This recipe right here is why Twitter is so magical. One night I was messing around on it and I noticed that one of my twitter buddies Joe posted a photo of some smoked bacon wrapped onion rings. I have never even considered such a marvelous idea. I went to his blog MmmGoBluBBQ.com and I saw his version of these amazing treats. This immediately went to the top of my to-do list. Today I'm going to show you my take on this amazing appetizer. I added spicy sriracha hot sauce and make a spicy mayo dipping sauce. I could only imagine how amazing these would be at a tailgate and it for sure rivals one of the best smoked appetizers ever - the smoked stuffed jalapeno pepper. Yeah, these are that good!
Quick note: This dipping sauce also doubles as an amazing sriracha mayo burger sauce! Check this out!
One of the most beautiful things about this recipe is that it only has a few ingredients. I decided to be crazy and make a dipping sauce for it but to be honest these are so good you can easily eat them by themselves. Bacon, sweet onions, pepper and sriracha hot sauce (or any other hot sauce you like) is really all you need.
Sweet onions are a must for this recipe. They are such tasty and mild onions. The first thing you do is cut the onion in half until you get roughly 1/2 inch tall rings. Be careful doing this as you want to keep the onion completely together or else it will fall apart on the grill or smoker. Cut up a bunch of them and then pop the middles out of the onion ring. You'll want to leave about 2 "rings" of onion on each one. This provides some stability but at the same time isn't too hard to bite through.
I was thinking of ways to flavor the onion prior to wrapping it in bacon and I wanted to do something with hot sauce. The problem is that most hot sauces are rather runny and I assumed these sauces would drip right off the onion and barely be noticeable. Sriracha hot sauce, on the other hand, is thick so I knew it would stay on the onion the whole time. Brush that hot sauce on thick.
See how the sauce sticks right to the onion?
The next step is to take full slices of bacon and wrap them around the onion ring. I found that for most onion rings I needed 3, yes THREE, slices of bacon to make it all the way around. Once you are done use a long skewer or toothpick to keep things nice and tight. This also lets you grab them off the smoker with tongs without messing up the onion ring.
If you are using a charcoal grill you can do this via indirect heat and some smoke wood on top of the coals. Aim for 250-350 degrees F and grill the onions rings for about 90 minutes. Today, I was using my Ugly Drum Smoker so I loaded the grate with bacon wrapped onion rings and let it go for about 90 minutes at about 280 degrees F. You'll know they are done when the bacon looks nicely cooked. We all know what cooked bacon looks like! The only catch here is that the longer these onion rings cook, the softer the internal onion will be. So gauge your temperature and time accordingly and don't worry if they are taking longer than 90 minutes, just keep an eye on the bacon from overcooking. In other words, don't think that a quicker high heat will produce just as good of an onion ring. The inside onion won't be nearly as tender. I bet these onion rings can also work in a normal home oven, you just wouldn't have the smoky flavor.
Right at the 90 minute mark I opened up the smoker to check these guys out and they were perfectly done. It smelled amazing. As I ran inside to get a plate I thought that I might be able to pull of a quick off-the-cuff sriracha mayo that could be a perfect dipping sauce. I eye balled 2 tablespoons of mayo into a small bowl, 1 tablespoon of sriracha hot sauce and about 1 teaspoon of lime juice. Mix it all up and there you go. It's that easy!
We met up with fellow blogger Frank from Culinary Lion to make his Cajun BBQ Sausage Bites. Between his sausage bites and my bbq onion rings we were the talk of the tailgate. Nobody went home hungry that's for sure and everyone had to get the recipe.