Ever since I wrote about making a Bacon Explosion, I have been pestered by a writer friend, Scott Edelman, who insisted that I bring one to Readercon 21. I advised him of the difficulty of serving a smoked pork product in a hotel room, but he waved off all of my objections. As these discussions progressed on Facebook, he was joined by Paul Riddell, owner of the Texas Triffid Ranch and creator of the iTerrarium, who threatened to come out of retirement for the conference just to taste the legendary dish.
The only way I would be able to keep a rabid Texan and a writer of zombie stories at bay was to figure out how to serve the damned thing in a hotel room. Since I had planed on smoking a mess of ribs for the July 4th weekend, I also retrieved the explosion components from the Belm Utility Research Kitchen Deep Storage Facility. (You do keep two pounds each of thick-cut bacon and Italian sausage around for bacon explosion emergencies, don’t you?) While the ribs smoked, I made an explosion, smoked it for three hours, and let it cool before wrapping it in plastic and sealing it in a vacuum-sealed container.
In the meantime, She Who Must Be Obeyed manged to wrangle a microwave for our hotel room so I’d have a way to warm up the meat before serving. I packed up the porky goodness along with some cheap burger buns and a bottle of KC Masterpiece barbecue sauce (original formula) and headed off to the conference hotel, where I had the following conversation with Messrs. Edelman and Riddell:
“Tomorrow I’m serving bacon Explosion sandwiches for lunch. Be in my room at noon.”
Edelman: “I don’t believe you have a bacon explosion. This is all an elaborate prank.”
Riddell: “I believe him, he’s just crazy enough to do it.”
Edelman: “How could you exercise that amount of restraint? Are you trying to tell me you had a bacon explosion in your house for almost a week and you didn’t eat it?”
“That’s exactly what I’m telling you. I told you Riddell would be here and you didn’t believe me, but he’s standing right here. Why is the existence of a bacon explosion so much more difficult to comprehend?”
Edelman: “On a scale with seeing a unicorn in my backyard at one end, and no unicorn at the other, Riddell’s being here is about in the middle, but the explosion is all the way at the ‘unicorn’ end of the scale.”
“Then indulge me and show up tomorrow.”
While I was engaged in this epistemological discussion, She Who Must Be Obeyed had moved the location from our room to the otherwise-unused concierge lounge on our floor, where I had access to a full kitchen. I removed the explosion from the fridge in the morning to let it come up to room temperature, then used a microwave to warm it up for eating. Before slicing it, I took a photo, and let Edelman do the same.
All that was left was to slice it and serve it up. I had enough for twelve sandwiches, enough to feed me, She Who Must Be Obeyed, He Who Will Not Be Ignored, some friends, and my two distinguished out-of-town guests. Scott made us document the event for posterity:
He seemed to enjoy it. It didn’t take much convincing to get him to have seconds — which Riddell matched bite for bite. They both left in a happy pork-induced stupor.
The lesson? Don’t doubt me, and don’t doubt the Explosion!