SQUEAL! Not just yeah, but OH, YEAH, baby! These “crying pig rings” are amazing. And, guess what, you don’t have to gear up and make a big batch (although it’s little mean to keep something this fabulous to yourself, so making lots of them is truly the altruistic thing to do), but because you can cook these in the microwave or oven (as well as the preferred method, which is on the smoker), you could just make one or two for breakfat when you stumble out of bed all bleary-eyed needing something to start the day right.
Bacon? Check. Onions? Check. Various flavored sauces to both dip the raw onion slices in before the bacon is added, as well as to glaze the finished product with? Check.
Sauces (more on this in a minute
Set the onion on its side so that the root end is on the left and the stem is on the right. Slice the onions into thick slices (3/4 of an inch or so), starting with the root end and moving on up towards the stem.
For each slice, you are going to use the outermost two rings so that there is some amount of thickness to the onion part of the ring. That’s why you should start with several large onions — because you are only going to use the outermost two layers. [You could use the inner rings, too, but the amount of work entailed in bacon-wrapping the little rings is simply not worth it. I’mm pretty sure you have better things to do. Just dice the remaining onion parts and multi-task by carmelizing those in a nearby skillet while you play with your little piggy rings.]
The onions wrapped in bacon would be wonderful just by themselves, but deploying a third element boosts the flavor to the next level. Here are some ideas:
Dip the onion slices in your favorite barbecue sauce, then wrap in bacon;
Dip the onion slices in country dijon mustard, then wrap in bacon;
Dip the onion slices in Siracha sauce (Heat Alert!) or salsa, then wrap in bacon;
Dip the onion slices in your favorite jelly that has been stirred well in a little dish. Pepper jelly is especially nice for this. Then wrap in bacon;
Mix apricot jelly with a little worcestershire sauce and dip the onions in it, then wrap in bacon.
You can also use the barbecue sauce or the jelly or jelly/worcestershire mix for a glaze that you put on with a basting brush when they are fully cooked.
Use toothpicks to secure the bacon.
Time to cook! You have options:
Throw the rings on a smoker over medium heat. Cook for 10-15 minutes, then turn. Gauge how long it will take to finish by looking at the amount of time it took to get the bacon cooked on the first side. Typically, the other side cooks more quickly.
Or, throw them on a cookie sheet (preferably lined with parchment paper for quick cleanup) and stick them into the oven. Don’t preheat. Just turn the oven on to 400 degrees when you put them in. Check them after 15 minutes to see how long you need to wait to turn them over. You will get a feel for the timing on your oven and on your smoker.
If you want to try the microwave method, be my guests. I do so from time to time when I just want to make a couple. The first time I put two of these on paper towels on top of a plate and stuck them in the microwave for two minutes for starters, I was stunned at how much shrinkage occurred. What you end up with still tastes wonderful, but it just cooks differently. And you will need to determine how long it will take in your own microwave.
Customize. Personalize. Make them just the way you like them. When they are finished cooking (however you have chosen to get the job done), cut a little piece and taste it before you decide if you want to top them with any sort of glaze or sauce. I wouldn’t recommend squirting on a bunch of Siracha sauce, unless you like roasting your tastebuds, but barbecue sauce or the jelly options, used sparingly, work well.
And did I mention that they are really good-looking?