Cooking the Topping on the Stovetop
Regardless of whether you buy Abbott’s Coney Island Topping (labeled as Abbott’s Original Coney Island Topping in the 4lb package) in the office area of Abbott’s Meat on Blackington Ave. or order it through BuyKoegels/Lynch Shipping, it’ll be frozen when you get it.
It’ll also be raw: The folks at Abbott’s do not cook it whatsoever.
Cooking the topping slowly to a safe temperature for serving takes time, and it’s not time you really want to take when you’re just cooking up some Flint Coneys for a quick meal. As the topping comes in 4lb and 10lb tubes, Abbott’s recommends cooking it off, putting smaller amounts it in quart reclosable freezer bags, and freezing it. Then you can reheat only what you need when you need it, relatively quickly.
- Thaw the 4lb or 10lb tube under refrigeration, 24 to 48 hours.
- Cut the tube lengthwise and, using a large metal spoon, scrape the 4lb bag of topping into a 6qt steel pot. The 10lb bag should go into two pots to cook in smaller batches.
- If you have a gas range and access to a restaurant-style stainless steel pan, known as a 4” hotel pan or “400 pan”, you can cook an entire 10lb tube in the pan over two gas burners.
A 400 pan of sauce on the flattop at Palace Coney Island in Genesee Valley Shopping Center on March 18, 2016.
- Start the topping over medium heat, stirring regularly with a metal spoon. The topping will be like a paste.
- As the topping loosens up and begins to bubble, the oils will be released from the meat. You’ll need to start reducing heat to prevent scorching. Once the oil can be seen for a few minutes, reduce heat by about a third (dropping to 3.5 from 5 on a 10-point scale).
- Allow the topping to continue simmering about 10 minutes, stirring regularly.
- The topping will simmer and bubble harder. Depending on the thickness of the pot, reduce heat to low, 2.0 for thinner pots, 2.4 for thicker pots.
- Continue to simmer 20 – 30 minutes), stirring regularly, until a meat thermometer measures 160F.
- At this point, feel free to add other spices for a more personalized flavor, such as Spanish paprika, mild chili powder, cumin, etc.
- Cook for five more minutes, then remove from the heat.
- Allow to cool.
- Safely cooling the topping is an important step as organ meat is involved. A danger zone exists between 135F (57C) and 41F (5C), with the most danger of bacteria development being between 125F (52C) and 70F (21C). The bulk of this cooling needs to occur within six hours to prevent bacteria growth. The best way to do this is to spread the sauce out in glass casserole dishes, covering them with plastic wrap, and freezing them for two to three hours. They can be removed once a meat thermometer reads 41F (5C).
- Once the topping is cool, divide it into quart reclosable freezer bags, and freeze them.
- To reheat, thaw the smaller amount of cooked topping under refrigeration for 24 hours. Reheat in a steel pot on the range slowly over low-to-medium heat until the topping reaches 160F as read on a meat thermometer. (Note: Do not microwave, as it will change the consistency of the topping.)
Cooking the Topping in a Crockpot
If you purchase Koegel products from Koegel’s on the Road, the folks who put those trips together are actually Lynch Shipping, aka BuyKoegels.com. Victoria Lynch told us she loves to put the Abbott’s coney topping in the crockpot in the morning so it’s ready when she’s done at work for the day. That’s why she includes both stovetop and her own crockpot cooking instructions in the flap of the box. But in their excitement about getting the sauce, people do tend to overlook those instructions or misplace them.
As indicated above, the Abbott’s sauce is shipped raw. On the package it states it must be cooked thoroughly. Lynch told us she sets the crockpot on high in the morning and leaves it alone for 5 – 6 hours at that setting. She likes her coney sauce dry and crumbly, and we’re certain that’s likely the result. We would like to add that, as shown in the photo above, for real safety you should make certain to cook the sauce until a meat thermometer measures 160F.
Finally, with either the 4 lb or 10 lb bags of topping you’ll likely want to pack and freeze the leftovers till later. Follow the instructions above for doing so with the stovetop instructions, and you’ll be set.
Cooking the Koegel Coney Franks
There are two specific points to remember about the Coney Franks:
- They have very little fat, and were developed that way to last longer on a restaurant flattop without burning.
- They need to be cooked low-and-slow to tighten the natural lamb casing to render the “snap” when bitten.
- Cook the Coney Franks over low heat, 1.5 to 2.0 on a 10-point scale, the lower the better. Use a steel pan or skillet, or on a steel griddle. (Nonstick is alright, just don’t use a bare aluminum pan aluminum as it will get marked up over time.)
- Turn after five minutes, then two more times, cooking five minutes each, for a total of cooking twice on each side.