A No Budget Cooking Series pledge has been to review simple recipes that don’t induce Pinterest fails. This recipe for a bacon-wrapped hot dog topped by crispy onions, barbecue sauce and nacho cheese breaks that promise — but not without a few good reasons.
First, even though it’s messy, it is dang tasty. (You did see bacon and nacho cheese are involved, right?)
Second, it’s my lead-in to telling you that you could garner a moderate amount of fame and win four tickets to a Wisconsin Timber Rattlers game through the team’s annual Fans’ Choice Food Fight contest.
Before getting into the contest details, let’s take a swing at this 2017 Timber Rattlers Food Fight champ.
4 hot dogs
8 slices of bacon
4 ounces nacho cheese
4 to 8 ounces crispy onion straws or raw onions
4 ounces barbecue sauce
4 pretzel hot dog buns
Butter, for toasting buns (optional)
Heat oven to 400 F.
Line rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and set a wire rack on top.
Wrap each hot dog with two pieces of bacon. Place wrapped hot dogs on the wire rack. Bake 20 to 30 minutes or until bacon reaches desired crispiness.
Slice buns. Butter and toast if desired.
Heat nacho cheese just before assembling.
Place bacon-wrapped hot dog in bun. Top with nacho cheese, crispy onions and barbecue sauce.
(Recipe from Wisconsin Timber Rattlers)
TASTING NOTES: Delicious. Dangerously so.
EQUIPMENT: Rimmed baking sheet, wire rack, bread knife, spoon and microwave safe bowl. If you want to cook the bacon and hot dogs separately and then wrap it, add the necessary pots and pans to the list. There’s no need to measure exact ounces of nacho cheese, barbecue sauce and fried onions. Those measurements are a reference to make sure you buy large enough quantities while shopping.
PRACTICALITY: Minimal dishes, short and simple ingredient list and common kitchen equipment make this look like an easy recipe. Wrapping the hot dog in bacon and keeping fried onion pieces from falling off requires some concentration and might be frustrating if rushed — which may make it NSFW (Not Safe For Worknight) meals.
That’s not a bad thing. A hot dog wrapped in bacon and topped with nacho cheese shouldn’t be a regular in a menu lineup. The Dinger Dog is best used as a pinch hitter for special occasions when you have time to fiddle with the presentation. Like, say, opening day of the baseball season.
COST: $12 to $15. Prices may vary more depending on your choice of hot dogs and bacon.
HACKS/INSIGHTS: I tried two methods for wrapping the hot dogs in bacon. One was to cook the bacon until done but not crisp, then panfry the hot dogs as the bacon cooled and wrap each cooked hot dog before assembling. I struggled to wrap the bacon evenly around the hot dogs.
I liked wrapping the hot dogs in bacon then baking in the oven (as stated in the instructions). If following this method, go big on the dogs but not the bacon. I used Cher-Make’s Big W Dog, which weigh in at nearly 3 ounces each. Bigger hot dogs fill out pretzel buns better and are less likely to split before the bacon fully cooks. I used regular cut bacon and still had plenty of smoky pork flavor in each bite.
The toasted bun is a nice touch, but not necessary. If you want to skip this step to save on cleaning extra dishes, nobody’s going to complain.
Order matters when building these dogs. Cover the hot dog in nacho cheese, then top with onions and barbecue sauce. Without the cheese to hold them in place, the fried onion bits scatter and create more a mess than necessary.
Oh, this is a multiple napkin food no matter how you stack it. It’s worth it, just be prepared.
Timber Rattlers Fans’ Choice Food Fight
What: Submit an idea for a new food to be served at Fox Cities Stadium during Wisconsin Timber Rattlers home games this season. The winning food will be on the Fox Club menu and a concession stand.
What’s in it for me: The winner gets four voucher tickets to use at a 2021 home game and four vouchers for the food item.
When: Submissions will be taken from Wednesday through March 26.
How it works: Five finalists selected by the Timber Rattlers culinary team will be announced April 2. Online voting through April 11 decides the winning food. The winner will be announced on April 12 during a live stream on USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin websites and Facebook pages.
Past winners: This is the sixth annual Food Fight contest. If you’re looking for inspiration or insights to improve your odds of winning think bacon, bratwurst and cheese.
- Grilled Cheese Chicken Sandwich: Grilled sandwich of chicken tenders, bacon and American cheese served with lettuce, tomato and onion and a side of Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce.
- Dinger Dog: Bacon wrapped hot dog with nacho cheese sauce, crispy fried onion strings and Mad Dog & Merrill #One BBQ sauce served on a toasted pretzel bun.
- Rattler Bites: Chopped bratwurst, cream cheese and sauerkraut deep-fried wontons.
- The Almighty Pork Sandwich: Grilled brat cut in half, topped by BBQ pulled pork, Swiss cheese, peppered bacon, red pepper jelly, and fried pickles served on an onion roll.
- Buffalo Chicken Egg Rolls: shredded chicken, Buffalo wing sauce and cheese stuffed in an egg roll wrapper and deep fried. Served with ranch dipping sauce. This was the 2020 winner, but since the season got cancelled, 2021 will be its rookie season on the game day menu.
ASK ME CULINARY QUESTIONS OR TEACH ME YOUR RECIPES: Please keep sending your questions, feedback and recipes you’d like reviewed. I’m always happy to consider a favorite family recipe for the No Budget Cooking Series.
ABOUT THIS SERIES: I test recipes found on food packages in my very average kitchen with my moderately above average cooking talent and meh presentation skills. I’ll provide some insights and basic cooking tips. If you don’t find these stories useful, hopefully you find them entertaining.