You might call me an instinctual cook; I’ve always been a very “Cook it ‘til it looks done” kind of guy. But before that sounds like I don’t know what I’m doing, I’m also a very “It takes me this long to make because it comes out amazing” kind of guy. I’m not always as concerned with what the recipe on the box says, as I am with what would make it appealing to me. But I’ve worked in 10 restaurants over 13 years, from fine dining to organic breakfast to burgers & fries. And literally dozens of my friends have foresworn their own mothers’ cooking for my mother’s (no names, protect the witnesses…). So take these loose directions as a guide, use the ideas herein with a smattering of your own interpretation, and look on any recipe with my name on it as the same type of casual advice.
- 1 bag of cocktail franks (I strongly suggest Nathan’s)
- 1/2lb of sliced cheese (I like Boar’s Head American for this)
- 1 package of bacon (Oscar Meyer brand Hickory Maple works)
- 1 canister of crescent rolls (I’ve used Pillsbury and store brand, it’s up to you)
- Condiments as preferred (I like Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ)
You’ll need a cutting board, big cookie sheets, and plates to house the separate ingredients as they’re put together, then one to house the finished product. Ramekins for dipping sauces would be classy as hell. No double-dipping though, not in my house.
Wash your hands.
First, cook all of the bacon. You WILL have leftover bacon. If you can’t abide that eventuality, fine, cook half of it. There’ll be less left over. But if you’re like me, you eat a piece or two right out of the frying pan. Then you offer a piece or two to whoever’s around, because they said “Ooooh that smells amazing! Are you cooking bacon?” and it’s nice to share. Also, bacon is infinitely useful once it’s cooked. Use it tomorrow for a breakfast sandwich, or a turkey club, or a grilled cheese… dude, it’s bacon. (I’ve recently started to cook this quantity of bacon in the oven at 425, you can do a whole bag on 2 large cookie sheets and it takes considerably less time. This does not compromise the quality, but WATCH IT. One minute when you texted somebody about this week’s Walking Dead and it can be overdone and ruined…)
Once the bacon is cooked, and placed gingerly on paper towels to let at least a modicum of grease drip off, wash your hands. Then take a cutting board and your most badass, diesel knife. You’ll want it, processed crescent roll dough is very sticky and very elastic. Open the container of rolls and unroll a rectangle (there should be 2 wraps, containing 2 rectangles a piece; keep the triangles connected as rectangles, but separate each rectangle). Lay it on the board and cut a strip the longest way, about a quarter of an inch thick. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Squish the two sides together when your cutting is bisected by the manufacturer’s separation that makes the triangles (Pillsbury doesn’t know shit about Pigs in a Blanket!). Do this until all, yes all, of the rolls are cut into 1/4inch-thick strips. It takes a while, but you should have 50 or so, I’ve never counted.
Now, once you’ve washed your hands, grab the cheese, the bacon, and the dogs. Surround yourself with what will be a decadent treat, turn on the Super Bowl pre-game show (which runs from a few days ago until kickoff, approx. 2 weeks) and settle in.
If you follow my method, you’ll take a sip of beer, fold a slice of cheese 1/3 of the way, then break off a piece that will fit neatly on a cocktail wiener. Then you’ll take a piece of cooked bacon, break off a piece that fits neatly on the cheese on the cocktail wiener, and place it like so. Take another sip of beer, then take one of the strips of crescent roll, and wind it around your delicious threesome, blanketing them from the harsh elements of your stove. Make certain that there’s enough dough on the bottom of this delightful treat to make it a little seat, because you want the bacon and cheese to be on top. In my experience, you can cover the bacon and cheese and leave only the little ends of the hotdog sticking out; this is ideal. Otherwise your melty cheese will be all over your cookie sheet. You want it in your mouth. If you need to pull apart a strip, to patch holes or elongate a straggler who doesn’t quite wrap around, go for it.
Before you place the first little piggy on the sheet, though, make sure it’s sprayed with Pam or something similar. Even non-stick sheets can be touchy with crescent rolls, especially if some molten cheese manages to escape the swaddling. Repeat the steps like a million times (put cheese on a dog, put bacon on the cheese, wrap it up like the Safety Dance, and put it on the sprayed sheet). Place them about an inch apart, but use your judgment; you want to fit as many as possible on the tray, but don’t want them touching. Maybe now you see why I stressed washing your hands so much; I don’t chop up the bacon or slice the cheese, I break it off by hand specifically for each dog, because they are different sizes. This is SERIOUS SHIT. But if that sounds too menial for you, go ahead and pre-chop the cheese and bacon, no faulting you. But mine have Love as the secret ingredient.
Place your carefully-arrayed soldiers in their formation into the oven as specified on the directions to cook the crescent rolls. Hot dogs just need to be heated up, the bacon’s already cooked, all you need to make these perfect is to cook the swaddling. If you follow the directions, which I believe are 8-10 mins in a pre-heated oven at 375 (but check the label), they should come out phenomenal. Some people like to brown the rolls, some people prefer it doughy, that’s on you. I wait until they’re golden then take them out and let them sit on the sheet for another 5 mins. Voila!
“But Bair, there’s extra [insert ingredient here]!” Wieners on their own can be cooked alongside your Swathed Swine on the cookie sheet. Crescent rolls on their own can as well. But if you have strips left over and no wieners, see what’s left for bacon and/or cheese. Make little danishes, same rules apply; as long as the crescent roll cooks, what’s inside isn’t a big deal. So you can have little cheese danishes or bacon pastries, just wrap them in roll and go! Also, this portion worked out for four grown men this past weekend. We’d also eaten wings, chips & dip, sliders, different sliders, sandwiches, beer… Gauge your group well. You think approximately 50 of these li’l suckers go a long way, but try to limit yourself to five. Just try. Then in a minute grimace as you realize you already stuffed two more into your piehole. Buy as much cheese, as many dogs as you feel like. Unfortunately, in the tradition of hot dogs being too big for buns (heh…), you’ll never calculate the precise amount of each ingredient to expend your resources entirely. But don’t dare be caught with too few, or you’ll have a Super Bowl guest revolt on your hands by halftime.