Cooking Hot Dogs Wrapped in Bacon

by Elizabeth Skipper | August 18th, 2015 | Ask the Chef

hot dogs (400x400)I’ve seen hot dogs wrapped in bacon. I’m wondering how would be the best way to cook them. I want the hot dog to be hot and the bacon to be fully cooked. How do I accomplish this without over- or under- cooking either?

Oh, doesn’t this bring back memories – I haven’t thought of these in years. As a kid, I loved hot dogs done this way, except my mom stuffed them with American cheese before wrapping them in bacon. I don’t eat hot dogs often these days, but I remember this treatment fondly. The only problem with it is that depending on how you cook them, the cheese tends to melt and run out.

If you’re not stuffing them, it’s much easier. Hot dogs themselves are packaged precooked, so they only need to be heated through, not cooked. You can wrap the bacon around them, secure it with a toothpick, and pan fry, broil, or grill them. In all cases, they must be rotated as each surface of the bacon is cooked, so you have to keep an eye on them. By the time the bacon is cooked to your liking, the hot dog will be heated through.

I was curious as to what I’d find (if anything) about the subject in an older cookbook, so I turned to my 1937 edition of the My New Better Homes & Gardens Cook Book. Sure enough, there was a recipe for Stuffed Frankfurters; here it is verbatim:

“Split frankfurters lengthwise, but do not cut thru; fill with Celery Stuffing (the recipe for which is also suitable for stuffing a chicken or turkey), wrap a slice of bacon around each, and fasten with toothpicks. Melt 1 tablespoon fat in baking pan and place frankfurters close together in pan. Bake in hot oven (400-425 degrees) 20 minutes or until bacon is crisp and brown.”

So there’s your easiest method, no rotating required. If you don’t stuff the hot dogs, they’ll probably need a little less time to cook; start checking at 15 minutes. I’ll add that another, slightly more recent, meat cookery book had a number of recipes for hot dogs, some of which called for no further cooking. While this might be safe for some, don’t do if you’re unsure of how they’ve been stored or if you’re serving anyone at increased risk for foodborne illness such as pregnant women or the elderly. The USDA warns that in these cases, always heat hot dogs until steaming hot before eating, because of the threat of listeriosis. 

Oh, and it’s probably a good idea to remove the toothpicks before serving!

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