Bacon Explosion

I was at Costco on Wednesday, getting a head start on my Memorial Day weekend barbecue preparations. I already had two full racks of pork ribs (St. Louis style) in my cart and a box of three one-pound bacon packs in my hand, when I noticed a two-pound tube of Jimmy Dean pork sausage on the shelf. As my gaze shifted between the two processed pork products, the gears in my head slowly engaged: There’s something you can cook with both of these things.

Then it hit me: the Bacon Explosion, a recipe forwarded to me by a friend last winter. He dared me to cook one, and now it was time to take on the challenge. What follows is my humble execution of this epitome of the barbecued pork arts, handed down from on high by the geniuses at BBQ Addicts.

I began by frying up an entire pound of bacon until it was crisp. You’ve seen bacon frying, so the photo is completely gratuitous, but still: Bacon!

Frying bacon

While the first pound of bacon sizzled away, I built the first bacon layer. My bacon wasn’t thick-cut, so I upped the dimensions from 5 by 5 to 6 by 6. I had to reach back to my Cub Scout potholder-making skills to construct the weave.

Bacon weave

I sprinkled the weave with my favorite barbecue dry rub: All-South Rub from Chris Schlesinger’s The Thrill of the Grill.

Weave with rub

I spread the loose sausage on top of the bacon mat, making sure it reached the edges and had an even thickness.

Sausage layer

I spread the crumbled cooked bacon — minus a few slices I sampled for quality control purposes — over the sausage.

Bacon layer

I sprinkled more dry rub over the bacon, then doused it with barbecue sauce. I used Cattlemen’s Golden Honey sauce.

Sauce and more rub

Then came the tricky part: I rolled the sausage and crumbled bacon layer away from me, leaving the bacon mat untouched. I tried to keep the roll uniform and free of air pockets and sauce leaks.

Sausage rolled

For the final assembly I rolled the sausage back toward me, including the bacon mat. I ended up with a weave-covered sausage with the seam on the bottom. (Those BBQ Addicts thought of everything — there was clearly research involved with this step.) I finished off with another coating of dry rub on the outside.

Final assembly

I dropped this pork bomb on my smoker at the halfway point in my rib cooking time. (Did I mention that I was cooking ribs? Because the Explosion was meant to be a side dish.) It cooked for 3 hours at 225°F, bathed in cherry wood smoke.

Off the smoker

I skipped the sauce glaze on the outside since I’m a sauce-on-the-side guy. After a brief rest I sliced the roll into half inch thick rounds.

Cross section

Look at that cross section: bacon, pink smoke ring, cooked sausage, and more bacon. It tasted as good as it looked: a slight sweetness from the cherry smoke, more sweetness from the sauce, soft bacon on the outside contrasting with crispy on the inside, with the firm sausage giving it a bit of chew.

I’ll certainly be making this again. Now that I know how good it tastes and how relatively simple it is to prepare, I’ll splurge on loose Italian sausage next time to add more spice. Oh, and the ribs were also tasty.

Making this delectable treat resulted in a song being stuck in my head, the “Deththeme” from Metalocalypse, the animated series. I kept hearing the singer’s name — “Nathan Explosion,” the last two word of the song — as “Bacon Explosion!” And now you will, too.
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4 Responses to Bacon Explosion

  1. Lisa Harvey-Mone says:

    Good god… that is one scary side dish!!! Can you say heart-attack on a plate?! Still doing Atkins? LOL! Geli would LOVE this!!! She digs her some bacon…

    • David says:

      Less fat than you might think, most of it renders off during the three-hour smoke. Definitely not Atkins-approved due to the sweet barbecue sauce.

      I stopped Atkins years ago in favor of exercise. My cooking was beginning to suffer from the diet restrictions.

  2. Paul Riddell says:

    I can second the long smoke for getting rid of the fat. With my tandoori turkeys, all the fat melts off, but the tandoori paste traps the moisture. You might want to try that with this as well: it’ll lose most of the fat, but it’ll be moist enough that if you squeeze a chunk in your hand, you can watch the juice run down your arm.

    Oh, and David. I just wanted to let you know that I’m coming up that way this summer after all. Not for Readercon, of course, but for a big heaping platter of this.

    • David says:

      Three hours for an Explosion fo this size seemed just about right: the sausage was still moist, and the bacon mat wrapping still had some chew. I might consider spritzing it with apple juice as it smokes, rather than adding a sauce glaze at the end.

      As for your visit, you’re welcome anytime. If you can stand to eat Yankee barbecue, I’ll be happy to make it.

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