I’ll never forget the first time I ordered a hot dog from a street vendor in Mexico, using what at the time was the kind of barely rudimentary Spanish that one only achieves by being truant for the majority of their high school foreign language classes.
I knew I wanted mustard, and “mostaza” was simple enough. Steeling my courage, I tried to explain to the hotdoguero that I also wanted “Salsa tipico, no perdon, es una salsa suizo, pero sin trozos, es una salsa de tomate,” which very loosely (and poorly) translates to, “Regular sauce, no, I’m sorry, it’s a sauce that’s smooth, but without chunks, it’s a sauce made with tomato.” I mean, how do you describe ketchup to someone that may not have ever heard of it? I didn’t know they were eating ketchup in Mexico. I didn’t know much of anything. The mustachioed vendor, stained white apron, forehead sweaty from the heat of the wagon and the evening 100-plus degree heat, looked me up and down, blinked a couple of times, and clarified (in English): “Ketchup?”
South of the border, those guys are working with the humble hot dog on a whole different level. Present someone in Mexico with a typical boiled, unadorned New York “dirty water” hot dog, and you’re likely to be met with the same vaguely disappointed, sad response you would get from a kid who just saw a cupcake without frosting for the first time.
That’s because in Mexico (and particularly in the state of Sonora), encased meat tubes are just the beginning, in a culture that approaches hot dogs with a decided “more is more” attitude. They’re but a vehicle for so much in the way of additional toppings. Larger, more substantial bollilo rolls replace the typical hot dog roll, allowing for more structure to contain everything else that follows; minimally, that’s a bacon-wrapped hot dog, topped with refried beans, onions, tomatoes, mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, and jalapeños.
Our version combines our love of Mexican-style hot dogs with our love for another customary dish among street vendors: Elote, roasted ears of feed corn slathered with mayonnaise, chili powder, and cotija cheese. Use fresh sweet corn, if you can; just boil it up and cut it off the cob, before tossing with mayonnaise, butter, chipotle chili powder, and cotija or crumbled feta cheese.
Frozen corn also works in a pinch, though it can get a little bit mushy by the time you’ve put a good char on it.
You can cook your bacon-wrapped hot dogs any way you’d like, although in a skillet, you often end up with bacon that’s not uniformly cooked, and spends the entire cooking time trying to unravel itself from your hot dog. I think it’s much easier to pierce the hot dog with a fork a few times, wrap it in bacon, and cook it on a baking rack set atop a baking sheet (so the heat flows evenly all around the outside) in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes.
Bacon-Wrapped Mexican Hot Dogs with Street Corn Salsa
- 1 avocado, pitted and peeled
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1 pinch salt
- 4 ears sweet corn
- 1 tsp mayonnaise
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1/4 cup crumbled cotija or feta cheese
- Ground chipotle pepper, to taste
- 4 hot dogs
- 4 strips bacon
- 4 hot dog buns
- 1 14oz can refried beans
- 1 jalapeno, sliced
- 1 tomato, chopped
- 1 bunch cilantro, stemmed and chopped
- Hot sauce, (Optional)
For the Avocado Crema
For the Street Corn Salsa:
For the Hot Dogs:
- Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor, and blend until completely smooth. Thin with water or milk as needed, and transfer to a squeeze bottle.
- Cook corn by boiling in water until kernels become tender. Transfer to a cutting board, and carefully cut kernels from cobs. Transfer cut corn kernels to a bowl. Add mayonnaise, butter, ground chipotle to taste, and cotija (or feta). Toss and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pierce each hot dog several times with a fork, then wrap each hot dog with a slice of bacon. Arrange on a baking rack, set on top of a baking sheet. Bake uncovered, until bacon is cooked through, approximately 20-24 minutes.
- Add refried beans to a saucepan over medium heat. Add water and stir, until beans are heated through and a spreadable consistency.
- To assemble hot dogs: Spread the inside of each bun with the refried bean mixture. Add a hot dog, then top with Street Corn Salsa, chopped tomato, sliced jalapeño, Avocado Crema, cilantro, and additional hot sauce, if desired.