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Today's Case

Cupid's Hot Dog Chili

Subject: Cupid's Chili Dogs
From: Irby
Date: 9/6/2021, 4:14 PM

On 9/6/2021 4:19 PM, Irby wrote:

Can you get the chili recipe for Cupid's hot dogs (Los Angeles area)?

Hello Irby,

Well, the recipe is a secret, but the consensus on message boards is that Cupid's chili is a mixture of two commercial products, plus a little beer. Those two products are: frozen brick chili and frozen brick tamale sauce. A couple of people claim they saw the products being delivered, and that it was made by Stokes. One person claims to have copied down the ingredients from the package labels as this:
Stokes Chili Sauce with Meat: Beef Suet, Carrots, Cereal (Oats) Spices, Salt, Garlic Powder
Stokes Tamale Sauce with Beef: Beef, Bleached Wheat Flour, Malted Barley Flour, Water, Chili Pepper, Oregano, Cumin, Corn Meal, Salt & Garlic Powder

There is a Stokes brand of chili, but it's a canned product and it's green chili. I could not find any evidence of a Stokes frozen brick chili sauce or tamale sauce. However, they might make the products for Cupid's only and thus not advertise it.

Assuming that those two items are the correct ingredients of Cupid's chili, people have made suggestions for substitute ingredients. One person said "Try mixing a can of Hormel Chili no Beans and a can of Hormel Tamales." Blend them in a blender and then heat, I guess. They said it's very close.

Another suggestion was to mix 1 can of Hormel Chili no beans and one package of XLNT brand tamales.

These suggestions seem a bit odd to me. Those tamales have a cornmeal coating. Does cornmeal belong in a hot dog chili?

I also found the below recipe posted on a message board. There was no provenance given. Try at your own risk.


Cupid's Hot Dog Chili

1/4 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp basil
1/4 tbsp oregano
1 tsp fennel
1 pound ground beef
hot water or beer (as needed)
1 cup catsup
1/2 cup mustard
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 tsp granulated sugar
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 tsp chili powder
salt (to taste)

Saute garlic, basil, oregano and fennel in olive oil over low heat.
Add ground beef and cook slowly until brown. Break up and put in 4-quart pan. 
Add hot water or beer to make a thick mix; stir until smooth. Add remaining ingredients. 
Cook 1 hour on low heat. Thin with additional water or beer, as needed.

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