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  • Writer's pictureSteph Ley

What is a chilli dog?

Updated: Oct 19, 2023

Are chilli dogs spicy? What’s in the sausage? What goes on top? Are some questions we get asked on a near weekly basis.

This blog post is here to answer all your questions you’ve ever pondered about the good ole chilli dog.

A chilli dog, or a chili dog if you’re American, is simply a hot dog, in a bun, topped with beef chilli con carne. The majority of chilli dogs, particularly in America, the hot dog itself is just a standard frankfurter and there is much debate over what sort of chilli con carne goes on top. Beans or no beans? Saucy or meaty? Are raw onions ok?

Selection of chilli dogs, chili dogs and chilli cheese dogs, gourmet hot dogs
Our take on the American classics Chilli Dogs and Chilli Cheese Dogs

After many hours/days/weeks of experimenting with different hot dog recipes, various chilli con carnes and several bread suppliers, we have come up with what we believe to be the perfect combo chilli dog.

Our chilli dog comprises the below:

  • One of our signature, handcrafted British native breed pork hot dogs with No Nitrates added fillers or preservatives, just a selection of carefully chosen spices.

  • Topped with 8-hour slow cooked grass-fed beef chilli con carne with just the right about of rich sauce

  • In a fresh brioche roll made with natural ingredients you can count on one hand

  • Topped with crispy fried onions and a mix of red and green pickled jalapeños

Check out our video showing step-by-step what makes up our chilli dog!

So what is a chilli cheese dog I hear you cry?

Ok so actually, the above video shows what a chilli cheese dog is. That’s because we think, if you’re going to do it, you might as well go the whole hog and top your chili dog off with a sumptuous coating of our real cheese fondue.

In case you’re wondering, what crazy chemicals we put in the cheese to make it that luminous yellow colour, it is turmeric. Yes, the nation’s new favourite anti-inflammatory superfood is in our chilli cheese dog. All the more reason to get lashings of that cheesy goodness on your dog!

Are chilli dogs spicy?

Not necessarily. Contrary to popular belief chilli dogs aren’t spicy.

The chilli in the name refers to the chilli con carne which goes on top of the hot dog and not to the amount of spice.

With our chilli dogs, we make our chilli nice and mild and give you the option of spicing things up with jalapeños and our chilli sauce. From delicate to daring, we don’t judge.

Where do chilli dogs originate from?

One of the theories behind the chilli dog’s creation was that it was made by Greek Immigrants to the Brooklyn area of America in the 1910’s who took the European style frankfurter sausage, with a lamb or sheep casing, and topped it with a beef heart-based sauce.

Hot dogs were firmly established in American culture by the 1920’s at the same time that Mexico was known for it’s chilli con carne, with it’s so called ‘chilli queens’ pulling in tourists to buy their rich, flavoursome meat concoction.

It wasn’t long before the mix of cultures came together and the hot dog draped in chilli con carne was born. The chilli dog soon became a firm American favourite, especially amongst Detroit autoworkers in the 1920s and 1930s who found it perfect way to re-fuel during their 20 minute lunch break.

Various regional styles of the chilli dog came about and it soon became a token of regional pride. For example, the Texas chilli dog (or Weiner) is topped with hearty Texas chili, freshly grated cheese and chopped raw sweet onion whereas those found in West Virginia are always topped with coleslaw.

Unlike America’s often homogeonised, mass-produced chilli dogs, we take great pride in serving our take on the chilli dog with all artisan components using real, natural ingredients.

How do you eat a chilli dog?

Good question! And this is up to your personal preference, as well as the circumstance in which you find yourself eating a chilli dog.

little girl eating a hot dog
There is no 'right' way to eat a chilli dog

If you are on your lunch break and happen to be wearing a crisp clean white shirt, our recommendations would be to grab a fork, plenty of napkins and try to find a seat! Start off using the fork to tuck in to the chilli and ‘neaten things up’ shall we say. Then dive in with both hands and enjoy.

If, on the other hand, you are at an event, perhaps tucking into a chilli dog after a couple of drinks, amongst company who won’t judge, we recommend going for the full experience, grabbing the dog, opening wide and just going for it!

Remember, it is worth the mess. Always.

Wana get your chops round the UK's best chilli dog? get in touch to book us for your event!

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