Two days of cold, rain, and turtlenecks, too cold for me to go out to the grill, but maybe writing about Saturday’s dinner will warm me up a little.
It’s clear to me now that when hot dogs were engineered, the length and circumference were designed to perfectly accommodate a strip of bacon wrapped around from end to end. And you thought it was about the bun. I wonder how many other foods were engineered to work with the bacon strip? I guess you could do a bacon-wrapped dog in the oven or on a griddle, but it sure was a lot easier on the grill, not to mention the advantage of the smoky flavor. It was this easy:
- Wrap one strip of thick-sliced bacon around each hot dog and secure at each end with a toothpick. I used Smith’s® Natural Casing Wieners.
- Grill over direct heat, turning to cook each side until the bacon is browned (and partly charred as mine are).
- Don’t forget to remove the toothpicks, whose ends have mostly burnt off.
We ate ours with Velveeta® cheese sauce and pre-packaged guacamole, but you could get fancy and make all the toppings yourself. Yep, I’m remembering that sunny day right now.
No, it’s not time for a summer picnic. In fact we’re in the midst of a pretty big chill, although I heard we will warm up today into the 30s or 40s. So the blanket of snow is not going anywhere, but I just had a taste for something different, and while hot dogs might seem like summer fare, baking bread on a cold winter day is a great way to keep warm. Maybe it seems like a lot of work to go to—making your own chili sauce and buns—for the lowly hot dog, but we do love a good hot dog around here.
The chili sauce I have told you about before, and today I tweaked it a bit by making it with venison, making a smaller amount, and changing a few ingredients, so I’ll give you those exact steps, but if you want the original, go here: https://kitchenportfolio.wordpress.com/2014/07/20/hot-dog-sauce/
Hot Dog Sauce with Venison
1 lb ground venison, browned
1 cup onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons paprika (mine was smoked)
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons flour mixed with 1/2 cup water for thickening
- Brown the venison over medium heat with a little olive or vegetable oil, if it is very lean. I’d be surprised if it needs to be drained, but if you’re using beef, drain it. Add the onion and garlic, stirring until they begin to soften.
- Add the seasonings, ketchup and water, stirring to combine. Cover and simmer for 1 hour.
- Stir in the flour and water mixture and simmer for about another 15-20 minutes, until thickened.
I found a wonderful bun recipe at Simple Bites, picked partly because the images don’t look perfect—I appreciate when people put their stuff out there without it looking like it was professionally photographed and when the food itself looks real. I also picked it because it uses all whole wheat flour, instead of a mix of white and wheat. I made a few changes to the recipe, mostly because I had different ingredients on hand. My whole wheat flour was neither organic nor bread flour—it was just King Arthur® 100% Whole Wheat. I didn’t have any buttermilk, either, so I soured some whole milk with a little vinegar. And I didn’t have any whole cane sugar, so I just used white sugar. Other than that, I followed the recipe and it makes a very nice-handling dough that is easy to shape, without the extra flour suggested in the recipe.
See the original recipe here: Soft Whole Wheat Hot Dog Buns
Whole Wheat Hot Dog Buns
Preheat oven to 400°
Grease a 9″ x 13″ baking pan
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons warm water
1 cup soured milk (add 1 tablespoon vinegar to one cup of milk) or buttermilk
1 large egg
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
As needed: 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, for shaping (I really didn’t need any)
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter, room temperature, plus 1 tablespoon, melted
- Stir yeast, sugar, and warm water in small bowl and set aside until it foams, about five minutes.
- Combine whole wheat flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the milk and egg, and the yeast mixture.
- On low speed, combine the ingredients and then let sit for 10 minutes.
- Scrape down the sides of the mixer as needed with a rubber spatula. Turn on mixer to low speed again and add butter, one tablespoon at a time, until it is all absorbed.
- Knead dough on low or a little higher for 5 minutes or until the dough looks smooth and elastic. As noted in the original, you shouldn’t add more flour—it doesn’t need it.
- Cover dough plastic wrap or a pastry cloth and allow to rise in a warm place for 1 hour. The dough becomes very pliable and easy to shape.
Shape and Bake Rolls
- Remove dough to work surface, using white flour, if needed for handling. Lightly knead into a uniform shape to more easily determine how to cut the dough uniformly.
- Cut the dough with a dough scraper into 8-12 pieces. I made 8 rolls, but the original recipe makes 12.
- Shape the pieces into long rolls of about 4-5 inches and place in two rows in greased pan. The rolls will expand on rising to touch each other and create soft sides.
- Cover the pan with a pastry cloth and set in a warm place for about 45 minutes to rise.
- Brush with the tablespoon of melted butter and bake for 20-25 minutes. Mine seemed to brown much more than the ones pictured in the original recipe, so I removed them at 20 minutes.
Cool on rack and store until ready to eat. I highly recommend this recipe for a soft roll that is made with all whole wheat flour.