Rhode Island Style Hot Dog

Rhode Island style hot dog
  • Servings : 20
  • Prep Time : 15m
  • Cook Time : 35m
  • Ready In : 35m

Did you know that the yummy hot dog covered in chili-like meat sauce which is a staple of Rhode Island is actually called a “New York System” hot dog?

This delightful hot dog starts off with a red hot wiener (a small, thin frankfurter made of veal and pork, giving it a different taste from a traditional beef hot dog), served in a steamed bun which is then topped with a uniquely seasoned meat sauce (the spices vary by vendor but usually include cumin, paprika, chili powder, cinnamon and allspice), and then finished with a line of yellow mustard, chopped onions, and a dash of celery salt.  It you’re in Rhode Island and want your dog served with all the fix’ins, order it “all the way.”

Why the Rhode Island hot dog is called a New York System hot dog is a bit of a mystery.  According to Professor Jack Chiaro, the name New York System (sometimes also called Coney Island System) was first used in Rhode Island in the early 1900s as a marketing strategy to sell hot dogs which, at the time, were closely associated with New York’s famous Coney Island.

About 40 years later Providence Rhode Island Greek restauranteurs modified the original Coney Island recipe slightly to include the spices they were familiar with, including cumin, cinnamon, and allspice.  As a result, the hot dogs sold as New York Systems in Rhode Island today have little resemblance to the traditional Coney Island hot dog, but instead are similar to their Greek inspired cousin; the much loved Detroit Chili Dog or Detroit Coney Island.


20 hot dogs (veal and pork wiener to be authentic)
1 teaspoon salt
20 hot dog buns
Yellow mustard
Celery salt

For the Rhode Island Chili Sauce

3 tablespoons margarine
2 yellow or white onions, finely chopped (separate into two piles)
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon curry
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pound ground beef, 80/20
1/4 cup water


In a medium saute pan over medium heat add, margarine and 1/2 of minced onions. Saute until translucent, but not browned. Add chili powder, paprika, allspice, curry, dry mustard and cinnamon. Then add beef, stir thoroughly and cook for 5 minutes, add water and simmer over medium to low heat for 30 minutes.

In a medium sauce pot boil hot dogs with salt and steam buns.

When the chili sauce is done simmering, place hot dog in a bun, top with chili sauce, top with a line of yellow mustard, then top evenly with minced onion, and a sprinkle celery salt.

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