Monday, October 3, 2011

Cheap Bastid Does Sonoran Hot Dogs

I love Coney Dogs—a hot dog swimming in an ooze of chili. And I love Chicago Dogs—a concoction that’s a salad on a dog complete with iridescent green relish. But now, I lust after Sonoran Dogs.

What makes them so different from other “Dogs”? One word: bacon. Yes, bacon. Visualize a hot dog wrapped in crispy bacon, just waiting to be slathered with a host of toppings that will create a fiesta in your tastebuds. Wow! You’re going to like these.

The Tucson Citizen described Sonoran Hot Dogs as being “like a chili dog on steroids”. I disagree. I think they’re more like a Chicago Dog in afterburner.

Now, I don’t know where I came across these, but Sonoran Hot Dogs rule in Tucson and Phoenix and they’re making inroads here in San Diego and in L.A. They first appeared in the Sonoran capital of Hermosillo in the 60’s and erupted across the border in the 80’s. Now, they’re a staple of lunch-time and bar-closing time in the Southwest.

I’m doing the Cheap Bastid version of this recipe and find that I can get 90% of the taste for 60% of the cost. I’ll throw in the elements that make it pricier and more “up-scale” later.

So on Saturday Mrs. CB got a text from Miss Meggie that she wouldn’t be having dinner with us so we figured we were on our own with my newest concoction until she pulled up in the driveway and into the apartment at 6.

“So are you home for dinner?” Mrs. CB asked.
“What are you fixing?” Miss Meggie asked me (she knows who the cook is).
“Well, I doing Sonoran Hot Dogs. They’ve got salsa and beans and…” but she had quit listening, like 22 year olds do to old folks. “…and they’re hot dogs wrapped in bacon…”

Her eyes lit up at those 3 key words—hot dogs bacon. That was enough for her to become a willing participant in Cheap Bastid’s latest experiment. How about you? Here it is:

Cheap Bastid’s Sonoran Hot Dogs
• 1 package hot dogs
• 8 slices thin cut bacon
• 1 package hot dog buns
• 1 can refried beans
• 1 recipe Cheap Bastid’s Pico de Gallo
• ½ cup Mayonnaise or “salad dressing”
• Chipotle or cayenne
• Mustard
• Shredded cheese (your choice—jack, cheddar, mozzarella, blend, etc.)

Take out a skillet and put on the stove. Wrap the bacon around each hot dog (use shorter dogs so the slice of bacon thoroughly wraps around it). Take the mayo and add the chipotle/cayenne to it and mix thoroughly. How much chipotle or cayenne? Enough! To taste! Bear in mind, that as it sits, it’ll get hotter so start with a little, sample, add more, stir again, sample, etc. until it’s the way you want it.

Open the can of refried beans, put into a microwave dish and zap on high for 2- 2 ½ minutes until it’s hot—or put it in a sauce pan on the stove.

Get everything arranged for fixing the dogs—plates, bowls of pico de gallo, cheese, etc. so people can fix their own. Now turn the stove on to medium and put the dogs in the pan (see, do all this other stuff first because you’re going to want to pay attention to the bacon wrapped dogs as it cooks and keep giving them quarter turns so they brown and cook evenly.

When done, remove the dogs from the pan and put on a platter with a doubled over paper towel on it to absorb the bacon fat.

Assemble: Take bun and slather some beans on the bottom. Then drop the dog in. Put a line of mustard on the side and then top with the mayo mix, pico de gallo and cheese. Now you’re ready to really enjoy a taste treat.

Imagine, biting through this concoction! The flavors and textures explode in your mouth! There’s crunch from the fresh pico de gallo, there’s softness from the cheese, there’s tang from the mayo and heat from the spices. Then there’s more crunch of bacon followed by the meat of the dog with the taste and texture of the refried beans putting the finishing touches on the bite you just took. Oh man! This is good!

Now, you’ve just had the Cheap Bastid version. There’s other versions of this as well. Some call for freshly cooked pinto beans, others for a can of rinsed pinto beans. I used my Cheap Bastid “ends and pieces” bacon—which didn’t work as well because it’s thick cut. You might want to go with thin sliced bacon. And, most recipes called for “all beef” hot dogs. My problem with that is if I’m going to spend $4-$5 a pound on beef, it’s not going to be a hot dog! That’s how much all-beef dogs cost now.

Some people add guacamole which is fine but CB just isn’t a guacamole lover. And I left out the mustard the other night and a hint of mustard on these would make a big difference—with that hint of vinegary tang to add to the dog and re-frieds. Plus you can also add a fresh-roasted or even jarred pepper to the side (just like on a Chicago dog) for extra taste and texture.
Bolillo rolls are often used for these, adding authenticity and a more upscale taste and texture. If you want to do that, slice a “pocket” in them—don’t cut end to end like a hot dog bun. This will take the Sonoran Dog up a notch. And last but not least—next time I’ll use toothpicks at each end of the dog to hold the bacon in place while it cooks and then pull them out when I finish the dogs.

The Cheap Bastid Test: So how’d I do? Let’s see, the dogs were bought on sale at $.75 a package. The Pico de Gallo cost me about $1.50 and I used half a recipe so it was $.75. The re-fried beans were on special for $.89 a can. The buns were $1 at the dollar store. And I spent $2 on a pound of bacon and used, let’s say ¾ lb so the cost was $1.50. What’s the total for 6 Sonoran Dogs that provide dinner for 3? If my arithmetic is right: $4.89 or $.81 per dog. That’s pretty cheap!

That’s the Cheap Bastid Way: Eat Good. Eat Cheap. Be Grateful!

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