chili dogs and root beer
If you haven’t noticed, I’m from Indiana.
Honestly, I’m a pretty stereotypical Hoosier. That means I love exactly four things: basketball, pork tenderloins, my family and the Indianapolis 500.
I went to my first Indy 500 with my Dad when I was 11 years old. I’ve been to almost every 500 since (last year was my 15th!). Open-wheel racing isn’t just one of my favorite sports, but it is also part of my family and regional culture. People are really surprised when they find out I know so much about fast cars. There is always some middle-aged man at races that takes one look at me and assumes I am totally sports ignorant. I tend to let them ramble, and then ask a question like, “So how many different aero packages do you think we’re going to see on the 2012 chasis?” and they shut up. I get a sick satisfaction from that.
Anywho. There are a lot of traditions in my family that are related to racing. We sit in the same place. We eat the same food. My Dad even carries the same backpack every year.
Of course, there are races other than the Indianapolis 500 in the open-wheel racing season and with that, other traditions. The first race of the season almost always falls around the end of March. When I was 12 years old, my Dad and I went to Florida for Spring Break. We spent an amazing day swimming with manatees and snorkeling. We were starving afterwards, so we ran into Publix and grabbed a pack of hot dogs, a 2-liter of root beer, a can of chili dog sauce and hot dog buns. We drove back to my grandparents’ winter home, fixed the chili dogs and happened to stumble on the first open-wheel race of the season on TV.
Thus a tradition was born—chili dogs and root beer during the first race of the season. And that is what we’ve done for the past 15 years. And what we did two weekends ago, when my favorite fast cars raced around the Streets of St. Petersburg, Florida. Of course, immediately beforehand I was running 10 miles, so you know I wasn’t slaving over a stove, and I definitely wasn’t opening a can of chili dog sauce. Slow cooker to the rescue!
Slow Cooker Chili Dog Sauce (AKA : Coney Dog Sauce)
Makes enough sauce for approximately 12 hot dogs
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 green pepper, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1-1/2 cups ketchup
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 cup chili powder
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1/3 cup water
- Salt and pepper,to taste
- Combine all ingredients (crumble up beef with hands) in a slow cooker.
- Cook on high for 3-4 hours or until thick and bubbly.
- Add more water if sauce gets too thick.
- Serve over hot dogs, top with chopped onions and shredded cheddar cheese.
Do you have any family food traditions?