Michigan Dogs – a Ticonderoga, New York delicacy

Dan and I lived in Ticonderoga, a small community on Lake Champlain, New York, for five years while I worked at Fort Ticonderoga. We got to know many of the locals whose families go back generations – some to the Revolution. We quickly learned about an interesting form of chile dog called a Michigan Dog, that appears to be a “North Country” delicacy. For you outsiders, North County is the local term for the Adirondacks.

We asked everyone where the name Michigan Dog came from. It’s not like the Lake Champlain region of the Adirondack mountains have any ties to Michigan! No one knew the answer. But everyone had their secret family recipe, which they said was the best. Before moving from Ticonderoga we were gifted with the family recipe of a darling older couple who had spent years cleaning the “Log House”, the Fort’s museum store, admissions, and restaurant. We thank Pauline and Punch Bright for sharing this recipe with us.

Ingredients for the Michigan Dog

A while back Dan and I got a “hankering” for a Michigan Dog and pulled out the recipe to see how it stood up. But first I checked the web to see if by chance there was any information on this mystery food. If you want to read more about its history check out this great history of the Michigan. The Michigan has roots in Plattsburgh, NY (one hour north of Ticonderoga and a frequent destination for Ticonderogians needing “big city” supplies). The earliest reference found for Michigans is 1927 and it also has its roots in the Coney Island Red.

Armed with this information here’s the recipe:

Bright Family Michigan Dogs

  • 1 lb hamburger meat
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 tbs. vinegar
  • 2 tbs. brown sugar
  • 4 tbs. lemon
  • dash of hot sauce
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 tbs. mustard
  • 3 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce

Cooking the sauce

Brown the hamburger and chopped onion on low until almost done. Add vinegar, brown sugar, lemon, dash of hot sauce,  ketchup and Worcestershire Sauce to the skillet. Continue cooking the mixture on low for 2 hours to meld the flavors. Cook your hot dog and serve the Michigan Sauce over the dog.

Like so many recipes you’re given by the cook who made it best, it wasn’t quite as we remembered Pauline’s, but it is still very good.

If you’d like to try another version I found this one on the web. Whichever one you try, this is great American comfort food.

The finished product

2 Responses to “Michigan Dogs – a Ticonderoga, New York delicacy”

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  1. Bev says:

    Welcome back Aunt Lil!!
    Yummy! I think I’m going to try that!
    But why isn’t it called New York Dog?

  2. Melinda says:

    Lisa, this sounds great even to a vegetarian! Yummo–you’re making me hungry!

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