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Are Hot Dog Buns THAT Important To You?

Melanie Wong posted this on SF> http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

I admire her fortitude and single-mindedness trying for the best buns, but are they THAT import to the tube steak experience?

I am OK with the balloon version (or the supermarket house brand equivalent) as long as they are fresh. I view the bun only as a platform and a conveyance for getting some really good dogs and tasty condiments from my hand to my mouth. For me the whole experience is biting down in to a nice, spicy, hot, meatty, natural casing dog, all complimented by any number and choice of great condiments.

Opinions please.

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  1. If the bread is TOO soft it tends to get tangled up in the meat as you chew it - that's why I like to toast the bun very lightly, just to dry it out a bit. If I have a choice I'd prefer a light Italian roll, as long as the crust isn't tough, but those can be hard to come by. I used to get the long Pepperidge Farm French rolls for bratwurst and the like, but I'm with CW on the virtues of simplicity when it comes to hot dogs.

    1. I do not like Pepperidge Farms rolls. I find them too sweet. I also agree with Will that lightly toasted is best. Really best are the New England Style Frankfurt Rolls with the split top and rectangular shape. I love brushing the (out)sides with a bit of butter and grill/taosting them.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Candy

        I agree!! Have you found a place out here that carries these type of buns?

      2. Well, what's important is getting the right type of roll. In Chicago, there's a special bun that befits the Chicago hot dog experience.

        In New England, it's the top-loading bun, which can be buttered and toasted on the inside AND the outside (because the crust is along the top and the bottom) and the bottom-crust helps hold the roll together better than the side-loading buns that are the norm elsewhere. This type of bun is the only type that should be used for lobster rolls and clam rolls and the like.

        Yes, that IS important.

        1. the hot dog, the roll and all the fixin's create the perfect experience for those of us who love hot dogs. but let's stay w the roll. depending on what i am planning with the dog, the roll takes on different meanings. If it's a Class 1 meal (basic) a simple dog with some mustard and relish. Basic roll OK. As we move to the Class 2 and beyond, the roll need to be sturdy enough to handle additional fixin's. Those can include, sweet peppers, kraut, onions, tomatoes, roasted peppers, etc. A light toasting is needed (i use the bread rack over the grill grates in my Weber for 30-45 seconds). Once you move to the mega-dogs experience which may include that NJ favorite the "popper" dog (deep fried until it pops) in which you may include onions and pepper a la philly cheese steak you need to graduate to an Italian style roll to handle the double-dog with the O&P's.

          So depending on the circumstance, the roll is either an unwilling holder of the basics or a full partner in the experience.

          2 Replies
          1. re: jfood

            Ditto that sentiment.

            If it's just an oscar-meyer weenie, then any old spongy 6-pack bun will do and the condiments should just be French's mustard, Heinz sweet relish, regular old American tried-and-true ketchup, etc.

            But if we're talking gourmet dog (e.g. organic brats, or 100% beef, etc.), then the bun has to be of the same ilk, as does the dressing and condiments.

            1. re: ipsedixit

              For the plain old dog sadly, not any old bun will do. I have nothin but contempt for the Sarah Lee hot dog bun. It fell apart easily and dropped more crumbs than Hansel and Gretal in the forest ... more so after it was toasted.

              As to other buns, jfood said it best. However, the other consideration is not too much bun to dog ratio. I don't like more bun than frank.

          2. Try it this way. When you're cooking, why use water, which adds nothing, when you can add broth, beer, wine, tomato juice, or maybe even milk, to add something to the flavor?
            Good dog + good condiments + good bun = great dogs and you eat 6
            Good dog + good condiments + nothing bun = ho hum dogs and you eat 3 and a couple a hamburgers.

            1. After recently sampling a hot dog in Prague (it would be called a sausage here, and an excellent one at that) on a slightly crusty roll, I am absolutely convinced that the bread has as much to do with the big taste picture as the dog. The slightly more substantial bun absorbs more of the sausage/hot dog flavors and condiments, and adds its own subtle flavor and crunch to the whole. I don't think I can ever go back to the packaged white bread pillows that we use for hot dog buns here.

              1 Reply
              1. re: CynD

                Oh I forgot how good those are. I really enjoyed the ones from the stand in Old Town Square.

              2. I know that I am slightly veering off course but I will still be talking about the ubiquitous hot dog roll. No matter what type of roll or how you load it the hinge almost always comes apart. This is particularity true since I like to toast my buns before inserting my dogs. If we can send the S. Shuttle up and still allow foam to fall off and declare the it is safe surely some chowhound can come up with an odorless, tasteless, colorless edible adhesive hinge to keep the two sides of the roll together. Since we have just had the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Championship I throw the gauntlet to all chowhounds to find a solution to this perplexing problem.

                5 Replies
                1. re: 1 wiener hound

                  The solution is the New England style top sliced bun which you toast on the sides.

                  1. re: 1 wiener hound

                    In Paris, my kids had hot dogs served in hollowed-out baguettes. They used a special tube that pulled out most of the inside of the baguette and then stuck the hot dog in the hole the tube made. It was unable to escape!

                    1. re: Susan627

                      Quels bouchers de meutre! Then where would you put the condiments?

                      1. re: ChinoWayne

                        After having my hotdogs like that in Paris as a kid it is my favorite way to have them at home. I either coat the inside of the baguette with mustard before inserting the 'dog or I smear the mustard on the bottom half of the dog prior to inserting and hope that it coats the inside. I don't put any other condiments on when having my 'dogs this way.

                      2. re: Susan627

                        Yum! I want the bread from the inside that's leftover! :-P

                    2. Glad to have injected some mindfulness about the bun's end of the partnership. Yet, I guess I should hang my head in chow shame, as the reason for my bun search was because I wasn't willing to drive 150 miles round-trip to buy the best from Downtown Bakery in Healdsburg. (g)

                      1. I prefer soft, dense buns that aren't toasted, to meld the coolness of the bread with the heat of the dog -- Martin's Potato does well for me.

                        1. I used to think not until I tried Sara Lee's. Their hot dog buns are sooooooo good, the only adjective for them is golden-ish. Untoasted for sure. Ballpark's buns come in a close second.