later). Add hamburger and stir until it loosens into small pieces. Add the rest of the spices. Simmer on very low heat for at least two hours.

—posted by Michelle A. in alt.rhode_island, April 11, 1998.

Bernard's Hot Weiner Sauce

  • 2 pounds of ground beef (ground twice)
  • 1 cup of finely chopped onion
  • 4 teaspoons of chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • ¼ teaspoon of cayenne
  • ¼ teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 16 ounce can of tomato puree
  • 1 cup of water

CLC's Hot Weiner Sauce

  • 1 pound of lean ground beef
  • 1½ cups of chopped onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 15-ounce can of tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of beef bouillon powder
  • 1 teaspoon of chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1-2 teaspoons of sugar

Bob F.'s Uncle's New York System Sauce

I can say with great confidence that the recipes for New York System style "sauce" that have been posted here are not authentic, because they lack one key ingredient: lard. Sorry to break this to you hot weiner afficionados, but like it or not, from this point forward, you will knowingly stuff your arteries with cholestrol-laden lard... I can hear those arteries slamming shut now. Many years ago my uncle acquired the recipe for the "sauce" (he claimed he won it in a card game), and he made it all the time for family and friends. He used to make the sauce in huge batches that he would freeze in reasonable portions to be thawed when the mood struck. Sometime after I had moved away from Rhode Island and married he gave me the recipe. It's the real deal. I've scaled down the recipe so that I don't have to store a few gallons of it. Here it is.

  • 2 pounds of hamburger
  • ½ cup of lard (I'll admit that I substitute canola for the lard, but you can definitely tell the difference)
  • 8 ounces of water
  • 1 large onion, finely minced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1 tablespoon of paprika
  • 1 tablespoon of celery salt
  • 1 tablespoon of chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon of allspice
  • 2 teaspoons of dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon of Tabasco
  • 1 teaspoon of salt

Render the lard in a large pan over medium heat, and saute the onions and garlic until they are translucent. Add all the spices except the salt and the Tabasco. Add the hamburger, breaking it up and stirring it continually until crumbly and cooked. Add the water and cook as long as it takes to evaporate the water. By this time the hamburger should be blended into the sauce and take on the consistency that you are familiar with. If this does not happen, then add four more ounces of water and reduce. Once you've attained the proper consistency, taste the sauce. Add salt and Tabasco in proportions that suit your taste. These items are reserved until the end because the salt content in the celery salt is variable, as is the degree of heat provided by the various brands of dry mustard.

—posted by Bob F. in alt.rhode_island, March 15, 2001.

M. Logan's Hot Weiner Sauce

  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • ½ cup of chopped onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of bacon fat or vegetable oil
  • 1 cup of canned tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 3 teaspoons of chili powder

M.M.'s Hot Weiner Sauce

  • 1 pound of hamburger, crumbled
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 teaspoon of celery salt
  • ½ stick of margarine
  • 1 tablespoon of chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon of allspice
  • ½ teaspoon of spicy mustard
  • ½ medium-sized onion, diced
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • ½ teaspoon of pepper

Pat M.'s Hot Weiner Sauce

  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 1 cup of finely chopped onions
  • ¾ cup of tomato juice
  • 2 teaspoons of paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste

E.O.'s Hot Weiner Sauce

  • 3 pounds of hamburger
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • ½ tablespoon of powdered cloves
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 1½ tablespoons of chili powder
  • ½ tablespoon of celery salt
  • ½ tablespoon of paprika
  • 1 tablespoon of curry powder
  • 1½ cups of water
  • ½ regular-size bottle of ketchup

Ron's Hot Weiner Sauce

  • 1 pound of lean ground beef
  • 2 cups of water
  • ½ cup of finely chopped onion
  • 1¼ teaspoons of cumin
  • 1¼ teaspoons of paprika
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • ¼ teaspoon of celery salt (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon of allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon of prepared mustard
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons of chili powder

Sue and D.B.'s Hot Weiner Sauce

  • 1½ pounds of hamburger
  • 2 teaspoons of celery salt
  • 2 teaspoons of chili powder
  • 1 or 2 medium onions, chopped
  • ¼ cup of soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of Gravy Master (for color)

Z.'s Low-Fat Hot Weiner Sauce Variation

I make my own low-fat version with Bannister Spice's hot weiner spice pack, lean ground beef, and lean hot dogs.

I fry the beef, then drain and rinse it in a strainer. I get as much of the fat out as possible. Using a large spoon or other suitably curved utensil to compress the meat against the strainer walls will also drive much of the fat from it. Then return it to the sauce pan, add water and the spice pack and simmer for about 15-20 minutes.

You can fine tune the strength of the meat sauce by using less water or less beef. I find that ¾ of a pound of beef (rather than the pound the package recommends) is just about right. (I'm not sure how much water I use—I do it by eye, depending on how dry the beef is after cooking, straining, and draining—probably about ¾ cup).

I also add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil to the sauce about halfway through the simmering.

I boil the dogs (usually Hebrew National Reduced Fat Beef Franks—they're pretty good. Once you put the sauce on, you can't much tell fried versus boiled anyway, and boiled is less greasy), and... viola! [sic]

In my opinion, they're almost as tasty as the lead-sinker kind you get in Olneyville or Smith Hill.

—posted by Z. in alt.rhode_island, September 13, 1999.

Note: Never heard of Bannister Spice's Coney Island Hot Dog and New York Hot Weiners Sauce? Doesn't matter—it's no longer available. Try Olneyville New York System's spice mix instead.

Kountry Kitchen Coney Island Sauce

Little Kountry Kitchen was located on Route 138 in Richmond. This recipe is for a restaurant-sized portion.

  • 20 onions, chopped
  • 10 pounds ground beef
  • 8 #10 cans (12 cups each) tomato juice
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 8 tablespoons chili powder
  • 4 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 4 tablespoons red pepper
  • 4 tablespoons celery salt
  • Salt, pepper to taste

Sauté onions with hamburger. Drain off fat. Season with salt and pepper. Add juice and seasonings. Cook down until thick, simmering about twelve hours. Spoon over hot dogs in buns.

Note: Eight institutional-size cans of tomato juice would contain ninety-six cups of juice.

—from the Providence Journal Bulletin, June 22, 1988.

This article last edited June 20, 2011

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