With barbecue season in full swing, hot dogs are having their time in the sun. Don’t get us wrong: A charred hot dog smeared with ketchup or mustard is tasty, but you’ve likely served or eaten this at every cookout this summer. To liven up ordinary hot dogs, we decided to step outside of the box instead of just topping them with more condiments. Our favorite way to add a twist to hot dogs? By wrapping each one in bacon and cooking them in the air fryer. These two tweaks give the hot dogs a smoky flavor and crunchy texture that doesn’t require firing up the grill. Here’s how to make bacon-wrapped hot dogs in the air fryer to take this summer classic to the next level:
Why bacon and hot dogs are the perfect pairing
Bacon and hot dogs have more in common than you think. Sure, they come from different cuts of meat, as Jason Savard, head butcher at the Walden Local Butcher Shop, explains: “Unlike bacon, which is made from whole muscle [ie, pork belly], hot dogs are made from the excess trimmings and ends of whole muscles [from beef or a beef/pork mix] that are then seasoned and stuffed into links.”
Both are packed with flavor, and together, they create an irresistible flavor combo. How does this happen? The bacon acts a seasoned barrier that prevents the hot dog casing from drying out while also adding a touch of saltiness and smokiness. Because the bacon seals in the meat’s juices — and just tastes great on its own — the end result is a mouthwateringly delicious concoction that will dazzle your friends and family.
Why air-frying is key to bacon-wrapped success
Bacon-wrapped hot dogs are best cooked in the air fryer rather than on the grill as the appliance’s circulating heat cooks bacon more evenly. This allows the bacon to become ultra crunchy without the risk of it burning or fat drippings causing a grill flare-up.
3 keys to ensuring delicious bacon-wrapped hot dogs
For juicy results, you’ll want to ensure the bacon stays on the hot dog and that the entire piece of meat is cooked properly. To do this, follow the three steps below to make the tastiest bacon-wrapped hot dogs in your air fryer:
- Poke holes in the bacon slices. Use a toothpick to poke holes in the bacon. As the meat sizzles in the air fryer basket, the fat will drain away, ensuring non-greasy dogs.
- Microwave the bacon. Celebrity chef Sandra Lee suggests microwaving the bacon beforehand to secure the slippery pork around the franks. She says to “put the bacon in the microwave for just a minute” as it makes it pliable enough to wrap around the dogs.
- Cook the hot dogs to the right temperature. Keep an eye on the hot dogs as they’re cooking so they don’t burn or dry out in the air fryer. Savard recommends cooking hot dogs until they reach an internal temperature of 165°F. (Note: Cook times may vary depending on the thickness of your hot dog and the air fryer’s temperature.)
2 bacon-wrapped-hot-dog recipes for the air fryer
Whipping up bacon-wrapped hot dogs is a breeze, and the options for condiments to top them with are endless. Start with the recipes and flavor ideas below to get inspiration for making your own version of bacon-wrapped hot dogs in the air fryer!
Classic Bacon-Wrapped Hot Dogs
- 2 medium onions, sliced
- 1 Tbs. olive oil
- 2 Tbs. whole grain mustard
- 2 Tbs. mayonnaise
- 6 thick slices bacon, with tiny holes poked
- 6 all-beef hot dogs
- 6 hot dog buns, split and toasted
- 2 scallions, sliced
- Active: 15 mins
- Total time: 40 mins
- Yield: 8 servings
- In skillet over medium heat, cook onions in oil about 15 minutes or until golden, stirring often. Season well. Combine mustard and mayo.
- Preheat air fryer to 350°F.
- Microwave bacon between paper towels on microwave-safe plate 1 minutes. Wrap bacon around hot dogs, placing toothpick at each end of bacon. Place on hot dogs on air fryer basket. (Note: If all hot dogs don’t fit at once, cook in batches)
- Air fry approximately 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown and internal temperature reaches 165°F. Remove toothpicks.
- Spread buns with mustard mixture. Top with dogs, sautéed onions and scallions.
Buffalo BLT Franks
Consider this recipe to be like three favorites in one: the flavor of Buffalo wing sauce, the crispiness of a BLT and an old-fashioned hot dog.
- 8 hot dogs
- 8 bacon slices, with tiny holes poked
- ¼ cup (mild or hot) Buffalo wing sauce
- 2 Tbs. spicy brown mustard
- 1 Tbs. honey
- 8 hot dogs buns, toasted
- Toppings: lettuce leaves and tomato slices
- Active: 10 mins
- Total time: 40 mins
- Yield: 8 servings
- Preheat air fryer to 350°F.
- Place bacon slices between paper towels on microwave-safe plate and microwave 1 minute. Next, wrap 1 bacon slice around each hot dog, securing ends with toothpicks. Place on hot dogs on air fryer basket. (Note: Cook in batches if all hot dogs don’t fit on basket.)
- Air fry approximately 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown and internal temperature reaches 165°F. Remove toothpicks and let cool 1 to 2 minutes.
- Meanwhile, mix Buffalo wing sauce, spicy brown mustard and honey until combined.
- Fill sliced hot dog buns with torn lettuce leaves and thinly sliced tomato, top with hot dogs and drizzle with wing sauce.
5 Additional Flavor Ideas for Bacon-Wrapped Hot Dogs
To infuse your cooked bacon-wrapped hot dogs with even more flavor, try these five variations:
- Chili cheese bacon-wrapped hot dogs: For extra heartiness, top the hot dogs with beef or veggie chili, grated cheddar cheese, diced raw onions and yellow mustard.
- Coleslaw bacon-wrapped hot dogs: Topping the hot dogs with homemade coleslaw may sound odd, but it provides them with a creamy and tangy flavor and added crunchiness.
- Salsa and guacamole bacon-wrapped hot dogs: Adding a spoonful of zesty salsa and creamy guacamole to each hot dog balances the fattiness from the meat.
- Grilled pineapple bacon-wrapped hot dogs: For sweet and salty hot dogs, top the cooked meat with diced grilled pineapple, made in a grill pan or on the BBQ. (Read our story on how to grill pineapple for tips on achieving perfectly caramelized fruit.)
- Spicy bacon-wrapped hot dogs: If you enjoy heat, top each hot dog with fresh or pickled jalapeño slices. Alternatively, you can drizzle your favorite hot sauce onto the hot dogs for a spicy kick. One to try: Traeger Original Hot Sauce (Buy from Traeger.com, $11.99)
Want to have more fun upgrading some cookout classics? Check out the stories below:
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