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Pennsylvania Greek Sauce

If you grew up in Erie, PA, then you know about Greek Sauce. If you didn’t, it’s a meat topping served on hotdogs, hamburgers, French fries and just about anything else you want.

greek sauce on hotdogs

greek sauce on hotdogs

When asked why it’s called Greek Sauce, I had to do some intense research (by that I mean I looked online). I discovered that, while chili dogs were started on Coney Island, a wave of Greek immigrants took the recipe across New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and even into Ohio, where it became Cincinnati Chili.


In some places in the country, they’re called “Texas Hots,” even though they really have nothing to do with Texas.


I found dozens of variations of this recipe, including some with ingredients ranging from the unusual (cinnamon) to the heretical (tomato sauce). This is the one I found that best represented the Erie style of Greek Sauce that I grew up with. For best results, serve with Smith’s Hotdogs and Stadium Mustard, both of which are also Erie culinary treasures.

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

30 min

1 hour

1 hour 30 min

Enough Greek Sauce to feed an army

  • 1 pound hamburger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  1. Brown hamburger in large skillet over medium heat with the chopped onions and salt. Drain fat.
  2. Add water to hamburger. Add a bit more water if necessary to cover the entire hamburger mixture.
  3. Add remaining ingredients and stir.
  4. Using an immersion blender, blend the sauce until meat is broken up into small pieces. If you do not have an immersion blender, feel free to improvise.
  5. Turn heat to low and simmer for about an hour or until mixture is thick.