Call them Runzas, call them Bierocks, call them anything you want. Just make sure that you enjoy these delicious pockets of deliciousness!
I’m on this mission to regularly make more new recipes. I have over 1,200 new recipes on Pinterest, and the list continues to grow. Not only that, I also have a lot of recipes filed under “Made it Loved it”, but haven’t posted about them. That is something I need to change, starting now. I’ve made this runzas recipes many times, but for whatever reason never posted about it.
I’ve been friends with Jack & Betty it seems like ever since I moved to Stillwater. They’re both OSU grads and huge fans. Two years ago I went on an amazing trip to Playa del Carmen with Jack, Betty and our friend Barbara. My plan was to go with them every year, but unfortunately that hasn’t happened. Playa is such an amazing town. Jack and Betty go twice a year, and have become great friends with several of the locals. It was no surprise when they said they plan to retire there.
I stopped by Jack and Betty’s house one afternoon, and the smell coming from the oven was heaven. Jack told me he was making bierocks. I had never heard of them, but I couldn’t resist a taste. One bite and I was in heaven, especially fresh from the oven.
As soon as I got home, I went online to find the recipe. I then realized I had tried runzas when I went to a Nebraska football game. They sell runzas at several of the concession stands, and it is one of their most popular items. The one at the game was massive, and I don’t even want to think of the calories and fat. Jack and Betty are very health conscious, so Jack found a few great tweaks to significantly reduce the calories and fat.
I’ve seen them called both runzas and bierocks, and the names can be used pretty interchangeably. I have noticed that people who grew up calling them one name won’t even think of calling them the other. It reminds me of the soda vs. pop debate.
I found numerous recipes on Pinterest that call for you to make your own dough. That’s great in theory, but not quick or convenient when you’re making a quick lunch or snack. Jack uses Rhodes’ Rolls from the freezer section in any grocery store. I figure if those are good enough for him, they’re good enough for me!
I really, really like these runzas. There are very few added seasonings, and you would think that would result in a bland product. But, they are actually extremely flavorful. The process is a little time consuming, but overall very easy to make.
I’ve made my fair share of errors while making these: spread the rolls too thin so they exploded; overcooked them; forgotten to add butter to get the golden color on top; undercooked the cabbage. I’ve also put too much vinegar, which is NOT a good thing; however, the sugar balances it out. I always make too much filling, because I estimate the cabbage, and therefore always go overboard. In reality that’s not a bad thing, and I eat the extra filling while I wait for the runzas to bake. As I’m writing this, I realized yet another mistake: I don’t cook my runzas pinched side down, which is another reason I have to use toothpicks. I’ll follow the directions more closely next time, and make sure to do that.
To lighten up the runzas, I use cooking spray (or a very small amount of olive oil) to saute the cabbage and onions, use very lean beef, and use Smart Balance spread instead of butter on top. On my first attempt, I did no cheese since that’s what Jack did. But I love cheese, and I only use about an ounce of cheese spread out among all 4 runzas. I’ve alternated between mozzarella and parmesan, but I do prefer mozzarella.
Of course I will continue to make runzas. I have to admit I don’t make them very often, primarily because I always forget to take out the rolls in the morning to thaw out. I need to have this runzas recipe on my mind and on my meal plan. But it’s well worth the wait for such a scrumptious dish.