Once you try Gluten Free Texas Weiners, which are split open griddled hot dogs with a tasty Coney sauce, you’ll be hooked for life!
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Never heard of a Texas Weiner? It’s okay. I’m here to tell ya all about ’em because they’re so good they just have to be shared!
What are Texas Weiners?
They’ve been making Texas weiners in Scranton, Pennsylvania (where my husband is from) since 1923. I’m not sure how he got the name, but the founder of Coney Island Texas Lunch, after leaving Greece (not Texas or Coney Island!), set up his “luncheonette” in the basement of a building in downtown Scranton. The business has been open since that time, and the Texas weiner is the most famous item on their menu and loved by locals and visitors alike.
The sandwich begins with a squat hot dog bun that’s super soft and pillowy. It’s short because they use a short hot dog (none of those bun-length hot dogs here). The hot dog is split almost in half lengthwise and grilled over a flat top griddle. Maximum surface area touching the griddle creates the perfect sear on the hot dogs’ insides. The usual sandwich consists of the split and griddled hot dog with their famous Coney Island “chili” sauce, mustard, and onions. Of course I would order mine without onions (I loathe onions).
What You’ll Need to Make Gluten Free Texas Weiners
- Gluten free buns–you can always purchase gf hot dog buns if you’d like, but of course I’d rather make my own. I chose to use my hot dog bun dough for these and just made them into smaller buns. They’re the perfect soft and pillowy bun just like what I remember getting in Scranton.
- Hot dogs
- Ground beef
- White vinegar
- Cayenne pepper
- Worcestershire sauce
- Tomato paste
- Onions–for those of you who like them
Making Texas Weiners
This recipe comes from my Aunt, who got it from the All American Club in Minnesota. She called it Coney’s and it was the closest thing to Scranton’s Texas weiners’ sauce that I found. The original recipe is cooked on a stovetop at a simmer for 3-4 hours. I wanted to make it a little quicker, so I used my Instant Pot. Put all the sauce ingredients in the Instant Pot and set it for pressure cook for 45 minutes. Let the pressure naturally release and then remove the lid and position it tilted so it’s half open. Switch to saute on low and allow the rest of the liquid to cook off for 15-20 minutes. The sauce should be really thick and not watery.
Assuming you’re making your own rolls, you’ll need to start one day in advance, or at least early in the morning by making the dough. I almost always have some form of dough on hand in my fridge, and this gluten free sweet dough is no exception. If you make it in advance, you can just pull out as much as you need to make as many rolls for your meal as desired. This is the very same recipe as my
To make rolls similar to Coney Island Texas Lunch’s, portion out the dough into about 2 ounces each. Shape each into about a 3 to 3 1/2-inch long cylinder, similar to a hot dog bun, but much smaller. Place them on a parchment or silicone mat-lined baking sheet as close together as possible (touching is even better). Cover with plastic wrap loosely and allow them to rise until almost doubled in size, 30 minutes to an hour. Brush them with an egg wash and bake at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes, or until they are golden brown and spring back when lightly touched. Immediately upon removing from the oven, brush them with melted or very soft butter.
The Hot Dog
The final piece to this hot dog puzzle is, well, the hot dog! Normally you’d leave a hot dog whole and put it on a hot dog bun and that’d be the end of it. But in this instance, we need to split the hot dog in half, like butterflying it, until it’s almost apart, but not all the way. Griddle it in a cast iron or nonstick skillet, or on a flat griddle until slightly charred.
Texas Weiner FAQs
Try to find a short hot dog that has a great snap to it, such as these Berk’s All Beef Hot Dogs, or a longer one like Boar’s Head Uncured Beef Frankfurters. The Boar’s Head are longer and will hang off the bun, which is okay. I tried to make Texas weiners with Ball Park All Beef Franks and they weren’t good (too mushy with no snap).
Yes, it can be kept in the fridge for 3-4 days, and it can also be frozen for a few months.
I really like steaming them because that’s what Coney Island Texas Lunch does (and it makes the buns so soft). But you can also cut them open and place them in the same skillet you’re cooking the hot dogs in and let them “toast” in the pan.
You can make this in a large saucepan on the stovetop. Bring all the ingredients to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and simmer with the lid ajar for 3-4 hours, or until thickened.
Serve them up with mustard and, if you must, onions and everyone will FLIP over these Gluten Free Texas Weiners!
Gluten Free Texas Weiners
- coney sauce, recipe follows
- gluten free hot dog buns (shaped in the form of small hot dog buns)
- 1½ packages hot dogs (a hot dog with a snap is preferable)
- yellow mustard
- 1-2 medium white onions, diced (optional)
- 2 lbs (906 g) ground beef
- 1 small can (6 oz or 170 g) tomato paste
- ½ tbsp garlic, crushed
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp allspice
- 4 tbsp chili powder
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp cumin
- ½ tsp ground red pepper (cayenne)
- 1½ tbsp white vinegar
- 2 dashes worcestershire sauce
Make the Coney Sauce
- Brown ground beef in Instant Pot set at saute on high. Drain grease off and return beef to pot. Add the rest of the sauce ingredients and cover with the lid. Set to pressure cook on high for 30 minutes.
- Allow pressure to release naturally. Remove lid, turn pot to saute on low, and place lid ajar. Saute for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until most of the water has evaporated (you want the sauce to be thick and not watery).
Griddle Hot Dogs
- Cut hot dogs lengthwise almost in half, but not fully (like you would butterfly a chicken breast, for instance). If your hot dogs are long, you can also cut them in half horizontally. In a skillet or flat griddle over medium high heat, add hot dogs, cut sides down, and sear until slightly charred, 2-3 minutes. Flip and cook on the other side for another 2-3 minutes.
- You don't have to do this step, but Coney Island Texas Lunch uses steamed buns and it really makes a difference, in my opinion. Using a steamer, place buns in steamer and steam for only 30 seconds to one minute.
- Split steamed buns in half crosswise. Lay hot dog onto bottom half of bun and ladle sauce on top of hot dog. Finish with a generous squirt of mustard and chopped onions (onions are optional).