If a bacon wrapped hot dog recipe seems rather self-explanatory… that’s because it pretty much is.
Jonathan and I like to take our favorite foods and traditions and throw them at our friends, and bacon wrapped hot dogs are one of those. And we’ve come to discover that there are two kinds of people – those who have tried bacon wrapped hot dogs on the sidewalks of LA and love them / can’t live without them, and those who have never tried them and are about to get their world rocked with bacony goodness. We made these for our friends the Buckleys after The Great Baby Registry Excursion of ’13, and as I’d been meaning to blog about these since our last trip to LA in the Fashion District where bacon wrapped hot dogs are a traditional part of the shopping experience, I figured, why not blog about it now?
We first discovered LA style bacon wrapped hot dogs two years ago while dressed as Hatsune Miku and Kaito at Anime Expo for Mikunopolis. Which is kind of hilarious because I saw this really dumb commercial a couple weeks later. Now I amorously shriek, “Bacon wrapped hot dog” in that annoying voice at poor unsuspecting street vendors whenever I’m in town.
The magical moment that will forever live in our memories as the first time we saw Hatsune Miku in concert AND first consumed an LA bacon wrapped hot dog, within hours of each other. Sheer bliss.
Bacon wrapped hot dogs have become the sole proprietary food of Los Angeles, California. This is a greasy, gluttonous, American culinary treasure that must be experienced at least once in a lifetime. It’s crawling its way up there with deep dish pizza and apple pie. Apparently these bad boys have their roots further south into Baja California / Mexico where they are known as “danger dogs” (from the danger of contracting herpes or AIDs, I’m sure), but like most all-American things, we’ve taken them for our own and now they’re all stars and stripes, baby.
Bacon wrapped hot dogs are usually found being peddled by unlicensed vendors who break at least 50+ health codes while frying the dogs on foil-wrapped cookie sheets strapped over a mini camping propane tank. Anyone who thinks I’m a culinary snob has never seen the degree of lust I’ve displayed whilst assaulting the greasiest, grungiest cart I can find while prowling along nose-first through the streets of Los Angeles for the scent of frying bacon.
Every cart is slightly different in how they top the dogs. But in our experience here’s the basics:
You Will Need:
Hot dog buns
Green and Red Bell Peppers
1. Wrap the bacon around the hot dogs.
Again, this is so self-explanatory that it’s kind of painful to write. The only tips I can give here is that the bacon slices must be thin, or they’ll cook right off the hot dog. And while vendors usually sell the dollar store variety cheap hot dogs, we’ll splurge on polish dogs or andouille style dogs, or whatever strikes our fancy.
2. Prepare your toppings.
Thinly slice the onion and bell peppers and get them sautéing right away. You want to emulate the cooking-all-day-on-a-greasy-surface feel of the originals. Usually the vendors add the veggies onto the makeshift grill in rolling batches so that half of the onions are burnt to a tasty crisp, and the rest are in varying degrees of caramelized doneness. When making the veggies at home, we usually add a sprinkle of sugar to speed the caramelization up and add a touch of sweetness.
Next, chop the tomatoes and cilantro to make an al fresco salsa. (Or, you can do what we do and cheat and just use premade salsa.) Then chop, or slice the avocado. Again, this is all preference since it varies from cart to cart.
If you’re not a sissy pants, throw a couple of jalapenos on the grill to blister the skin and use them as topping on the dogs. Or mince them up and throw them into the salsa.
3. Cook the bacon wrapped hot dogs on a grill.
Toss a tiny bit of oil on a grill and get those tasty bad boys cooking. Be careful to rotate them in such a way that you’re not unrolling the bacon as they cook. Ever try to reroll sizzling hot bacon soaking in grease while it’s still on the grill? Yeah, not fun. The key here is to cook the crap out of the dogs. Vendors usually err on the side of cooking the bacon to a near char, so when it’s taking on a beautiful black shading, it’s probably done. Vendors rarely grill or warm the hot dog buns, but when you’re making them at home, why the hell not? Mmmm, toasty buns.
4. Build your bacon wrapped hot dog masterpiece.
Combine the bacon wrapped hot dogs and your toppings (at home, Jonathan uses BBQ sauce on his dogs, the fiend) and then inhale your culinary chef-d’oeuvre.
Once you try it, you’ll be hooked. Trust me.