Retro Recipes: Hungry Jack Weinerollas, 1970
Welcome to Retro Recipes! Brought to you from the capable kitchen of Eat Me Daily's Stephanie Butler, each week we take a look at preparations from the past that straddles the line between ingenious and absurd. This week: Hungry Jack Weinerollas.
It's fall, which means football season is once again upon us. High schoolers tramp through leaves to the homecoming game, tailgate parties spring up in stadium parking lots, and somewhere a harried columnist is rolling hot dogs in crescent rolls and crushed potato chips for your enlightenment and amusement. This week's recipe comes from 1970's Pillsbury's Meat Cook Book (buy at Amazon) — yet another in Pillsbury's extensive cookbook library that doubles as, if nothing else, a cautionary tale for the baking company to never, ever, try their flour-dusted hands at meat cookery again. At the very least they need a new art director, because in classic mid-century cookbook style, this stuff looks pretty disgusting in the accompanying photos.
Small wonder, though, that it's in the "Sausages and luncheon meats" section that this book really reaches a peak of absurdity. If I've learned anything from doing this column, it's that, pre-Clinton administration, the word "sausage" is interchangeable with "hot dog". And so we have delights like Corny Wiener Chowder, Frankly Sauerkraut, and Quick Mexican Weiners. But the ones that really struck my fancy were the Hungry Jack Weinerollas — I can't pass up a prime opportunity to use potato chips in a legitimate cookbook recipe.
Fond memories of weiner rolls
I remember fondly the days when my mother would let my sister and me make our own hot dog roll ups for dinner, using Pillsbury crescent rolls and American cheese. The "official" Pillsbury recipe deviates quite a bit from that formula — the recipe calls for the cheese-stuffed dogs to be encased in a chili-sauced roll, then the whole thing to be brushed with water and rolled in crushed barbecue potato chips. To which I say: easier said than done. Rolling hot dogs in anything is a messy process, but add cheese and onion stuffing and a good dousing of chili sauce to that and it's almost not worth the fuss. And I was only doing two dogs – imagine the hours of labor you'd go through to serve these Wienerollas at a playoff party!
Sadly missing barbecue
After stuffing the dogs, saucing the rolls, and wrapping the whole thing up, II brushed the wrapped dogs with a coat of water and pressed on some finely crushed barbecue chips. I was worried about two scenarios: the chips falling off, or the water making the chips soggy. Turns out I had the wrong chip-related worries, because the end product was crisp and chippy — but it just didn't taste like barbecue at all. Somehow with the hot dog and chili sauce and all this other stuff going on, the chip taste got lost, which was disappointing. If a hot dog is rolled in barbecue chips and no one can taste them, did it ever get rolled in the first place?
Other than the sadly missing barbecue component, the Hungry Jack was surprisingly decent. Or maybe not so surprisingly — after all, hot dogs are great, mozzarella is tasty, I do appreciate chili sauce more than most people, and we've already established the place crescent rolls have in my heart. Was it tailgate-party worthy? Probably not. But is there a chance I'd break out the rest of the hot dogs, wrap them in roll, smother them in cheese and chili sauce and serve them to friends? If those friends are inebriated and in dire need of a sodium fix, then the answer can only be yes.
Recipe: Hungry Jack Wienerollas
From Pillsbury's Meat Cook Book, 1970
1 pack hot dogs
1 pack Pillsbury rolls
1/3 cup chili sauce
3/4 cup shredded Mozzarella, Cheddar, or American cheese
3/4 cup finely chopped onion or 3 tablespoons instant minced onion
2 cups finely crushed barbeque potato chips
Separate dough into 10 sections. Spread about 1 1/2 teaspoons chili sauce down the center of each section. Cut a lengthwise slit in each weiner, place cut side up on dough. Stuff with onion and cheese, roll wiener and seal roll shut. Brush with water, roll in chips. Bake in 400 oven for 25 minutes, or until brown and bubbling.