Hot dogs have been enjoyed by Americans for decades, allowing consumers a variety of choices when it comes to toppings and fixings. However, when it comes to hot dog buns, consumers are often left with the singular choice of a soft bread roll that lacks the complementary flavor and strength to withstand a heavily garnished dog. One way to resolve this problem is to toast your hot dog buns, which enhances the taste and durability of the bun. There are several ways you can toast your hot dog buns.
Grill the Buns
Grilling your hot dog bun is perhaps the most convenient way to toast it since you probably already have a grill out for the hot dogs. All you need to do first is simply melt a tablespoon of butter, either in the microwave or over the stove, and use a pastry brush to apply the melted butter onto the inside of the bun. Afterward, place the hot dog bun, inside facedown, onto the grill next to your hot dogs. Allow the bun to grill for approximately 1 minute, or until you get some nice grill marks on the inside of the bun. While grilling your buns can be convenient, they can also burn pretty quickly if you're not attentive, leaving a little bit of unwanted char on the edges of the bun.
If you have a grill that contains two sides that heat up separately, it's best to place the buns on their own side, separate from the hot dogs, over a lower temperature. If you've slightly over-toasted your hot dog bun on the grill, you can scrape off any extra char with a butter knife before enjoying.
Use a Broiler
If grilling isn't an option, you can always prepare your hot dog bun in a similar way by broiling it. First, apply a tablespoon of melted butter to the inside of the hot dog bun, then place the hot dog bun on a baking sheet with the inside of the bun facing up. Place the baking sheet on an upper rack in your oven, and turn on the broiler setting to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Broil for approximately 1 minute, or until the inside of the bun turns golden and slightly crisp. While this method will allow you to effectively toast multiple buns at one time, it won't provide the attractive grill marks you would get with a standard grill.
Use a Toaster Oven
If you have a toaster oven, you can toast your hot dog bun without the use of a broiler or grill. Simply spread a tablespoon of melted butter on the inside of your hot dog bun and place inside the toaster oven, with the inside of the bun facing up, for 2 to 3 minutes on the "toast" setting. The drawback of using a toaster oven, however, is that you risk drying out the hot dog buns. While a grill or broiler only applies heat to one side of the hot dog bun, a toaster oven will radiate heat at all angles, potentially drying out your bun.
Use a Toaster
A toaster is perhaps the most accessible tool for toasting your hot dog bun. With this common household appliance, you simply open your hot dog bun, flatten the hinge, and toast the bun for 1 or 2 minutes. The toaster, however, is the least recommended method for toasting your hot dog bun due to the high probability that your hot dog bun will separate at the hinge. Unlike the previous methods mentioned here, to get your hot dog bun into the toaster feed, you will really haven to flatten out the bun, greatly stretching the hinge that holds the two bun halves together. This can cause the hinge to tear completely, effectively separating the two bun halves.
If you do decide to use a toaster to toast your hot dog bun, make sure that you do not butter your bun prior to placing it in the toaster. This can result in a serious fire hazard. Instead, spread softened or melted butter onto the hot dog bun after it's come out of the toaster.
To Butter the Bun or Not
It has been suggested in most of the toasting methods that you apply a tablespoon of melted butter to the inside of your buns. Adding butter to your hot dog buns will not only enhance the flavor of the buns, it will also aid the hot dog bun in developing an attractive golden color throughout the inside and edges of the bun. Butter can also act as a protective layer for the bun and prevent the bun from absorbing any excess moisture from the hot dog or added toppings, keeping the bun crisp rather than soggy.
However, butter is also an added layer of fat and high in calories; therefore, some health-conscious cooks may choose to avoid using it, for that reason.
To Toast Both Sides or Not
You can certainly toast both sides of your hot dog bun, but it should be noted that toasting both sides increases the chances that you will dry out your hot dog buns. While toasting the inside of your buns will provide a golden, crispy texture that enhances the flavor and durability of the bun, toasting the outside will not yield the same delightful qualities because of the extra layer of brown crust.
Suggested Ways to Enjoy Your Hot Dog
- If you're looking for an alternative to a hot dog dressed up with ketchup and mustard, try topping your hot dog West Coast-style, using chile, cheese and onions for a spiced-up variation with a little heat.
- For a true Chicago hot dog experience, top your hot dog with mustard, relish, peppers, tomato slices and raw onions.
- If you're looking for a Southern-style hot dog, simply garnish your hot dog with coleslaw.
- There's always the tried-and-true classic way to garnish your hot dog, New York-style, featuring steamed onions and deli-style, yellow mustard.