Memorial Weekend is one of the most patriotic American holidays, so when we decided to have some friends over yesterday, I decided that I wanted to make bacon hot dogs. My friends don’t normally eat street food, so I thought I’d bring street food to them, and seriously, what’s more American than bacon and hot dogs? Truth be told, the bacon hot dog has its roots as street food in Mexico, but it also has a strong cult-like following in California. You can even get arrested for selling bacon hot dogs in L.A. as I’ve discussed here and here.
We normally have Niman Ranch thick-cut bacon in the fridge, but I got a tip from a friend that cheap bacon works better for this purpose because it’s thinner and easier to wrap around the hot dog. It also doesn’t add extra girth to the hot dog that would prevent the bun from closing.
I ended up using Oscar Meyer bun-length hot dogs and Bar S bacon. Next time, I’m going to try a different brand of bacon because the Bar S bacon didn’t have a very strong flavor. Otherwise, it was very easy to wrap the bacon around the hot dog. Simply wrap the bacon around itself at the end of the hot dog to hold it in place and then move down diagonally until the rest of the hot dog is covered. The process reminded me of regripping my tennis rackets back in the day.
I also had some meat glue (i.e. Activa TG-RM or transglutaminase) on hand, so I made a slurry and I brushed it on the hot dogs before wrapping them with bacon and refrigerating them to let the “glue” set. If you have access to some Activa, by all means use it.
I used a cast-iron skillet to cook the bacon dogs, and here’s what they looked like when they were finished…
After the first few bacon dogs were cooked, I took a couple tablespoons of the rendered bacon fat and put that in another skillet and used it to grill some halved onion slices until they were caramelized. The onions were used as a topping for the bacon dogs, and I served it along with ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise. I’ve also seen bacon dogs served with grilled slices of red and green peppers, so if you want to use those, throw them in with the onions.
The bun-length hot dogs were the perfect length for the bacon slice, but next time I make these, I’ll make sure I find some “better” cheap bacon—maybe my childhood favorite, Farmer John. Overall, I thought this endeavor was a success, and making bacon dogs is an easy way to make your friends happy.
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