Since my recent ascension to being a grill warrior I’ve had some realizations. For experienced smokers (on the grill) this will be like a kindergartener declaring the sun sets every day, but for mainstreamers not dealing in the smoking aspect of the grill, perhaps not. Smoking is a great way to cook food while imparting flavor. I always thought it was the art of imparting more flavor while grilling only. Not so. I also thought one needed to own a dedicated smoker to employ this method; also not true. Lastly I thought when using wood on a traditional gas grill, special devices were required; my last ‘not so’ of this post.
I’m not sure where the idea of a stuffed hot dog wrapped in bacon came from but it’s been on my mind for a few weeks now. I’ve been mulling over how to do it so the rendered fat doesn’t set a flame leaving the wieners blackened like S’more-bound marshmallows left unattended over a fire. How to deal with the cheesey stuffing not completely seeping out of the dogs while on the grill (again causing a flare up or exiting the wrapped frankfurter leaving the equivalent of a Cracker Jacks box with no prize).
After some research I landed on a plan that produced the most mouthwatering cheese and jalapeno stuffed hot dogs wrapped in bacon smoked with mesquite wood. Sounds so exotic doesn’t it? And maybe hard to do? And maybe so fatty you could have a coronary just making them? Perhaps ‘yes’ to the first one but easy to make and actually the flavors blend perfectly to leave a flavorful dog that does not taste fatty.
Those with smoking boxes for the grill can certainly use them but for the rest of us, a simple sheet of heavy foil works perfectly. I used a gas grill for mine bringing the grill up to 300 degrees to clean one side where I’d grill the hot dogs and then dialing back to one outside burner set to medium-low to maintain the smoke on the opposite side of the grill. A drip pan or pan made from heavy duty foil placed underneath the grate (on the side of the grill which is not on) addresses any rendered fat from the bacon and drips from cheese seeping from the hot dogs. Extra wood chips are added during the 30 minutes of cooking to keep the smoke going and that’s it. The bacon becomes crisp (though not like when it’s fried in a pan; it’s firm and fully cooked) and I dare say these may become your favorite summer recipe!
Mesquite-Smoked Jalapeno Cheese Bacon-Wrapped Hot Dogs
- 4 100 % All Beef Hot Dogs
- 2 slices of Cheddar Cheese (home cut cheddar slices may be used instead of store-bought)
- A large Jalapeno Pepper , sliced cross-wise slightly thicker than paper-thin, seeds removed
- 8 slices of Thick Bacon
- ½ large Red Onion , cut between the root and top (do not remove the root before grilling), and cut in half (refer to photos)
- Wooden Toothpicks (approximately 4 per hot dog)
- Hot Dog Buns
- Mesquite wood chips
- Foil drip pan to fit under the grate OR a homemade drip pan made from heavy duty foil
- Condiments to your preference
- Heat the gas grill to high until the grill temperature gauge registers temperature to 300 degrees.
Preparing the stuffed Hot Dogs:
- Using a sharp kitchen knife, cut the length of each hot dog almost all the way through (but not). Cut the cheddar slices so that they are the length of the hot dog and stick up over the top only slightly; insert a double layer of the cheese slices. Cut the jalapeno slices in half or thirds to allow the ¼ of the slices to fit between the slices of cheese inside the hot dog.
Wrapping the hot dog with bacon:
- Hold one end of a piece of bacon across one stuffed end of a hot dog. Secure the bacon by inserting a toothpick through the end of the bacon through the hot dog and through the bacon on the opposite side of the hot dog (refer to photos). Holding the bacon strip taut, wrap the bacon slice around the hot dog, slightly overlapping the prior wrap to cover. Insert toothpicks to secure as needed (approximately 4 per hot dog). For a regular size hot dog, two strips of bacon will be required.
- Once at temperature, turn off all burners except one on the outside of the grill (based on a 4 burner grill). Clean the side of the grill with burners off with a wire brush. On this same side, carefully lift the hot grate with grill tools and deposit the drip pan underneath the clean grate. Rub the grate with oil and a folded paper towel.
- Place a piece of heavy duty foil over the ignited burner and add a few handfuls of mesquite wood chip on top of the foil. Once the chips begin to smoke, add the prepared hot dogs to the clean, oiled grill (with burners of) and close the grill. Check the grill periodically, ensuring a 300 degree temperature and adding more mesquite chips as needed to keep the smoke going. Hot dogs will be cooked in 25-30 minutes and will have a golden hue as well as the bacon will become hard (not crisp in the traditionally way). If desired add hot dog buns to the grill for a few minutes to warm and get grill marks.
Grilling the Red Onion:
- After the hot dogs have been smoking for 15 minutes, lightly brush the cut sides of the 2 quarters of the onion and place on the side of the grill with the mesquite chips (over the ignited burner). The root left intact will hold the onion together until after it has grilled. Check frequently, until the onion softens, the color becomes lighter and grill marks appear. Remove after about 10 minutes. Allow the onion to cool until able to be handled, but off the root end and slice to add to the hot dog.