National hot dog day is today…um…was last week. I’m late on this one, but trust me, it’s worth it.
Mexican hot dogs are cross-border pollination at its best. Take a hot dog, wrap it in bacon, and serve it in a thick bun with beans, salsa, jalapeños, and a drizzle of crema. These dogs are from the Sonoran desert region, Northwestern Mexico through Southern Arizona. No one really knows where they came from – there are all sorts of rumors – but my bet is on the hot dog carts around the University of Sonora in Mexico. A hot dog wrapped in bacon, topped with everything else that is available? It sounds like the perfect food for a starving college student. These dogs spread through the Sonoran desert region, ignoring the political border and establishing themselves as a local delicacy in Tucson, Arizona.
There are three keys to cooking hot dogs wrapped in bacon:
1. Assembly: Wind the bacon around the hot dog in a single layer, like you are wrapping a candy cane.
2. Low and slow: Cook the dogs low and slow, turning them often. Dripping bacon fat is just looking for an excuse to flare up and cause a grease fire, so keep the dogs moving, and don’t rush them. You don’t want burnt bacon.
3. Flip with the wind, not against it: When you do turn the dogs, make sure you twist them in the direction of the bacon. Until the bacon is well cooked, it is loose on the hot dogs. Turn them in the wrong direction and the bacon will unwrap itself and flop onto the grill. (Not that it happened to me. Over and over. Ahem.) Make sure you turn with the wrap, which keeps the bacon tight.
The final key to these dogs? Toppings. What goes on (or with) a taco? Beans, diced tomatoes and onions, and a drizzle of crema are traditional; some people favor avocados (great!) and mayonnaise (what?); I’ve heard of dogs topped with all of the above, plus a dusting of crushed potato chips (yikes). Like most hot dogs, the toppings aren’t really a recipe, they’re more of a suggestion. “Drag them through the garden” and go nuts with whatever Mexican themed toppings you like. In my house, one kid liked sour cream and Mexican shredded cheese; another preferred beans, salsa, and Mexican crumbled queso. Me? Bring me all the toppings. I want everything you’ve got, and that jar of pickled jalapeños hiding in the back of the refrigerator, too.
Recipe: Grilled Mexican Hot Dogs
- Grill (I love my massive Weber Summit, but any grill will work for this recipe.)
Grilled Mexican Hot Dogs recipe. Bacon wrapped hot dogs, a specialty of the Sonoran border region of Mexico and Arizona.
- 8 hot dogs
- 8 slices bacon (about 1/2 a pound)
- 8 split-top buns (or thick rolls shaped like hot dog buns
- Refried beans
- Pickled Jalapeños
- Mexican crema (or substitute sour cream)
- Wrap the dogs with bacon: Wrap each hot dog with one piece of bacon in a spiral pattern in a tight single layer. (Think “candy cane”.)
- Set up the grill for medium-low heat: Set the grill up for cooking at medium-low heat and clean the grill grate. I preheat my grill with all burners on high for 10 minutes, then turn the burners down to medium-low and brush the grate clean with my grill brush.
- Cook the hot dogs: Set the hot dogs on the grill grate – be careful, this is when the bacon will try to unwrap – keep the lid open, and grill until browned on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Give the dogs a quarter turn in the direction the bacon is wound – again, carefully, so the bacon doesn’t unwind – and grill until browned on the bottom, another 5 minutes. Repeat the quarter turn and grill until browned steps two more times, browning the other two sides, about 10 minutes more. Rotate and move the dogs if there are flareups, or if some dogs are browning quicker than others. The dogs are done when the bacon is browned and crispy. When the dogs are almost done, put the buns on the grill and brown on two sides, about 1 minute a side.
- Serve: Spread a thin layer of refried beans in each hot dog bun, top with the bacon-wrapped dog, then add the rest of the toppings. Serve.
What do you think?
Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
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