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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.