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!
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.
I sprinkled the weave with my favorite barbecue dry rub: All-South Rub from Chris Schlesinger’s The Thrill of the Grill.
I spread the loose sausage on top of the bacon mat, making sure it reached the edges and had an even thickness.
I spread the crumbled cooked bacon — minus a few slices I sampled for quality control purposes — over the sausage.
I sprinkled more dry rub over the bacon, then doused it with barbecue sauce. I used Cattlemen’s Golden Honey sauce.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.http://blog.belm.com/belmblog/audio/deththeme.mp3