There are certain foods that unless you are from a certain region or area of a state you may never hear of. Michigan sauce is one of those things. Now, Michigan sauce has nothing to do with Michigan, as far as I know. If you order a Michigan in Northern New York you will get a steamed hot dog on a steamed hot dog roll with some sort of tomato based meat sauce. Depending on where you order it from it may have onions and yellow mustard on it too.
The most likely story of how a Michigan is popular in New York and not in Michigan or the Midwest is that a couple opened a Michigan Hot Dog stand in Northern New York, in the 1920s. They served a hot dog similar to a Coney Island Hot Dog and people came to call it a Michigan because of the name of the stand. Whatever the story this hot dog sauce is similar to a Coney Sauce.
Michigan sauce is different from Rochester Hot Sauce in that the hot sauce has a cinnamon, cayenne heat to it while the Michigan sauce is more tangy with no heat. Funny how areas develop their own flavors.
This was a hearty sauce that reminded us a bit of a Sloppy Joe. It had a vinegar tang with a bit of a mustard bite. We liked the sauce quite a bit but it wasn’t quite the sauce I remembered. I wonder if I need to head back some day and have another Michigan to work a bit more on the recipe.
Serve this over your hot dogs with onions and mustard as desired.
Michigan Hot Sauce