On the morning of July Fourth, I was charging my cell phone and sucking in some a/c at a friend’s house when I saw this awe-inducing concoction on the Today show. I knew immediately that I had to make this for Ross. It’s a meat lover’s fantasy, and Ross loves meat. (Yes, we go from one extreme to the other around here. I have Weston the vegetarian, his girlfriend the vegan, and Ross the extreme meat lover. Morgan is somewhere in the middle, with me.) The chef showcasing this recipe on the Today show was Sunny Anderson, and she was full of cute/fun ideas. She also had popsicles in glasses of wine, which is sooooo simple but a fabulous presentation idea for an outdoor (hot!) party.
First thing Saturday morning, I started fixing the bacon burger dogs and I cooked them for lunch in my “power outage kitchen” over at the studio. The recipe is intended for the grill, but I fried them in a pan in the kitchen and that also worked just fine. (We’re having a heatwave. I wanted to cook inside in my generator-powered air conditioning.) I didn’t have the written recipe. (I hadn’t even gotten my internet hooked up here on the generator yet.) I was just going off my memory of that brief segment on TV, so this is how I made them. You could, of course, use any kind of brats, and any kind of ground meat in this recipe.
Note that the following ingredient quantities will be variable by the size of your brats. If your brats are longer than the ones I was using, you’ll need more ground meat and more bacon to cover them, so adjust accordingly.
How to make Bacon Burger Dogs:
6 beef brats
1 12-ounce beer
approximately 3/4 pound ground sirloin
seasonings of choice
1 pound thin-sliced bacon
Poach the brats in the beer; drain.
(If you’re using pre-cooked brats, you’ll only need to simmer them about five minutes, for the added beer flavor. If you’re using uncooked brats, be sure you’ve cooked the brats completely. The recipe depends on the center of the concoction starting out already cooked through.)
Place the ground meat in a bowl. Add one egg. I realized at this point that I didn’t have any eggs, but I knew where to get some.
Hen at work (in the alleyway of the barn):
Back to the kitchen. Add one egg to the ground meat then add whatever seasonings you like. I added garlic salt and pepper, simple. Mix well. Divide the meat into six equal parts and assemble your construction materials.
I found that one pound of thin-sliced bacon worked out almost exactly right for six brats. You need enough bacon to pretty much cover the brat so that you hold in the ground meat. Thin-sliced bacon will cook faster than thick-sliced, so especially if you’re pan-frying, use thin-sliced. If you’re cooking this on the grill, you might get away with using thick-sliced bacon, but be sure the bacon is cooked all the way through. If you use thick-sliced bacon, you also may need more than one pound because the bacon strips won’t go as far. I used four slices of thin-sliced bacon per brat. From a one-pound package, I had one extra slice, so the last brat was covered in five slices, which isn’t the end of the world.
Place the brat on the bacon. Add one part of the ground meat. I was using probably about three tablespoons of meat per brat.
Shape the ground meat mixture to the brat, wrapping it all the way around.
If you have any of the ground meat mixture left over, just shape up a patty or a meatball etc and wrap for the freezer to use at a later time.
Roll the brat in the bacon strips.
On the show, the chef used kitchen twine to secure the bacon-wrapped concoctions. I used toothpicks, one toothpick per bacon strip. Don’t use colored toothpicks or you will end up with spots of color on your finished brats. The heat of the pan or grill will bring out the dye in the toothpicks.
Yes, that’s Morgan’s feet sticking out of her sleeping bag, still sleeping on the floor of the studio as I was preparing the bacon burger dogs.
At this point, you could stash them in the fridge or even the freezer if you’re preparing ahead for a party. This is a great make-ahead idea for when you don’t have time to do the prep on the day of the event, especially if you’re multiplying the recipe a number of times for a crowd. I tucked them in the fridge for a few hours before cooking them for lunch.
Ross, with his fish koozie: “When will lunch be ready?”
Place the brats in a pan or on the grill, toothpicks up. Hurry up! People have seen your amazing bacon burger dogs now and they’re impatient!
Cook the brats on a medium-low heat. You don’t want to cook them too quickly so that you give plenty of time for the ground meat mixture to cook along with the bacon. Turn on one side.
Turn again to cook on the other side. By the time you’ve cooked it this far, the bacon will be cooked sturdy to its shape. Remove the toothpicks and turn over to finish. (If you use twine, you can just cut it off when the brats are finished.)
You could place these on a bun–that’s what they did on the show–but I pan-fried slices of homemade bread. I slathered both sides of the bread in butter (because after the brats, ground meat, and bacon, we need some butter, don’t we?) sprinkled with garlic salt and parsley. Pan-fry both sides of the bread. Don’t over-fry–you want to leave the bread toasted but still soft.
Place a slice of bread on each plate. Add lettuce. Top with bacon burger dogs and sprinkle some shredded cheese on top. (Because after the brats, ground meat, bacon, and butter, we need some cheese.) To eat, just fold the bread around the bacon burger dog and have at it. If you’re dainty, you can use a fork and knife.
These really qualify for “heart attack on a plate” status, but this is a recipe that has no shame. It bears no pretense. It is what it is.
This was a hit, even with Morgan, who doesn’t usually like anything with bacon. (She doesn’t like pie. She doesn’t like bacon. I don’t know what is wrong with her.)
Some of Weston’s friends dropped by and there was a meat lover amongst them. He had to have one. I fixed him right up.
Just one of these is really filling, but Ross ate two then had the one leftover for breakfast the next day.
I have no doubt I will be making these many times again. You know, between salads, lots of salads, to make up for it!
See this recipe at Farm Bell Recipes and save it to your recipe box:
Bacon Burger Dogs