Cost Analysis of the Ground Hot Dog Recipe

My receipt from Abbott’s Meat on July 26, 2021, for a 25 lb bag of their Coney Topping Mix, and a 10lb box of Koegel Coney Franks. The Coney Topping mix is raw, unseasoned, and unfrozen.

A section from this site I intended to include in the upcoming book was the cost analysis of the ground hot dog recipe vs. the 25 lb coney sauce base from Abbott’s, which is what restaurants actually use. This section comes from the page Where did the Flint Coney sauce recipe that includes ground hot dogs originate?. I had neglected to include it in the book’s final manuscript, so I’ll highlight it here.

Let’s first have a look at the cost of it vs. what the Flint Coney restaurants actually use. On the receipt above, I paid $48.38 for the 25 lb bag of raw, unseasoned, and unfrozen Abbott’s Coney Topping Mix, which is what the restaurants buy. They then melt beef tallow, pork lard, or shortening, or heat some vegetable oil, add minced onion, dump in the Coney Topping Mix, and season to their taste. It’s really simple, and might end up costing $52 for a completed 25 lb batch.

The two items purchased on the above receipt.

In breaking down the wholesale cost of making the ground hot dog recipe in the same batch size, it immediately becomes more expensive. The recipe calls for 1 lb ground beef, and 4 – 5 ground Koegel Viennas, which is another 1/2 lb of meat. We’ll extrapolate that to 16 lb ground beef and 8 lb of ground Viennas, which is 64 individual Viennas, to make 24 lb total, leaving another lb for the other ingredients in the recipe.

Just the cost of the meat makes the cost of the recipe jump. According to the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Wholesale Price Update for the week ending August 20, 2021, the least-expensive blended ground beef 73% was $1.73/lb, with 16 lb then costing $27.68. Unblended ground beef 73% was $2.08/lb, or $33.28 for 16 lb. The kicker though is back on the above receipt, where you’ll find the 10 lb wholesale box of Coney Franks was $33.70. Restaurants don’t use the Viennas: The Coney Frank is a variation of Koegel’s Vienna that lasts longer on the grill. The implication then is that it’s the Coney Franks that would have been used in the ground hot dog recipe, if the folklore were true. 8 lb of Coney Franks is currently $26.96. The meats alone for the ground hot dog recipe are then above the total cost of using the Coney Topping Mix. Add the butter, tomato sauce, mustard, and the rest of the ingredients, along with the additional labor for the prep, grinding the hot dogs, etc., and the cost of the 25 lb batch then goes above $70.

It’s not practical, it takes a lot more time, and it’s certainly not how the frugal Macedonians would have done it.

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