Red Onion Sauce for New York Style Hot Dogs

Sep 25th, 2009 | By | Category: Featured, Recipes

• 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
• 2 medium onions-chopped
• 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
• 1/4 cup tomato ketchup
• 1/2 cup water
• 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
• 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Heat oil in a saucepan. Add onions and cook them until soft. Stir in the cinnamon and chili powder and cook for 1 minute. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a simmer. Cook mixture for 10-15 minutes or until thickened. Transfer to a bowl and let cool to room temperature before serving. You can refrigerat the for up to 2 days, but bring to room temperature before serving.

The Inventor

Alan S. Geisler (c. 1931 – January 6, 2009) was an American food chemist best known for creating a sauce most often used as a condiment topping on dogs in City. Specifically, the sauce, which is marketed as Sabrett’s Prepared Onions, is usually served on Sabrett brand hot dogs sold by ’s many pushcart hot vendors.

Sabrett brand hot dogs and the sauce which Geisler created are the flagship products of Marathon Enterprises, Inc. The company is headquartered in Englewood, New Jersey.

Geisler founded a company that manufactured shortenings, emulsifiers and other ingredients for the baking and baked goods industry in 1960.

One of his customers was Gregory Papalexis, who manufactured both hot dogs and hot dog buns. Papalexis’s customers included hot dog street vendors, who often made a popular homemade, but time laborious, onion sauce as a topping. Papalexis asked Geisler to come up with a factory-made onion sauce for the hot dog vendors to sell at their carts in New York City.

Geisler, with input from Papalexis, created a new, mass-produced onion sauce for hot dogs. The main formula and spice blends of the sauce consisted predominantly of onions, olive oil and tomato paste, which gives the sauce its distinctive red coloring. The sauce proved to be a hit with both the street vendors, who no longer had to make their own time consuming sauces, and hot dog consumers.

Geisler and Papalexis partnered to form their own company, called Tremont Foods, to market and make the new red onion sauce. The sauce was initially sold to New York City hot dogs vendors under the brand names Tremont Foods or House of Weenies.

Papalexis acquired Sabrett Food Products in 1989. As a result of the acquisition, Geisler’s onion sauce became the only onion sauce served on Sabrett hot dogs by vendors in New York City. The cred onion condiment also became available for purchase in supermarkets under the Sabrett’s brand. It is marketed nationwide as under the label name “Sabrett’s Prepared Onions.”

As of 2009, Geisler’s red onion sauce now makes “a couple of million dollars a year in sales” according to Papalexis. Geisler’s and Papalexis’s original company, Tremont Foods, is currently a division of Marathon Enterprises, Inc., which owns the Sabrett trademark. (Marathon Enterprises is owned by Papalexis.) The only product made by Tremont Foods is the popular red onion sauce. The sauce is manufactured in the Bronx, but production is scheduled to shift to a new facility, in Fair Lawn, New Jersey, in 2009.

Geisler remained active with the company until his death in 2009.

Courtesty of Wikipedia

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