• Dough:
  • ½ cup warm (not HOT) water
  • 1 tbsp yeast
  • 600 ml boiling water
  • 2 tsp shortening
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 7 ½ cups flour (approx)
  • Meat:
  • 2 lb lean ground beef
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 pkg onion soup mix
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 ½ tsp garlic
  • ¾ c ketchup
  • 1 tsp Montreal steak spice
  • ½ to 1 tsp of red paper flakes

As a kid, I grew up spending summer vacations with my Dad’s family in Cape Breton. My aunt Debbie used to make these amazing bundles of goodness she called Fratires (I’ve taken some liberties with the name as you can see).

“What is a Fratire”, you ask?

A Fratire is essentially homemade bread, wrapped around a super delicious ground beef and spice mixture, and baked so that in the end you have this awesome bun with a homemade sloppy joe like mixture in the middle.  YUM!

I searched Fratire on Wikipedia, however, and found out that it’s not widely known as a food. Instead, Wikipedia says, “Fratire is a type of 21st century non-fiction literature written for and marketed to young men in a politically incorrect and overtly masculine fashion. The term was coined following the popularity of works by George Ouzounian (writing under the pen name Maddox) and Tucker Max. Described as a satirical celebration of traditional masculinity, the genre has been criticized for allegedly promoting sexism and misogyny.”

I’m not promoting either of those things but I will say I find Tucker Max kinda funny. And I have no idea where my relatives came up with the name Fratire back in the day, before Tucker Max even existed.

Anyways, back to the food…I can’t believe I waited until now to try out this recipe (although I must say I made a few tweaks with the spice to kick it up a notch or two). These puppies are fantastic to snack on, and if there’s one thing I love to do, it’s snack (not on puppies).  They freeze well, and are great reheated with a slab of old cheddar on top. Who the hell am I kidding, you could put any cheese on top and I’d devour it on the spot.

Although these are pretty much two separate recipes, I find it’s best to tackle this project in the following order, because the timing works out almost perfect.

  1. Gather all the ingredients for both the dough and the filling, and put a kettle (or pot ,if you must) of water on to boil.
  2. While the water from step 1 boils, mix a ½ cup of warm (not HOT, cause it’ll kill off all your yeasty goodness) water with the yeast and set it aside to mingle.
  3. In a separate large bowl, mix the boiling water, sugar, salt, and shortening and set aside.
  4. While this stuff is sitting waiting patiently for you to get back, make the meat mixture. To do so, fry up your ground beef in a large skillet over medium heat. When it’s all browned add in the onion soup mix, spices, and ketchup and mix it up good. Turn the heat down to low and let it meld together for a few minutes, then turn off the heat and set the mixture aside to cool.
  5. Now back to the dough…mix the yeast mixture into the large bowl containing (now lukewarm) water mixture from step 2, and add in about 5-6 cups of the flour, then mix. Continue adding flour slowly and mixing until the dough holds together enough to knead.
  6. When you have added sufficient flour turn the dough out onto your floured counter or cutting board and knead it, adding flour so that it’s not sticky, but not enough so that it’s dry. Continue kneading until the dough becomes elastic (when you press your finger into the top of the dough it springs back). The kneading time varies from 5-10 minutes depending on the humidity, the dough, the temperature, etc…Now set the dough aside in a greased bowl and cover it with a towel. It’s best to leave it in a slightly warm spot, like near the stove or on the stovetop (if it’s not super hot). Let the dough rise until it’s doubled in size (anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour depending on the temperature).
  7. While dough is rising, feel free to do anything you want (I chose to eat supper). I’m setting no limits on this for you, so be creative. But remember to check back in 45 minutes to an hour…when the dough has doubled in size it’s time for the magic.
  8. Lift the towel and behold the magic of freshly risen dough.  Then punch it, poke it, whatever you want to do to deflate it. Then, do a victory dance.
  9. Now back to work, slacker…cut the dough into 3-4 oz chunks.
  10. Flatten the chunks out to about ½ to ¾ inch thick, being careful not to make the middles thinner than the edges. In fact, I find if the edges are slightly thinner it works even better.
  11. Place a heaping spoonful of the meat mixture in the middle and then gather up the dough…closing the casket on that meat forever (and by forever I mean until you bite into it). Pinch the dough to make sure it’s sealed, and then place messy side down on a pan, spaced a few inches apart.
  12. When your pan is full, turn the oven on to 375 degrees, and then cover the pan of buns with a towel and let them sit for another 20 or 30 minutes to rise again before baking.
  13. Bake for 25 minutes or so. You’ll know when these are done when you tap the bread and it feels hollow. As soon as you take them out, brush them with butter.

I know it’s tempting, but do NOT attempt to eat one right away…unless you want to burn the shit out of your mouth, wait until they’ve cooled a bit to take a bite!