Like complementary colors from opposite sides of the spectrum, salty and sweet flavors together make a dish greater than the sum of its parts. A complex chemical reaction inside your mouth can explain the phenomenon, but you don't need a science degree to take advantage of it.
You use this observation when you add salt to a cake batter or sprinkle it on a not-quite-ripe melon. 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.
- 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 weiners or another favorite smoked sausage for the hot dogs.