Cheese hot dog #1


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I used to love to get the "Wisconsin cheese dog" at the Frank 'n' Stein at the Fair Oaks Mall in Fair Oaks, Virginia, when I lived down that way. I probably haven't had one in a decade since I was unsure of how to get the cheese to melt.

There is an updated version of this recipe as Cheese hot dog #2, and that version worked better.

A search of the Internet provided a wealth of bad answers, the most common being the microwave, which I don't like. You have to microwave it with the bun, and microwaving bread first makes it moist and soggy, then it quickly turns into a rock. The other answers were along the lines of using Cheez Wiz. No, thanks.

I know those hot dog places melt the cheese using a steam drawer. While I have a lot of appliances, I don't have a steam drawer. Can you make a cheese hot dog using a steamer insert in an ordinary pot on the stove? The answer: Yes.

I cut two thin slices of Cabot cheddar cheese. Here it is next to my whole wheat hot dog roll, which is still wrapped in plastic wrap because it was previously frozen.

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Here is my saucepan with a little water in the bottom and the steamer insert. I covered it and brought it to a boil, before adding the hot dog.

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I reheated the hot dog, which I previously grilled, vacuum sealed and froze, boil-in-bag for 9 minutes from frozen. Here is the hot hot dog with the cheese and some jalapeños on the bun, ready to go into the steamer.

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I put it in for 1:00, but the cheese wasn't completely melted under the jalapeños. Maybe 1:15 or 1:30 would be better, but the bun was getting pretty soft. The jalapeños were raw, like they would be on a cold sandwich, but I think that's okay. Maybe sautéeing them first would be better; I'm not sure. Maybe they should be added after melting the cheese, since they don't really get soft, anyway.

Also it was a little hard to get the hot dog out of the steamer because the bun was so moist. I'm considering putting it in a little aluminum foil sling before putting it in the steamer so I can just grab the sling to pull it out the steamer.

I'd say it was pretty much a success. The cheese was mostly melted and the bun was soft but manageable and didn't turn into a rock while eating it. And it was tasty.

Incidentally, other ideas I rejected:

I use a propane torch to melt cheese on my sausage, egg and cheese English muffins but I was pretty sure the torch would set the bun on fire because the hot dog pretty much needs to be nestled in the bun to melt the cheese, unlike a breakfast sandwich.

Oven/toaster oven. I was pretty sure that everything would be overcooked before the cheese melted, which I guess would take about 8 minutes at 350°F, or at least that's what it takes for nachos.

Broiler. This was a runner-up, but I was pretty sure the bun would get overly toasted before the cheese melted.