Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Let's Talk Buns, Shall We?

Huntington Weenie Wonk Chris James made the observation in one of his reviews that the essence of a West Virginia Hot Dog is taking really cheap ingredients and making them taste great. I couldn't agree more. And although he was writing about weenies when he said that, I think the same thing applies to the bun the weenie sits in.

Lately we have had a run of HDJs that serve their hot dogs on so-called "English Buns"; those split-top buns that are grilled in butter or toasted until they have a crunchy crust. These buns are especially prevalent in Dairy Queens in our area.

These buns add a lot of bulk to a hot dog, and a lot of calories. When they are grilled in butter they take on a "comfort food" feel usually reserved for Blue Plate Special meat and potato entrees. The bun by itself could be a small meal.

But is an "English Bun" a fitting vessel for real West Virginia Hot Dog? I don't think so, and here's why:

Hello!? It's called an "English" Bun - How can something that claims to be authentically Appalachian have a major component that is completely foreign? But let's be technically correct, though, the English Bun is not English at all. How do I know? I asked the foremost authority on hot dogs in England, Scoffer, who runs the "Sausage and Bread Blog" based in London (not the one just downstream from Montgomery). I sent Scoffer a photo of hot dogs on what we call and English Bun and he said he'd never seen anything that looked like that in jolly old England.

OK, you say, then if it's not from England then it's not foreign. But wait! The crack research team here at WVHotDogs.com has found that "English Bun" is just a corruption of the actual name, "New England Split Top Bun." Trust me, New England is just as foreign to Appalachia as is Old England.

Additionally, we found out that New England Split Top Buns were first made not for hot dogs, but for lobster roll sandwiches. Apparently, that is still their major use in New England. In fact I couldn't find a single hot dog joint web site in New England that uses these buns for hot dogs!

So why, then, should we accept them on a real West Virginia Hot Dog? We shouldn't.

A "real" WVHD is made on what is technically called a "Frankfurter Bun." These buns were made for exactly the purpose we use them for when we put a frankfurter, aka "weenie", on them.

It is standard practice here at WVHotDogs.com to deduct a half point from the Weenie Rating for any hot dog reviewed that is presented on a New England Lobster Roll Bun.

Just because.


wvapoker said...

yikes...a half a weenie point deduction...it is just white bread. Refined white flour is refined white flour.

Is there a pepperoni roll blog?

Duck said...

Man I love those split-top buns, but maybe that's just me. And I'm a transplant anyway, so I'm obviously not to be trusted... ;)

Christopher Scott Jones said...

I am thankful that they don't seem too popular here in Huntington, but we do take our buns very seriously here, so maybe our HDJ owners feel the same way as you, Big Daddy, and I...

crystal said...

Oh I totally have to disagree with you on this one!!
Just try and buy the NESTB at a Huntington/Barboursville Kroger or Tower! They are constantly out of them because they are HUGELY superior to the "crusty all over" bun.
We here in WV are doomed to tradition and it's a shame. EMBRACE THE NESTB!!! IT'S WONDERFUL!

Christopher Scott Jones said...

The is but One True Bun, the Heiner's Sunny Bun. Amen

I'm Dad (and I said so!) said...

I second that motion.

MrsH said...

I can't believe I found this site! I was born in West Virginia but my parents moved before I was 3, but the rest of my family still live in Boomer where we LOVE to visit as often as we can! Last year, during one of our visits there we enjoyed an ATV adventure, aftewards we stopped for WV Hotdogs and experienced the "english buns" and LOVED them. I have been looking for them since and finally found this site talking about them. We loved those buns and thought they really added a lot to the experience of a WV hotdog! We now live in the Chicago area and love Chicago Dogs but nothing beats a WV hot dog!

Unknown said...

While I harbor no ill feelings concerning NESTBs per se, I do recognize a slippery slope when I see one. I whole hardly agree with the post: a WVHD is the result of combining a number of (simple) cheap elements that, in aggregate, create a superior taste and experience.

Ricky Retardo said...

Please, it's so un-West Virginian to be a snob, & even moreso when being snobbish about WV Dogs. The bun doesn't make or break the Dog, but the toppings definitely do. You've obviously never had to make do with a slice of white bread & it shows.