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Monday, March 3, 2014

No hot dog bun? No problem!

The only hot dog buns we ever have, nowadays, are homemade ones. That's not just a cost situation, but commercial hot dog buns often have stuff in them that I can't eat. So, homemade it is.

But I don't always plan ahead and make buns, or my freezer stash of homemade buns has been depleted. So, what to do? What to do?

We have 3 solutions. One, was my mother's favorite. I'm sure this is the universal, substitute hot dog bun. (You remember these, too?!) A slice of soft, fluffy sandwich bread, the fluffier, the better. Something like Wonder Bread. Lay the hot dog on a diagonal, from corner to corner of the slice of bread. Pull the remaining corners up, and you have a wrap-around, slice of bread for a bun. This works just fine, and I often do this for myself, if heating myself a hot dog. But frankly, as a kid, I always felt that this was somehow inferior.

The second solution also works in a pinch, but is better suited for homemade bread, as you need it unsliced. I slice a double wide slice of bread. Cut in half, into two long rectangles. Then make a slit partially through the bread, on the cut edge, about where a cut would have been made to make two slices out of the one.

You have something like a hot dog bun. This works best with fresh and fluffy homemade bread, and not dry homemade bread. The one here was on bread that was a few days old, and didn't hold together very well. Can be a solution, but not my family's favorite.

The third solution is one I use for many types of buns, including sloppy Joe buns and slider burger buns. I use biscuit dough. It's just a basic scratch biscuit dough recipe. If I make half a recipe (a mini batch using 1 cup of flour), I have just enough dough for 5 or 6 hot dogs. (Or, 5 or 6 sloppy Joe buns, or, 10 slider buns.)

I roll the dough out into a large circle, about 1/4-inch thick. I score the circle into 5 or 6 wedges. I lay 1 hot dog on each wedge, nearest the wide edge of the triangle. Then simply roll up, as for a crescent roll. Place seam side down on a baking sheet, and bake the wrapped dogs at 400 F degrees for about 15 to 17 minutes (until the biscuit wrap is baked). If you're using fat sausages, you may want to preheat the sausage in the microwave or in a skillet, first, so that it will be thoroughly cooked through.

One daughter especially loves these. When her sister heard I was making these last Friday for a quick supper, she insisted that I make an extra, for the daughter who loves them so much. (That daughter had an evening out at the opera, with one of her classes, and would miss dinner. The lucky girl!)

Basically, this is a homemade version of the Pillsbury crescent roll, hot dog wraps. But about a buck cheaper. Sometimes, I add a slice of cheese on top of the biscuit dough, just before placing the hot dog on and rolling. Other times, I spread the inside dough with prepared mustard, for extra flavor. As they're not true hot dog buns, with an opening for pouring on the condiments, my family enjoys dipping them in ketchup or BBQ sauce.

That's it! Quick and easy supper for a Friday evening.

Does your family have something favorite for Friday supper?


  1. I call hot dogs in biscuit dough ":Pigs in a Blanket" and I love them. Otherwise, if we have no buns we use the diagonal corner to corner method.

    1. Hi live and learn,
      I think maybe these should be called "chicks in a blanket", as they're chicken hot dogs.

  2. I am lazy when it comes to hotdogs so it's the bread method for me. I don't like corn dogs all that well but I suppose there would be a way to make a homemade one. Sometimes I run into a bun shortage when my kids suddenly decide they like something that previously they have only tolerated--for example, last week we had BBQ chicken sandwiches. My kids have never been thrilled with them ... till last week, when I only had enough buns for one apiece. Fortunately I had extra chicken and they ate it on bread.

    1. Hi Kris,
      I love good corn dogs (hand-dipped), but not those frozen ones. The difficulty I find with making corn dogs at home is that you need very deep, frying oil. When my kids were small, I often made mini corn dogs, cutting each hot dog into 3 or 4 pieces, then dipping in cornbread batter and frying. Not at all healthy (talk about making a not so healthy food even worse!). But boy, fresh out of the hot oil and they are delicious!

      BBQ chicken on buns sounds delish! I'm thawing a whole turkey to roast later this week. I'm thinking, BBQ sauce on turkey in buns!

    2. We also do BBQ sauce with turkey on buns. Seems like a warmer-weather meal, somehow, which I've been craving lately. I roasted a chicken last week and had enough leftovers for another meal when, alas, I realized at sort-of-the-last-minute that I didn't have the right ingredients for the planned meal ... so chicken BBQ to the rescue!

      I guess I had vague thoughts about finding a way to make baked cornbread dogs instead of deep-fried, but I'm not sure they would be a hit around here and I don't like putting work into something that nobody likes!

    3. Hmmm, baked corndogs. (Somebody probably makes a pan for doing those.) I guess it would depend how much your family likes cornbread, as that would be the texture of the coating that I think you'd end up with. What could work, however, is baking the hotdogs in a shallow layer of cornbread. Then cut into individual portions, and pan-fry in just a bit of oil or even a pan sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, turning to brown and crisp all sides. I think it's the crispiness of the corn batter that I like with corn dogs.

      Something else that my kids liked when younger were Mexi-dogs. A corn tortilla rolled up with cheese and hot dog (peppers or salsa - optional). Then pan-fried until crispy. A local Mexican restaurant had those on the kids' menu. They were a hit with 2 of my kids.

  3. I was just thinking about this the other day! I love hot dogs but can't have the store bought buns because of allergies. I had a flash of inspiration to use biscuit dough to make Pigs in a Blanket but I got distracted & never finished the thought! Thank you! I will definitely be doing this soon.

    1. Hi Sharon,
      that's my big problem with commercial buns. They tend to have even more added ingredients than the sliced bread. At least with slice commercial bread, there's usually one or two brands that are made with real food ingredients. (Dave's Killer Bread is a favorite with friends of mine who have allergies.)

      The biscuit dough works very well for us, and I can make it with ingredients that I know are safe for me to eat. (And I think my family likes these better than buns!)

    2. Lili,
      I made the "pigs in a biscuit" tonight, and Oh My Word! Yummy & easy. My family definitely likes these better than regular hot dog buns. Thanks!

    3. Hi Sharon,
      I'm glad your family enjoyed them. My family really, really likes them, too!

  4. Yum, pigs in a blanket. I still like those even as an adult. It's fun to cut the hot dogs in thirds to make them easier to handle for children. We used to do the corner to corner homemade wraps for hot dogs too. Mom would stick a toothpick in the bread to get them to stay together and then toast them in the oven. She also used to cut hot dogs in half, lay a half of a slice of cheese inside and broil them until the cheese melted and became toasty. I've not done that for my daughter, she would probably like them. She loves things like that. :)

    1. Hi Belinda,
      Now the way that you and your mom do the bread-slice hot dog wraps sounds much more appealing to me than simply a slice of bread. The crispy outside of the bread would make it quite good, I'd think. I'll try that sometime.

      When I was a teenager, we'd make monster dogs.Slice the ends of a hot dog into quarters, lengthwise, leaving a 1 inch section in the middle of the hot dog, uncut. Microwave for about 1 minute. The ends of the hot dog curl up, and look a bit like a spider or as we called them, "monsters".

  5. Oh... this post brought me right back to elementary school lunches - the cafeteria served pigs in a blanket with great frequency and they were one of my favorites. Right up there with baked mac 'n' cheese and that terrible salty & greasy "Salisbury steak" (which I sorta shudder to think about these days, but I really loved the stuff.)

    Around here special dinners usually involve either lasagna or Chinese food, both of which are CatMan's favorites.

    1. Hi Cat,
      your cafeteria served much more kid-friendly meals than ours did. I always felt it was something of a punishment to have to eat what they served at our school! (Think slimy, canned, overcooked spinach.)

      When you do Chinese food, do you make it yourself? I've tried on a couple of occasions to make a Chinese dinner at home, but always seem to get things not quite right.

    2. Well... you have to understand my feelings about school lunch in context. My mother didn't cook... as in even the TV dinners came out a little bit black around the edges. I remember biscuits that were black on the bottom and raw in the middle. And the one time I conned her into making a chocolate cake... well it wasn't pretty - guess she didn't realize that it would expand as it cooked. For years, the kitchen smelled like burnt chocolate any time you turned the oven on! So compared to what I was used to, the school cafeteria served down right fancy eats!

      But in terms of Chinese food - I make it for myself all the time but generally get takeout when CatMan comes over because he's a tad bit, ahem, picky about his Chinese food. He covets the Kung Pao Shrimp from one restaurant in town... and nothing else will do! It's a couple times per year treat for us.

      But when I make it myself, I've found the trick is to make sure you sear the veggies at a pretty high temperature. Fresh works better than frozen. Either way - you don't want ANY liquid in the pan - even the kind that comes out of the veggies themselves or else they end up too mushy and without the right texture. So if you use frozen, you want to defrost and drain them before proceeding.

      The other trick is to cook the veggies and meat separately, and to not add any sauce or flavor until the very end (well, if you use those dried red peppers you can toss them in with the veggies but nothing liquid).

      I generally make a simple sauce with Shaoxing wine, soy sauce, maybe a little black vinegar, corn starch and a little bit of sugar or honey and pour it over the veggies and meat just as I take it off the heat. The Shaoxing is the secret to getting the flavor right. You can usually find it at an Asian market if you have one around.

    3. Hi Cat,
      Yeah, I think you mentioned that one or twenty times before (your mom not being the domestic type).

      Thanks for the tips on making Chinese food at home. I think it's the liquid that kills mine. I'll try it your way. And I'll check our Asian markets. Seattle has a diverse Asian community, so I should be able to find the right ingredients.

    4. Ha! Who me? Mother issues? Not me? :-)


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