I thought it would be a funny to bring Pigs in a Blanket to my book group after we had read a novel set in retro ‘60s. Much to my surprise, everyone put down their chardonnay and inhaled them. They may be silly, but they are stupid good.
So after that unexpected success, I eyed The Captain’s spice mixes and thought maybe the Sweet Heat spice rub would be a nice arranged marriage with Pigs in a Blanket and a little barbecue bite and sure enough, they were elevated.
I first thought tried a sprinkling of Sweet Heat on the crescent rolls before rolling up the dogs, but then The Captain suggested making a sauce with Sweet Heat to brush on top. Genius.
After lots of experimenting, I learned this. You want to sprinkle the Sweet Heat only on the inside. If you sprinkle it on top as well and put it in the oven, the sugar in the spice rub burns (though I kind of liked that — reviews may vary in your household). So the final verdict was sprinkle on the inside only of the crescent roll dough, roll it up and bake. Then brush on sauce on top and put back in the oven for a few minutes. I added one more sprinkle of Sweet Heat when they came out of the oven for lovers of a little extra heat.
While it bakes you make a sauce with the Sweet Heat and I have to say this is one my favorite tips to pass on. Why buy bottles of BBQ sauce? You can whip up 2 tablespoons or 2 pints as needed with just ketchup, vinegar, spice rub and a dash of Worcestershire sauce.
So while those pigs were nestled in their blankets in the oven, I got out a small bowl and put in equal parts ketchup, vinegar, a glug of Worcestershire sauce and Sweet Heat.
It took all of 2 minutes to make and nowhigh fructose corn syrup crossed our lips. I'm never buying bottled sauce again.
Take them out of the oven when they are golden but on the lighter side (10-12 minutes) and brush them with your Sweet Heat sauce and put them back in the oven for a minute or two to firm up.
BONUS: When you take them out immediately sprinkle them with another generous amount of Sweet Heat. The ones without the extra sprinkle looked prettier but every taste tester (and I had plenty of eager volunteers) agreed that the double-dipped ones were better with a bit more heat. So if I were having a cocktail party I’d make them pretty and omit the extra dash. But if it’s just us on a Friday night, go for it girlfriend.
You can also use that BBQ sauce you made as a dipping sauce for the Pigs
Parchment paper is your friend. It makes cleanup easier always. Especially for this recipe, I fear that when you are glopping sauce on top of your pigs they could stick to the pan without it.
Sweet Heat Pigs in a Blanket
Pigs in a Blanket
14 oz. package of little smokies mini frankfurters
8 oz. can refrigerated crescent roll dough
1-2 tbsp Sweet Heat spice mix
For BBQ sauce
2 tbsp ketchup
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 dash of Worcestshire sauce
1 tbsp Sweet Heat spice rub, or more to taste
Heat oven to 350 degrees
Unroll dough; separate into narrow triangles.
Sprinkle Sweet Heat spice mix on the inside of the dough and place mini franks on shortest side of each triangle. Roll up, starting at shortest side of triangle, and rolling to opposite point. Place point side down on a cookie sheet that is covered in parchment paper.
Bake 10-12 minutes until lightly golden brown, switching position of cookie sheets halfway through baking.
Brush BBQ sauce on the Pigs and return to the oven for 2 minutes or so until they firm up
BONUS: Immediately after the oven, sprinkle more Sweet Heat rub on top. They won’t be as pretty but they will taste goooood.