Like complementary colors from opposite sides of the spectrum, salty and sweet flavors together can make a dish greater than the sum of its parts. A complicated chemical reaction inside your mouth can explain the phenomenon, but you don't need a science degree to take advantage of the taste. It's an age-old trick; you add salt to your cake batter or a not-quite-ripe melon, and a complex sweetness develops on your palate.
Similarly, the seemingly incongruous mating of hot dogs, bacon, and brown sugar in your slow cooker produces a candied crunch that's neither fully sweet nor fully salty, but an entirely delicious fusion of flavors. Serve this easy appetizer at your next party and watch your guests fall in love.
- 20 hot dogs (cut in thirds)
- 20 slices bacon (uncooked and cut in thirds)
- 3/4 cup brown sugar (or less, to taste)
Wrap a piece of bacon around each piece of hot dog and secure it with a toothpick.
Put one layer of bacon-wrapped hot dogs in the bottom of your slow cooker insert and add a generous sprinkling of brown sugar. Repeat with the remaining hot dogs and brown sugar.
Cover and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours or high for 3 to 4 hours.
- Whisk 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper and 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder with the brown sugar before you add it to the slow-cooker crock for a spicy-sweet flavor. Adjust the heat level with more or less garlic and cayenne.
- Dissolve the brown sugar in a 1/2 cup of bourbon and pour it over the hot dogs.
- Reduce the brown sugar to 1/2 cup and add 1/4 maple syrup and 2 tablespoons sriracha or other hot chili sauce to the slow cooker.
- Substitute kielbasa, cocktail wieners or another favorite smoked sausage for the hot dogs.