I know what you're thinking: all that smoke from Fourth of July grilling has gone to my head, and now I'm grabbing the first thing I see in the barbecue aftermath and pretending it's worthy of an "Ingredient of the Week" post. But hear me out before you judge.
At every barbecue I've hosted or attended, I've noticed there are almost always leftover hot dog buns. Sometimes it's an issue of the bread company packing more in each bag than what the franks company is willing to put in theirs. But oftentimes, you've got some jackass guest (whom you probably didn't even invite in the first place but who tagged along with your cousin's friend's boyfriend) who likes to pile two wieners into each bun or, even worse, is on a low-carb diet for swimsuit season.
So when you end up with a bunch of buns, don't be disheartened. More importantly, don't discard. Hard times are upon us, folks; let's put those buns to good use.
What is it?
If you are American and don't know what a hot dog bun is, then I don't know how to help you. If you are a martian, then, ah, let me teach you the ways of earthlings -- specifically, American -- life.
Hot dog buns are soft pieces of bread shaped in such a way that it can hold a wiener, wurst, frankfurter, or whatever you prefer to call them. Buns were originally designed so hot franks could be eaten without burning the hands. There are two types of buns: the top-loading kind from the northeastern U.S. (also called New England rolls or lobster buns) and the more common side-loading variety. They are, like other typical breads, made of flour, milk, yeast, butter and eggs. Some have other ingredients like brown sugar, whole wheat flour, poppy or sesame seeds.
Where can I find it?
At any store that sells groceries.
How do I use it?
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At a barbecue, put your wiener in it. But since the king of barbecue weekends had just passed, use it to make breadcrumbs. Store in an airtight container and whip out next time you're making cassoulet, chicken fried steak, meatballs, or potatoes au gratin.