If you’ve ever been to Detroit you know that there is a Coney Island restaurant located every few blocks.  You never have to look far to find one, just go down any street and you will eventually run into one.  Each diner has an extensive menu with every kind of hot dog you can imagine plus a full breakfast menu and family style entrees too.  The great thing about it is that the food is good and cheap.  At least it was during the time that Joe and I lived there.  My favorite thing was the Detroit Coney with Cheese Sauce.  Oh, that gooey cheese sauce was so good!  And finally I’ve found a recipe to make a homemade cheese sauce that captures that smooth and creamy taste. I’ve tried to make it with different cheeses and thickeners but it always came out with a texture that was gritty or chalky. The recipe posted on Serious Eats breaks down the science of how cheese melts.  They also tested different variations like milk, cream cheese and mayo to make the perfect cheese sauce.  They figured out the components which makes cheese sauce creamy like you might find at a Fuddruckers restaurant.  You will find none of the background graininess in this sauce because it doesn’t require flour to thicken it.  The scientific key has much to do with the concentration of milk fat.  They discovered that evaporated milk is more concentrated with much of its water content removed.  Combined with cornstarch to thicken the sauce makes the cheese melt silky smooth. Thanks to Serious Eats I can now make the perfect cheese sauce!


I had leftover NM Red Chile from the Frito Pies.  It’s perfect for hot dogs too!


So here’s the ingredients for the cheese sauce . . . butter, evaporated milk, cornstarch and sharp cheddar cheese.


Melt the butter in a small saucepan.


Combine the can of evaporated milk with 1 tablespoon cornstarch.  Whisk together and add to the melted butter.


When the milk begins to steam, add the grated cheese and stir the pot until all the cheese has melted.


If you like, add a splash of hot sauce to the cheese.


Continue stirring the cheese until it thickens into the most silky smooth cheese sauce.  Salt and pepper to taste.  This sauce is also great for french fries or nachos.


To assemble the chile dogs, toast the buns and place a grilled beef frank in the center.  Ladle NM red chile over top.


Spoon cheese sauce over chile and sprinkle grated cheese if desired.


Detroit Coney with Cheese Sauce 

8 Beef Franks
8 Hot Dog Buns
New Mexico Red Chile
Cheese Sauce (adapted from Serious Eats)
2 tablespoons Butter
1 (12 ounce can) Evaporated Milk
2 cups Sharp Cheddar Cheese, grated
1 tablespoon Cornstarch
Dash of Hot Sauce, optional
Salt and Pepper to taste
Finely Grated Cheese for garnish, optional

To make cheese sauce, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk the evaporated milk and cornstarch together and add to the melted butter.  When the milk begins to steam, add the grated cheese and stir until it melts completely.  The cheese sauce will thicken after a few minutes.

To assemble coneys, grill beef franks and toast buns.  Top franks with NM Red Chile and ladle cheese sauce over top.  Sprinkle finely grated cheese over top.

Serves 8