West Virginia Hot Dog & Hot Dog Sauce

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This delicious hot dog is served throughout West Virginia and like many other regional favorites each hot dog joint in West Virginia has its own recipes for the coleslaw and sauce. To make my life easier I purchase creamy store-bought coleslaw, but I like to make my own sauce. I’ve included a recipe for West Virginia Hot Dog Sauce that Sheryl from Charleston, WV sent me.


  • 4 hot dogs
  • 4 hot dog buns
  • 1 cup hot dog sauce, recipe follows
  • 1 cup store-bought coleslaw
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard


Slice hot dogs down the middle, then grill them on both sides so they have nice char marks on both sides.  In the meantime, warm up the West Virginia Hot Dog Sauce that you defrosted.  See recipe below.

Place a grilled hot dog in a bun, and top each with a generous amount of Hot Dog Sauce, coleslaw and yellow mustard, and serve.

West Virginia Hot Dog Sauce – not “chili”

1 C. finely chopped onion
5 pounds ground beef
1/4 pound ground pork
1 T. black pepper
1 T. salt
3 T. chili powder
4 T. crushed red chili pepper (medium hot)
1 32 oz. can tomato sauce
1 14 or 15 oz. bottle – ketchup
1 small can tomato paste
1 T. olive oil
1/4 t. cumin
1 dash Tabasco sauce


In a large pot, saute the onion in the olive oil until tender but not browned. Crumble the raw hamburger and ground pork and add to the pot and brown. Then add enough water to cover ingredients and cook for 1 hour, (keep pot uncovered.) Add more water as necessary. Add the remaining Ingredients and cover pot, then simmer over low heat for two more hours.

If you like a thinner sauce, add 1/2 cup more water half way through the last two hours. For thick sauce, uncover the pot for the last hour.

This recipe makes a lot of hot dog sauce, so we freeze it in quart size zip lock bags and then microwave to thaw the sauce when we need it. Sheryl insists that this is West Virginia Hot Dog Sauce (it’s not called chili in West Virginia).  This style of sauce, or some variation of it, is served in virtually every hot dog stands throughout West Virginia.

Footnote: If you love West Virginia Hot Dogs check out this interesting blog to to learn about the best places to find and eat them.

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