Delicious Michigan Sauce: A Flavor Fiesta

It is with great pleasure that I introduce you to a truly remarkable dish, the Michigan Sauce Southern Style recipe. Hailing from the old-timey south, this recipe supposedly came about when a woman moved from upstate New York to the south and wanted to spice up her hot dog game. What Michigan-style hot dogs are famous for is their sauce – a meaty, chili-like liquid that tops off the hot dog and turns it into an irresistible delight.

This Southern Style version of the classic recipe features lean ground beef, Heinz ketchup, chili powder, cayenne pepper, garlic cloves, onion, and other ingredients that come together in perfect harmony. I learned this incredible recipe from my beloved grandmother Slattery, whose Michigan red hot sauce has been an all-time family favorite ever since.

The meat sauce is actually closer to a homemade chili than a sauce-recipe as it contains tomato sauce, chilli sauce, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce to give it that extra punch of flavor. It’s the perfect topping for steamed beef hot dog in a steamed bun topped with this sauce. Trust me on this; once you try this Michigan-style hot dog, you’ll never go back!

So tie those aprons tight and embark on an unforgettable culinary journey with me as we create the perfect Michigan Sauce Southern Style recipe right there in your own kitchen.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Michigan Sauce Southern Style
Michigan Sauce Southern Style

My dear readers, I have a recipe to share with you that is sure to win over any skeptic and leave you craving more. Allow me to introduce you to the Michigan Sauce Southern Style Recipe! This delectable dish may be simple in its ingredients but don’t let that fool you. The flavors it packs are nothing short of extraordinary.

For those who are uninitiated, Michigan sauce is a meaty, tangy and slightly spicy sauce that is slapped onto a steamed bun then topped with a juicy hot dog. Regardless if you’re a fan of hot dogs or not, this recipe will make you fall in love with them – maybe even convert you into a hot dog enthusiast! The unique combination of spices such as chili powder and cumin, mixed in expertly with lean ground beef and tomato sauce, make for a perfectly balanced and satisfying mouthful.

What makes this Michigan Sauce Southern Style Recipe all the more special? Firstly, it’s perfect for any occasion – whether it’s game day, BBQs or just looking for comfort food. Secondly, the recipe has been perfected over years and tested by critics – earning its place as a well-loved classic. This southern-style staple haunts my sweetest dreams and perhaps it will do the same for you.

In conclusion, if you want to impress family and friends or simply indulge in some homemade chili-style hot dogs, then this Michigan Sauce recipe is just what you need. It’s heavenly; it’s delicious; it’s truly unforgettable. Give this recipe a try – I guarantee that after the first bite, you’ll be hooked!

Ingredient List

 Biting into a heavenly hot dog with southern flair!
Biting into a heavenly hot dog with southern flair!


  • 2 lbs lean ground beef

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce

  • 2 tablespoons chili powder

  • 2 teaspoons cumin powder

  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder

  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • Salt, to taste

  • Heinz ketchup, to taste

  • Worcestershire sauce, to taste

  • Lemon juice, to taste

The Michigan Sauce Southern Style recipe calls for classic southwestern ingredients such as lean ground beef, onion – chopped, garlic cloves – minced, and tomato sauce. Added to this mixture are chili powder, cumin powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, salt, Heinz ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and lemon juice. What’s great about making your spice mix is that you can customize it and tweak them to your preferred level of spiciness.

Note: If you’re a fan of homemade chili, you can also use this as an alternative to the store-bought chili sauce.

The Recipe How-To

 Give your taste buds a boost with this Michigan sauce southern-style!
Give your taste buds a boost with this Michigan sauce southern-style!

Step 1: Brown the Meat

The first step in making Michigan Sauce is browning the beef. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook 2 lbs of lean ground beef until it is thoroughly browned. As it cooks, break up any large chunks with a wooden spoon.

Step 2: Add the Onions and Garlic

Once the beef is cooked, add one chopped onion and 3 minced garlic cloves. Cook for about 5 minutes until the onions are soft and translucent.

Step 3: Mix the Spices

In a small bowl, mix together 2 tsp of chili powder, 2 tsp of cumin powder, 2 tsp of garlic powder, 1 tsp of salt and 1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper. Add to the meat mixture, stirring to coat evenly.

Step 4: Mix in the Sauces

Add 1 can (15 ounce) of tomato sauce, 1 cup Heinz ketchup, 1/4 cup of Worcestershire sauce, 4 teaspoons chili powder, and stir well.

Step 5: Simmer and Serve

Turn down the heat to low and simmer for about an hour until thickened, stirring occasionally. The Michigan Sauce is now ready! Serve on top of your favorite hot dogs, steamed buns or even as a meaty topping for your spaghetti.

Note: If you prefer a spicier Michigan Sauce, you can add additional cayenne pepper or chili powder according to your taste preference.

Substitutions and Variations

 Nothing beats an indulgence of a perfect hot dog coated with Michigan sauce!
Nothing beats an indulgence of a perfect hot dog coated with Michigan sauce!

My dear readers, if you are feeling adventurous, there are several substitutions and variations that you can make to create your own unique twist on this southern-style Michigan Sauce Recipe.

Firstly, if you prefer a spicier taste to your sauce, feel free to add more cayenne pepper or chili powder. If you want a milder taste, just reduce the amount of spice used.

For those avoiding beef, substitute the lean ground beef with ground turkey or chicken for a healthier option. Or for my vegetarian friends, you can use lentils or textured vegetable protein instead of meat.

If you are looking for a gluten-free option, swap out the Worcestershire sauce with Tamari or Gluten-Free Soy Sauce.

For those who want a tangy taste in their Michigan Sauce Recipe, add lemon juice to it or use Heinz Chili Sauce instead of ketchup. Another great variation is to add fresh chopped onions or jalapeños on top of the meaty sauce.

If you are feeling creative, try switching up your hot dogs! You could use any type of sausage or even experiment with vegetarian options to pair with your homemade chili dog.

And finally, if you’re feeling nostalgic for the classic Coney Island-style hot dogs from Plattsburgh NY or upstate New York, try using ingredients such as tomato sauce and chilli sauce instead of ketchup.

Remember my dear readers, cooking is an art form that allows you to be versatile and creative. Don’t be afraid to experiment and find new ways to make this Southern Style Michigan Sauce Recipe unique to your own liking.

Serving and Pairing

 Take a break from the usual and try this incredible twist on a hot dog!
Take a break from the usual and try this incredible twist on a hot dog!

When it comes to serving Michigan Sauce Southern Style, there are plenty of options to consider. One way to enjoy this dish is by topping a hot dog with the meaty sauce, which is a classic way of eating it. You can also serve it along with french fries or even use it as a dipping sauce for veggies or crackers.

For those who like a little bit of heat, adding some hot sauce on top of the Michigan Sauce could turn up the flavors to an extra level. Adding jalapeños or pickled onions as toppings could also be great options for serving.

To pair with the meal, you can consider a glass of cold beer or iced tea. The light and refreshing drink will help balance the meaty richness of the sauce. On the other hand, you can pair Michigan Sauce Southern Style with sides that are relatively neutral in flavor, such as bread rolls or salad greens.

Overall, this dish deserves to be enjoyed in the way that suits your preference by serving it with complementary sides and drinks that make you feel satisfied and happy!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Discover a new way of enjoying hot dogs with Michigan sauce southern style.
Discover a new way of enjoying hot dogs with Michigan sauce southern style.

As with many sauces, Michigan sauce tastes even better when it is allowed to sit and the flavors blend. This makes it the perfect recipe to make ahead of time. You can make a large batch and save some for another day.

To store, let your Michigan sauce cool to room temperature before transferring it to an airtight container. You can keep it in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. When reheating, you can either heat on the stove over medium heat, stirring occasionally until hot, or microwave for 30-second intervals until warmed through.

Some people even swear that Michigan sauce tastes its best after spending a night in the fridge. The extra time allows all of the flavors to meld together and intensify. So, feel free to make your sauce a day or two ahead, refrigerate it overnight, and then reheat it when ready to use.

Michigan sauce is also incredibly versatile and can be used in various dishes besides topping hot dogs. Try serving it over fries or baked potatoes or turning it into chili by adding some beans, diced tomatoes, and corn kernels. The possibilities are endless!

Tips for Perfect Results

 Layers of flavors in every bite! You'll love this Michigan sauce southern-style hot dog!
Layers of flavors in every bite! You’ll love this Michigan sauce southern-style hot dog!

If you want to ensure that your Michigan Sauce Southern Style Recipe turns out perfectly, here are some tips that may be helpful:

1. Properly brown the ground beef

The key to a delicious Michigan Sauce is properly cooked ground beef. Make sure to brown it over medium-high heat until it’s no longer pink. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking or burning.

2. Use high-quality ingredients

The quality of ingredients that you use in your Michigan Sauce can make a big difference in its final flavor. Use fresh garlic cloves, onion, and Heinz ketchup for the best result.

3. Adjust the seasoning

Taste the sauce as you cook and adjust the seasoning according to your preference. If you like a spicy sauce, add extra cayenne pepper or chili powder. If you prefer something milder, reduce the amount of these spices.

4. Let it simmer for some time

After bringing the sauce to a boil, reduce the heat and let it simmer for about 20 minutes to allow all the flavors to meld together perfectly.

5. Be patient when thickening

If your sauce needs thickening, be patient and let it happen naturally as it simmers. Do not rush by raising the heat to speed up the process as this will result in burnt sauce.

6. Refrigerate overnight before serving

Refrigerating your Michigan Sauce overnight improves its flavor by allowing it to fully absorb all the spices and flavors in the sauce.

7. Heat properly after refrigeration

When reheating leftover Michigan Sauce hot dogs, make sure to heat them on low until they’re heated through thoroughly so that they don’t dry out or become tough.

By following these tips, you’re sure to produce a delicious Michigan Sauce Southern Style that everyone will love!


After going through the recipe how-to, you may still have some unanswered questions on your mind. I’ve gathered the most frequently asked questions about the Michigan Sauce Southern Style Recipe and provided answers that’ll come in handy to ensure you get perfect results every time.

What is Michigan’s favorite sauce?

The most popular condiment in Michigan that people can’t get enough of is an Alfredo sauce with aged Parmesan cheese and a touch of basil. It’s the perfect combination of creamy and savory that hits the spot every time.

What is a Michigan style hot dog?

A Plattsburgh, New York specialty known as “michigan” is a steamed all-beef hot dog served on a steamed bun and topped with a meaty sauce called “michigan sauce”.

Where is Michigan sauce from?

The sauce recipe called “Michigan” is rumored to have been created by a woman who relocated from Detroit to Plattsburgh. Despite its similarity to Detroit Coney sauce, Michigans are claimed to have no connection to the city of Detroit, as emphasized by local residents.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, this Michigan Sauce Southern Style Recipe is the perfect addition to your menu if you’re looking for a classic, hearty and delicious meal that can be enjoyed by everyone. With its savory blend of tomato sauce, ground beef, and spices like chili powder, cumin, and garlic powder, it’s sure to satisfy your taste buds and leave you feeling completely satisfied.

Take the time to prepare this recipe at home, and enjoy it with family and friends. The beauty of this recipe is that it’s easy to customize to suit your taste buds. You can add more spice if you like it hot or reduce the amount of chili powder if you prefer a milder taste.

With this recipe on hand, you’ll be able to create a variety of dishes with minimal effort. Whether you’re in the mood for a hot dog with Michigan Sauce or steamed beef on a bun topped with meaty sauce, you’ll have a versatile recipe that will satisfy your cravings.

So why not give this Michigan Sauce Southern Style Recipe a try today? It’s packed with flavor and sure to become one of your new favorites!

Michigan Sauce Southern Style

Michigan Sauce Southern Style Recipe

A recipe for Michigan Sauce was given to me by my mother in law who is from Plattsburgh New York and I have not been able to eat any traditional style chili since. My father in law doesn't care for tomato sauce so my mother in law began exchanging the traditional sauce for Heinz ketchup instead. I have added my own adjustments and this is my final version.
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Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Course Condiment
Cuisine American
Calories 131.5 kcal


  • 2 lbs extra lean ground chuck (may substitute ground turkey)
  • 1 cup Heinz ketchup
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 5 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
  • salt


  • Put all ingredients into a pot and mix together well as it cooks on medium heat.
  • The meat and ketchup being mixed prior to cooking prevents the meat from clumping and gives the best chili texture. This can also be cooked in a crock pot.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 54gCalories: 131.5kcalCarbohydrates: 4.7gProtein: 9.3gFat: 8.5gSaturated Fat: 3.4gCholesterol: 41.3mgSodium: 195.2mgFiber: 0.9gSugar: 3.1g
Keyword < 30 Mins, Easy, For Large Groups, Meat, Poultry
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