For the Chili:
- Put the beer and ground beef in an unheated medium saucepan. Use your fingers to gently break apart beef by rubbing pieces lightly until it makes a slurry with the liquid. You don’t want chunks or lumps.
- Stir in garlic, salt and cracker crumbs and place over medium high heat. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring as you do to keep it from sticking to the bottom of pot.
- Turn heat to medium low and cook mixture, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Cook until liquid has largely evaporated. The chili should be a finely grained aggregate that holds its shape on the spoon.
- Stir in tomato paste to incorporate. Remove from heat and stir in the spices. Cover and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
- Lightly paint the inside of the hot dog bun with yellow mustard.
- Pack chili into bun, starting with spoonful in center that you smooth in with the back of a spoon. Add more, moving out to either end and smoothing lightly as you go, until bun is filled. (You’re not making a sloppy joe; chili should be firm in the bun.)
- Top with chopped onion to taste—lots is better. Pass hot sauce on side for those who want to spike it up.
Chef’s Note: I like Hefeweizen, so I pour out the cup of beer to go flat and then drink the rest. The citrus and coriander notes in the Hefeweizen probably don’t survive the slow simmer, but I like to think they do. You can use any light flavored beer, but not a stout or porter. Cheap beer is traditional.