29 January 2010
Retro Tastes - Bourbon Cocktail Wieners
When I was married, some thirty years ago, I received a local cookbook, "Come Cook With Us," from a neighbor and long time family friend. Our neighbor had at least one recipe published in it which she proudly signed her name beside.
This local cookbood, despite it's tight plastic binding that allows pages to slip out, it's lack of pictures and it's overly absorbant pages, has been the source of a number of my family's favorite recipes over the years.
It includes a recipe for the Kentucky Chili I recently posted about. It also has a good collection of old fashioned recipes for simple appetizers like sausage balls, stuffed mushrooms and cheese balls. Perhaps our very favorite is this recipe for bourbon sauced cocktail dogs.
In some ways it is an unlikely favorite. It begins with a fairly common recipe for cocktail wieners in barbecue sauce and takes it up a notch with the addition of a good sized splash of bourbon. The sauce cooks and bubbles as the cocktail dogs plump in the sauce and the flavors meld and mellow as most of the alcohol evaporates.
Maybe it is the allure of the bourbon which they would not normally be allowed to taste or maybe the natural affiliation of kids and hotdogs, à la those Oscar Meyer commercials of old, but my children have always, and still do, love this recipe. It is the one food that MUST be served at holiday gatherings. Making this recipe is possibly the most anticipated event when we get home from church on Christmas Eve. My oldest son chops a little onion while my daughter gathers the brown sugar, bourbon and catsup and my youngest son puts the pot on the stove to combine the ingredients.
There is a particular and rather ancient Westbend Cooker Plus I also received as a wedding present. It is a sort of adaptable slow cooker that also serves as a chafing dish to keep the hotdogs hot throughout the evening, though we generally have to make a double batch to make sure there are enough to actually put in the chafing dish. Many of the Bourbon Wieners do not make it past the initial tasting while they are still simmering on the stove.
While we first made these as a Christmas treat, as was suggested in the cookbook, they are equally perfect for celebrating the 4th of July or feeding a crowd at a Superbowl party. The recipe is simple and the flavors blend nicely. The cookbook also suggests that any leftover sauce can be frozen and reused later. You gotta love those thrifty homemakers of an earlier generation. They didn't waste a thing.
Adapted from “Come Cook With Us”
1 large package of cocktail dogs (I use Little Smokies)
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup catsup
½ cup bourbon whiskey
¼ cup onion, finely chopped
In a medium saucepan, combine the brown sugar, catsup, whiskey and onion. Bring to a boil.
Turn down the heat to a simmer and add the cocktail dogs.
Simmer for thirty minutes or until the dogs look plump and the sauce thickens.
Serve and enjoy!