Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 03-03-2008, 08:42 PM
dnooman dnooman is offline
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Posts: 4,829
How do they get the filling into Combos?

You know, the pretzel thing (sometimes cracker) filled with flavored "cheese". I just watched a special that shows them being cooked all the way through with no filling, and they say that the filling part is a trade secret.

Anyone have at least an educated guess as to how it's done?
Old 03-03-2008, 08:44 PM
silenus silenus is online now
The Turtle Moves!
Charter Member
Join Date: May 2003
Location: SoCal
Posts: 48,909
Injection while the dough is still warm and soft. Just like you fill a Twinkie.
Old 03-03-2008, 09:02 PM
dnooman dnooman is offline
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Posts: 4,829
Originally Posted by silenus
Injection while the dough is still warm and soft. Just like you fill a Twinkie.
The shells were clearly done baking, and just tumbling around. I'm sure there's some sort of alignment and injection process, I'm just wondering how that might be accomplished.
Old 03-03-2008, 09:08 PM
CalMeacham CalMeacham is offline
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 42,033
They showed the development of the Combos-making machine on a PBS show. It's not at all how you think it's done. A central spout squirts out the filling , while an outer section pushes out the "dough", which expands and bakes and hardens around the "filling". Both filling and "shell" , in other words, are extruded simultaneously in a continuous feed, which is allowed to harden (at least patrtway), then is cut into segments.

It's non-intuitive, and maybe looks as if it shouldn't work, but you could see it happening on the film.

It's a far cry from those TV commercials they used to run, which showed the filling sloshing luxuriously into a pre-baked shell. But you should take it as given that TV commercials don't depict the actual production process (especially when this involves elves, although that's not the case here). I think they built hugely oversized "shells" for that commercial.
Old 03-03-2008, 09:11 PM
KneadToKnow KneadToKnow is offline
Voodoo Adult (Slight Return)
Charter Member
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Charlotte, NC, USA
Posts: 24,929
Edit: Never mind.

Last edited by KneadToKnow; 03-03-2008 at 09:11 PM.
Old 03-03-2008, 10:19 PM
VernWinterbottom VernWinterbottom is offline
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 930
Was that the PBS show that showed how the idea for a hand-held vending machine food--something like an ice cream cone full of chicken salad--ended up becoming Combos--a silly little shell with a squirt of cheese filling? It was quite a fascinating show.

Last edited by VernWinterbottom; 03-03-2008 at 10:20 PM. Reason: spelling
Old 03-04-2008, 02:11 AM
danceswithcats danceswithcats is offline
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Voting anti-obamanation
Posts: 10,300
The hollow pretzel bits come down the conveyor belt and are aligned, opening up, before entering the middle stuff filling room, where a bunch of guys with hand held caulk guns loaded with cheesy spooge do the filling process, tens of thousands of time every day to a high degree of precision. You'd think it's automated, but no.
Crows. Keeping our highways clear of roadkill for over 80 years
Old 03-04-2008, 07:41 AM
Harmonious Discord Harmonious Discord is offline
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Wisconsin USA
Posts: 16,843
I didn't see the Combo's film, but I've seen snacks make by extruding them under high pressure and heat which is cooked before it leaves the nozzle. They even expand because of this process as soon as they leave the nozzle. I was going to say it was an extruder being used for the Combos, but was beat to it.


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:41 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to:

Send comments about this website to:

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to:

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

Copyright © 2017