The All-Ameri... er, Mexican Hot Dog


Has one of the country's most iconic foods become as American as. . . tacos al carbon? In a word, yes. Clean Plate Charlie was scanning the NY Times food section a couple weeks back and came across this piece by John T. Edge, a real scholar of American and Southern cookery and an awfully nice guy to boot. 

It was all about the Mexican (or Sonoran) hot dog, a bacon-wrapped wiener slathered with typically Mexican accouterments that's sold out of street carts and cafes throughout the American Southwest. No one's really sure who first came up with the idea or why Mexican cooks (and eaters) took it up, but adding bacon to anything can only be an excellent idea.

Along with bacon the usual garnishes are pinto beans (whole, not refried), chopped tomato and onion, jalapeno sauce, mayo, and mustard; though other variations include radishes, cucumbers, guacamole, and even crushed potato chips. The roll is usually a bolillo roll, a soft Mexican roll that's split down the middle but left connected at the ends so it forms a sort of hot dog boat. 

The more Charlie thought about it, the better it sounded.
So he gathered up all the necessary ingredients and got cooking. The result was damn tasty, and a lot more interesting than your regular boring old hot dog. The bacon fuses onto the dog, adding a nice smoky flavor and a bit of crunch. The beans add heft, and the tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, mayo, and mustard each deliver their own fresh, piquant hit. They also make for a pretty filling dog; a couple of these puppies should put the bite on all but the biggest appetites. 

It's not like you need a recipe for these, but here's what Charlie did. Not having quick access to bolillo rolls, he used a plain Public roll and it seemed to work fine. Any old dog will do, but thin-cut bacon works better than thick. Just wrap a slice around the dog (it will stick all by itself, though you can affix it with toothpicks), then sauté or grill it over medium-low heat to fully cook-crisp the bacon without burning it and warm the dog. Beans out of a can are okay, though Charlie made his own, and not having jalapeno sauce he substituted sliced pickled jalapenos. And because he did have some hanging around he added a bit of queso fresco.

Assembly is easy. Heat the roll so it becomes pliable, add the beans (and cheese if you're using it), drop in the dog, slather with mayo and yellow mustard, sprinkle with tomatoes, onions, chilies and whatever else you figure will taste good, then snarf it up. (If you want to get the swell squiggles of mustard and mayo like in the photo, use a squirt bottle or cut the tip off a plastic baggie and make it into an impromptu pastry bag. And don't forget to thin out the mayo with a little milk or water.) 

Mexican hot dogs. Is this a great country or what?

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