Cooking hot dogs (and similarly shaped things) on the backyard grill is one of those classic American summer traditions. One of the weaker parts of this scheme is preparing the hot dog buns. I happen to like mine toasty and warm and crunchy, and without the hinges broken! Not everyone likes grilled buns, but for those of us who do, this is a legitimate concern. Folding buns wide or flat to grill them seems to universally weaken the hinges to the point that they are prone to break upon introduction of a sausage, particularly if there are condiments involved.
So, here’s our quick DIY Hot Dog Bun Grilling Jig, which holds your bun open at the perfect angle while it warms on the grill, forming a sturdy toasted structure with potentially good hinge integrity. Bonus: by grabbing the jig, you can use tongs to set down and pick up your bun without fear of a squished bun.
Our story begins not with charcoal or propane, but shopping for hardware. Our jigs are made of stainless steel metal mesh, which you might be able to find locally or online. (Since this is for food preparation, take care to actually get some safe metal of known pedigree– there are plenty of types metal mesh that are not suitable for cooking on. )
We picked stainless steel welded wire cloth, McMaster-Carr part number 9322T631, described as “EASY-TO-FORM” Stainless Steel (type 304) welded wire cloth 2×2 mesh (2 lines per inch, i.e., 1/2″ squares), with wire .047″ in diameter, and overall size 12″ square. ($9.92 for one square foot).
Cut the wire mesh in half and in half again to make four quarters of roughly equal size.
Bend each piece of mesh, the long way, to make an angle. Careful, this takes some strength and care; the pliers may be helpful in starting the bend. Be careful not to cut yourself on the pointy wire ends.
Almost done: As you can see in the picture above on the left, the bent piece of wire mesh has some pointy ends. Use pliers to bend down these pointy-edge pieces so that your jig is generally safe to pick up with your bare fingers– if it isn’t hot off the grill. Also, remember to clean your jig off before you actually cook with it.