Across the country, there is a number of different versions of the chili cheese dog. In Detroit it’s referred to as the Coney Island hot dog, and is piled high with chili, onions, and mustard. A Texas dog is a weiner with chili and hot sauce. In New York, we like ours with cheese sauce, bean-less chili, and then a sprinkling of raw red onions. No matter how you like your chili dog, or where you hail from in the United States, there is no denying, who ever decided to top a hot dog with chili and cheese is a genius!
No one knows for sure who put the chili on top of a hot dog first. It seems obvious, right? Chili, originated in Texas, therefore, it must have been created in the Lone Star state. But this is far from the truth, the weiner that hails as a Chili Dog was supposedly created in Altoona, Pennsylvania by Peter “George” Koufougeorgas in 1918. However, though he references Texas in the name, the chili added has a stronger Greek cuisine influence due to the ethnicity of the restaurant owner who created it, and that the sauce is sweet like in Greek spaghetti.
So, it appears that the origin of this topped weiner is what happened to the hot dog as it spread from New York to the midwest; It took on a southern identity. And though it appears that this dog has quite an identity crisis, either way, it’s delicious, and a yummy way to enjoy a dog.