Until just a few years ago I had never intentionally eaten a hotdog. In the course of my life I had maybe gagged down four or five hotdogs when extenuating circumstances necessitated it. (On the verge of starvation on some wilderness excursion, out of politeness when eating at someone else’s home, and maybe once to impress a boy.) It was very un-American, but I hated hotdogs. Then I spent a Halloween in Vegas and my whole perspective changed. Unlike most people that go to Vegas for Halloween we spent the evening fully clothed passing out candy to neighborhood children and visiting with family. Noel’s aunt had laid out her usual impressive smorgasbord and she was doing her best to fatten me up. It’s eerily similar to that scene in My Big Fat Greek Wedding where the mom asks Ian if he’s hungry and he says “Oh, no I already ate” to which she replies, “Okay, I’ll make you something.”
Apparently pigs in blankets is a family tradition and there was no way I was going to be able to weasel myself out of eating one. A plate materialized in my hands and I faked a smile as I lifted the blanketed hotdog to my lips. I braced myself for the worst and was shocked when I was not repulsed, but rather delighted. As it turns out, when you wrap a quality dog (I mean, Hebrew Nationals do answer to a higher authority) in a pillow of buttery croissant dough even I will like it. I’ve made a few of my own Pigs in Blankets for Halloween since that night, but have been trying to find a homemade alternative to the “family recipe” (hot dogs and Pillsbury croissants) and I think I’ve finally nailed it. The dough is a cheater puff pastry with whole wheat flour in it. It is still flaky and delicious, but not as time consuming or as drippingly buttery. The grilling adds a nice flavor and the final product was a hit with even the toughest critics in our family.
Grilled Pigs in Blankets
- 1 C all purpose flour
- 1 C white whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp salt (skip if using salted butter)
- 2 sticks butter, cut into rough 1/2 inch cubes and chilled
- 1/2 C cold water
- Combine the flour and the salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
- Add the butter and mix on low speed for 30 seconds.
- Add the cold water and mix an additional 30 seconds. At this point the mixture won’t look like much of a dough, but don’t fret. Pour it out onto a lightly floured surface and roughly shape into a loose rectangle.
- We are going to be doing three “turns” with the dough. Take one of the short sides of the rectangle and fold it to the center. Take the other side and fold it to the center. the dough will fall apart a bit, but that’s okay. Use your hands to press the dough back together into a rectangle similar to the size you started with. This was your first turn.
- Turn the dough 90 degrees and again fold the short ends into the center and reshape the dough into a rectangle. This is turn two.
- Turn the dough 90 degrees and complete your final turn by bringing the short ends to the center and gently flattening the dough into a rectangle. The dough may still look a little shaggy, but that’s okay. Wrap it in plastic wrap and put in the fridge for at lest 30 minutes.
Assembly and Cooking
- 1 batch dough
- 2 packages of hotdogs
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough until it’s 1/4″ thick. I try and shape my dough like a rectangle, but this isn’t crucial.
- Cut the dough into triangles or rectangles to be wrapped around the hotdogs.
- Wrap around hotdogs and take them out to the grill. Grill the hotdogs until the dough is cooked through, making sure you turn occasionally to cook evenly. We have a charcoal grill and placed them around the perimeter so the heat wouldn’t be so high. If you have a gas grill, medium heat would be perfect. Our cook time was about 10-15 minutes, but keep an eye on them as cook time will vary from grill to grill.