“What the hell are you doing?” Joanna, my wife, had just come home and was staring at me like I was doing something very, very wrong. I didn’t see it that way though.
“Don’t look at me like that; a man has needs, you know. And since no one’s home, I thought it would be a good time to get busy, alright? You, um, interested in lending me a little hand here?” I asked.
“Gee. It’s tempting, but I think I might just enjoy watching. Who taught you to weave bacon, anyway? Didn’t know you could do that.
Yeah, I didn’t either. But Joanna’s influence was all over this little project whether she realized it or not. She and I chat about stories that would be good for The Meatist fairly frequently, but lately Joanna’s suggestions had devolved to simply yelling “make something with bacon.” So once I found out about the Bacon Explosion, I knew I had a meat project worthy of an afternoon’s labor.
The Bacon Explosion was meat-birthed in Kansas City a couple of years ago by a couple of guys that posted the recipe to their blog. The executive summary? Weave a lattice of bacon, line it with pork, add more bacon, roll it up and smoke it. In a smoker, not like it’s a blunt that you spark up while you chill in your slammed Civic. With the exception of my complete lack of a smoker (yeah, I’ve been harping on that for a while), this is my kind of recipe, even if four pounds is a shit-ton of porky madness.
Looking at Joanna’s smirk, I figured she was thinking along the same lines. And she’d busted me right after I’d laid out the six-by-six bacon weave and I had another half pound of pork cooking off in a frying pan. I couldn’t tell if she was excited or disgusted, but I knew her love of pig would win out in the end, and she’d help me out if I asked her to.
“Jo, could you grab that bacon out of the pan and drain it? With no bacon loom, my hands are all en-porkenated.”
She looked around the kitchen and asked “So this thing has about 63 pounds of pork in it, and you’re stressed over the bacon fat, are you?”
“Just doing my part to stay healthy,” I told her. “Now put a piece of that in my mouth, please. My heart needs to warm up and stretch a bit before dinner’s ready.”
After washing up, I made a dry rub for the explosion using chili powder, salt, pepper, cayenne, paprika, a few other spices I had hanging around, and some brown sugar.
“Hey, is there anything unhealthy you’ve forgotten to put in?” Joanna asked.
“Nope – think I’m covered, thanks.”
Once the weave was rubbed, I spread about two pounds of sweet Italian sausage over it, making user to get right to the edges.
“Do you want to spread a little bit?” I asked.
“Dude, not at all.”
“Your loss. Grab that bacon and break it up then. It’s layer number three”
We sprinkled the fresh bacon chunks that we hadn’t eaten on top of the sausage layer I’d just made. A light rain of barbecue sauce (sadly, no time to make my own barbecue sauce recipe left me using store-bought) and the whole thing was ready for rolling. Starting with just the sausage layer, I rolled front-to-back, sealed up all the edges, then picked up the weave and rolled it backwards. This pork grenade was ready for my grill.
I decided to attempt the “soaked wood chips in a tin foil pan on the flavor bars” technique of turning my grill into a smoker but, as I’ve said before, that’s an almost hopeless project. Almost. Keeping the temp low cooked piggy slow, but I increased it occasionally to get a nice smoke plume working. I slathered it with a little barbecue sauce towards the end of the process.
After a couple of hours it had hit the internal target temperature of a buck sixty, so I pulled it. It ended up sorta “half-smoked,” which is a damn site better than “not smoked” and infinitely better than something that uses that awful liquid smoke. Pouring that cat pee on my skin burns it just like holy water does.
When my daughter arrived home from school and saw it on the cutting board, she stopped in her tracks.
“Oh crap. That’s amazing.”
Yes honey, it really is. And after a bit more barbecue sauce it was ready to be sliced into disks of spiral pork glory.
And how did it taste? Amazing, actually. I’d thought that the barbecue sauce might detract from the thing, but I was horribly wrong. It worked great. But you knew I’d love it, the question is what did the rest of the family think? My daughter was happy as hell, right up until I told her it had 7000 calories. My son will eat almost anything with barbecue sauce, and Joanna, well she normally pretends that a vegetable is necessary at the table. But not that night.
“Hey Brad, do you think you could roll cheese into this thing next time?” she asked.
That should pretty much settle any lingering questions any of you might have about why I married her. Why she married me, on the other hand, is still a mystery.