Mar 23 2012

Hot Dogs in Pretzel Buns

Published by at 7:36 am under Food,Recipes

I’m a fan of the show Next Food Network Star–it makes me wonder if I could ever do something like that and then smacks me back into the reality that, no, I probably couldn’t.  Last season, I was really pulling for Susie win; her warm smile, bubbly personality and sweet stories about her family won me over and I’ve always wanted to take on the challenge of cooking Mexican cuisine.  Greg, on the other hand, was pulling for Jeff.  He feels that certain rapport with a goofy guy whose jokes sometimes land and sometimes don’t–two peas in a pod, those two.  Greg also loved the idea of a cooking show featuring approachable sandwich recipes that were far from ordinary but would be easy enough to make for dinner.

Well, as many of you know, Jeff won out and, as promised, now has his own cooking show about preparing gourmet sandwiches.  We catch his show now and then while flipping through channels on the weekend but the episode last weekend just reeled us in.  He was making his own pretzel rolls to fill with a hot dog topped with cheesy jalapeno-y goodness.

After wiping the drool off Greg’s face, I promised him I’d make them for dinner.

These rolls are made from scratch so they do take a bit of a time commitment but they were super easy.  Greg practically burned his hands ripping into one straight out of the oven to dip into mustard (all in the name of taste-testing!) before we even had the grill hot for the dogs.  The rolls were soft and chewy on the inside and crisp with that characteristic pretzel taste on the outside (science nerd that I am, I had to look up the chemistry behind how the baking soda wash makes that happen–it’s really pretty cool!).

Our rolls rose well but you’ll notice they got a little flattened when I shaped them and when I picked them to toss them in the baking soda wash. Try to keep them as log-shaped as possible and hopefully that won’t happen to you.

For the hot dogs, we just grilled up our favs (all beef for Greg, turkey for me) and topped them with shredded cheddar cheese and jalapenos I pickled last year. They are fantastically delicious, especially with that punch of heat from those frozen-in-time local jalapenos.  But, the rolls are FAR better the first day than reheated so have some friends over or save some room for dipping the leftovers  into nacho cheese sauce or spicy mustard.

So, I’ll give Greg the credit for backing a winning Next Food Network Star horse but I ended up with the lion’s share of the credit for making hot dog rolls from scratch!

Hot Dogs in Pretzel Buns

Yield: Makes 8 hot dogs with buns

Hot Dogs in Pretzel Buns

Adapted from Jeff Mauro


  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 packet active dry yeast
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup bread flour
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • Pretzel salt or coarse ground sea salt, for sprinkling
  • 8 hot dogs
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup pickled jalapenos


In a small saucepan, heat the milk, 1/2 cup water, sugar and honey to 105 to 110 degrees F. Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer. Sprinkle the yeast over the water mixture and wait for at least 10 to 15 minutes until the yeast blooms.

Combine the all-purpose flour and bread flour in a mixing bowl then add the flour mixture to the bowl with the blooming yeast, and then add in the melted butter. Use a dough hook attachment to mix on medium speed until the dough has come together (scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed) and the dough is smooth and elastic in texture and pulling away from the sides of the bowl, 5 to 7 minutes.

Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured cutting board and form into a ball. Cut into 4 equal pieces, and then cut those in half to form 8 equal pieces. Using your hands, roll each piece into a ball and place onto prepared baking sheet. Cover with a dish cloth and let them rest in a warm place for 12 to 15 minutes.

Once rested, lightly dust your work surface again and roll the balls into 7-inch logs. Place back on prepared baking sheet, cover, place back in the warm spot and let rest for an additional 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place one oven rack high and one low.

In a large pot, bring 8 cups water to a boil, and then add the baking soda. In batches, place the dough in the water and cook for 30 seconds on each side.

Using a slotted spatula, remove the logs and place onto the prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle the logs with pretzel salt as they come out of the water, to ensure the salt sticks. Then cut 3 diagonal slits on top of the bread, not too deep.

Bake for 10 to 13 minutes, rotating between the top and bottom racks of the oven halfway through the cooking. Allow to cool slightly on baking sheet then cut a slit in the top for the hot dog to nestle into.

Grill your hot dogs, nestle into buns and top with cheese and peppers (or whatever you want!)

Note: Your buns will look nice and puffy like this:

Then they will go into the baking soda wash and look shriveled and prune-y like this:

That’s ok.

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5 responses so far

5 Responses to “Hot Dogs in Pretzel Buns”

  1. Wawaon 23 Mar 2012 at 9:09 am

    I love that you looked up why they get a baking soda bath. I’ve wondered about that for a while. Also…these look freakin’ delicious.

  2. Lindseyon 23 Mar 2012 at 9:17 am

    I had to! It’s just amazing how you dunk them in there and you turn chewy bread dough into pretzel! Science!!

    Apparently it’s a millions times better with a stronger base like lye, which has traditionally been used in pretzel-making. But lye is a bit dangerous for the home cook so baking soda works just fine.

  3. Jaida (Sweet Beginnings)on 23 Mar 2012 at 10:53 am


    I watched that episode and drooled too!! Now seeing yours as well, I’m going to have to make them soon!!

  4. Kristenon 23 Mar 2012 at 2:51 pm

    I MUST show Steve. They look amazing.

    I am also a sandwich freak, who falls for the dude with “that” sense of humor, so I was pulling for Jeff all the way as well!

  5. ellyon 23 Mar 2012 at 9:31 pm

    These look awesome. I’ve made pretzel rolls before but never thought to make them for hot dog rolls – which is obviously a brilliant idea. Can’t wait to try these out!

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