Beer, meat and cheese form a power trinity which trumps nearly all other combos. Ready to step up your dawg game? Try these pretzel bun wagyu hot dogs with beer cheese sauce.
In the scheme of “all-American” foods, the hot dog ranks pretty high. Sure, there are iconic cuisines like barbecue, deep-fried anything/everything, and a host of other regional specifics like Burgoo and Gumbo, but there’s something uniquely US about the dawg. Whether it’s a frank out of a questionably sanitary cart on the streets of Manhattan, to a pig-in-a-blanket served as an appetizer, Americans just love their wieners.
In fairness, it was the Germans who were the originals fans of the sausage. Brat, knock, weiss and bock are all, literally, the wurst. This tradition of sausage making in Deutschland also has mega-strong connections to the sausage we find in Texas-style BBQ, thanks to the many German immigrants who settled in Central Tx. But I digress… Have you ever actually wondered about the difference between sausage names in the US? Fun fact: wieners are usually pork based, and a little bland or milder, while franks are usually all beef with big punchy seasonings.
I consider the hot dog to be a distant cousin of the hamburger, in that they both share a high degree of portability. They’re a single hand food, with the bun forming a mess-free buffer between you and your meaty snack. They also happen to be a great option when you’re grilling for a bunch of people, because it’s so much easier to bust out 8 hot dogs than cook 8 perfect ribeyes.
In addition to being easy to cook, hot dogs are cheap, allowing you to feed a crowd without having to take out a small loan to cover meat costs. When a carcass is broken down in a processing plant, there are lots of perfectly edible bits of trim – scraps that are too small and ugly to be sold on their own. To maximise both the profitability of the animal, and more importantly to adhere to the concept of “nose to tail” eating, whereby as little of the beast as possible goes to waste, the trim needs to be reimagined, and sausages are one of these by-products.But good news – opting for franks doesn’t mean you have to skip on quality or luxury. What if you took the trim from a premium animal? Then you’d end up with a premium sausage. Case in point, Lone Mountain Wagyu 100% fullblood beef sausages, which is what I used as the base for this recipe.
A rich sausage calls for some equally rich flavors – and I thought it appropriate to create a mash-up of the classic American hot dog with a nod to it’s German roots. And so, the pretzel bun wagyu hot dog with beer cheese came to be. And don’t worry, unlike those teeny tiny NYC dogs, you’ll actually get your belly full with these.
Pretzel bun hot dogs with beer cheese
- Yield: serves 8
8 sausages/weiners, fresh not smoked.
1 bunch scallions, chopped (optional garnish)
FOR THE BUNS:
1 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 pack dry yeast
3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup bread flour
1/2 cup baking soda
chunky salt for sprinkling
FOR THE BEER CHEESE SAUCE:
3/4 cup beer (I used a Lager)
1/2 cup smoked Gouda, grated
1/2 cup cheddar, grated
2 tbsp flour
3 tbsp sour cream
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp black pepper
salt to taste
- For the buns: Combine milk, water, sugar and honey in microwave safe bowl, and microwave for 30 seconds until warm (105-110 degrees). Place mix in bowl of stand mixer and sprinkle yeast pack on top, leaving it to bloom for 15 minutes. Add both flours to the bowl and using a dough hook attachment, mix on medium until the dough has come together and is smooth and elastic. This will take 5-7 minutes. Line a large half sheet pan with baking paper. Place dough on a board or silicon mat, and divide into 8 equal portions, rolling each between your hands to form a ball, then place on lined tray. Cover with a dish cloth and rest in a warm place for 15 minutes to proof. Once rested, roll each ball into 6-7 inch logs, and place back onto baking sheet, covering again and allowing to rest a further 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 425f. In a large pot, bring 8 cups of water to a boil, then add in baking soda, which will bubble up. Working with 1-2 rolls at a time, place into the water and cook 30 seconds on each side. Using a skimmer, remove the buns and place back onto baking sheet, sprinkling immediately with chunky salt. Using a very sharp knife, cut three shallow slits in the top of each bun, then bake for 10-13 minutes, rotating the tray halfway during the cook.
- For the beer cheese sauce: In medium saucepan, heat the beer on low for 5-7 minutes. Slowly whisk in flour, then add in both cheeses, whisking again until melted and smooth. Add in mustard, sour cream, salt & pepper and continue to stir until combined. The sauce is best used within 15-10 mins of making it. If you prefer a thicker sauce, use more flour, and if you need to thin it out, add more beer.
- To assemble: Cook sausages in a cast iron skillet or grill until cooked through. Make a slit in each pretzel bun, and place the sausage inside. Drizzle with beer cheese and sprinkle with chopped scallions. Serve immediately.
Pretzel buns adapted from Jeff Mauro’s recipe.