New England−style Rolls . . . buttered and grilled. Oh my!

July 03, 2013
By Holly Jennings

To me, nothing says New England and summertime better than a New England−style hot dog roll. When buttered and toasted, its warm temp and crusty exterior is the perfect bed for refreshing, lobster salad. Moving inland, buttered rolls nestle up next to dogs on the grill, blowing what the rest of the nation uses to cradle a dog out of the water.


These are strong words, but I am after all a mid-Westerner transplanted to New England. I grew up on slide-sliced hot dog buns, but once I experienced top-sliced rolls, I fell for them hook, line, and sinker.


As a non-native New Englander, I do not take these superior rolls for granted. What if I should once again live in another part of the country, which, though surely rich in its own regional food traditions, would not give me easy access to ready-made New England−style hot dog rolls? The only solution is to learn to make them at home.

A testing day: New England−style rolls not yet separated into individual rolls or top sliced, made with the New England−style hot dog bun pan

New England−style rolls not yet separated into individual rolls or top sliced, made with the New England−style hot dog bun pan


Even if you’re not living in fear of one day doing without, there are other reasons to DIY the New England−style hot dog roll: You’ll have a fresher and better tasting roll, and you’ll be in control of the ingredients. (All of the commercial brands of New England−style hot dog rolls are made with a long list of ingredients not typically found in the home kitchen—such as preservatives, dough conditioners, and high-fructose corn syrup.)


To read my story about the New England−style hot dog roll, published in the Boston Globe, click here. You will learn about the little known origins of the roll (secret hint: it owes its existence to a clam roll, not a lobster roll), and find perfected recipes to make your own rolls at home using a special hot dog bun pan. (If you can’t read the story online—I believe BG may be subscription only—I will be adding this story to the Publications page of my website,, before too long.)


Normally, I stay pretty close to the cookbook club theme of this blog, but every so often I deviate when I’ve got something really fun to share, and this is it.


Plus it gives me an excuse to share one of my favorite Jonathan Richmond songs with you, captured in the live video recording, below.


To paraphrase Jonathan Richmond, “Dum-de-dum-de-dum-dum-da-dum-day. I love New England.” And especially New England−style rolls.




0 Comments to “New England−style Rolls . . . buttered and grilled. Oh my!”

  1. Who knew, there’s a pan for that? I see that roll and instantly think lobster roll, never knew about a clam roll! But now I am longing for a Luke’s lobster roll (NYC) and alas there is no reasonable substitute in Colorado. (Believe me I’ve tried so many lobster rolls here only to be disappointed, now I don’t even bother.) But I’m much to lazy to buy a pan, bake rolls, find fresh lobster, etc. Easier to fly to NYC!

  2. I see what you mean about it being easier to fly to NYC. And once there the whole world of food options open up to you. There’s just not enough days . . .
    Thanks for the tip about Luke’s Lobster Roll. I’ll check it out next time New York calls. But then there’s the hot dog or sausage option for this roll, though out your way I’m sure you’d have to make the rolls yourself.

  3. Bev Morrow says:

    Perhaps the host of Dowdy Corners CC would like to treat her favorite chapter to a batch of homemade rolls! Let me know if you need our address and FedEx shipping number. 🙂


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