Balsamic Hot Dog and Sour Cherry Jalapeños Wrapped in Bacon
12-14 medium-size jalapeños
24-28 slices of bacon (not thick-cut)
2 jumbo Vienna Beef hot dogs
3 oz dried sour cherries
3 oz Oaxaca cheese (or other mild cheese, like mozzarella)
4 T balsamic vinegar
1 oz green onion, minced
Cut the hot dogs into 3/8-inch dice. Add the vinegar and marinate for an hour, stirring every 10 minutes or so. Heat a tablespoon of cooking oil in a sautee pan over medium heat, add the hot dogs and vinegar, and sautee for four or five minutes, unitl the hot dog has started to brown and the vinegar has thickened a bit.
Cut the stem ends off the jalapeños and scrape out the seeds and ribs with a paring knife (a plastic knife works well too). Tap the pepper on your work surface to remove the seeds and rib material. Chop the cherries into 3/8-inch dice and the cheese into 1/4-inch strips about the length of the peppers. Mix the cherries, cooked hot dog, thickened vinegar, and green onion in a small bowl.
Place two or three strips of cheese in each hollowed-out jalapeño pepper. If they're too long, cut them so that they're not sticking out of the peppers. Place a small amount of filling in one of the peppers over the strips of cheese, then use your finger to push it all the way to the bottom of the pepper. Add more filling in small amounts, pushing down after each addition, until the pepper is full and fairly tightly packed. Repeat until all the pepper are filled.
Lay out raw bacon strips on a sheet pan or work surface about four inches apart. Place a pepper, cut side down, in the center of one of the bacon strips. Pull one end over the pepper and wrap it over the pointy end of the pepper, then pull the other end of the bacon over that. You should now have the whole ppper wrapped lengthwise with the bacon strip. Turn the pepper on its side onto another piece of bacon and roll it sideways and at a slight angle so that the strip covers all or most of the pepper. Repeat with the remaining peppers.
Smoke the peppers (Sorkin uses applewood) at about 325 degrees for 45 minutes, or until the bacon is done. If you are unable to smoke them, you can cook them in the oven. Note: if the bacon gets too crisp, it will crumble when you eat the peppers.
Remove from the smoker or oven and let rest ten minutes before serving.