When I saw the headline in the New York Times last month — the one that said: “Take Bacon. Add Sausage. Blog.” — those were words I simply could not ignore. And when my KPLU-buddy Dick Stein saw the same story, about a recipe for bacon-wrapped-sausage-and-bacon that’s taken the Internet by storm (complete with photos!) it only took about six seconds for him to flip me an e-mail insisting it would make for some fun food-radio. As if I needed prompting! So, on Sunday afternoon I went to work, making a tweaked version of “The BBQ Sausage Recipe of all Recipes” (as dubbed by the originators, a couple of barbecue-competition maniacs). But first, I called on my cardiologist, who suggested I might want to sprinkle a little Simvastatin over the top before I chow down:
I could have used the original recipe, but went, instead, with the adapted New York Times version. First, I gathered my ingredients, making sure to use local products. Below, you’ll find two pounds of Hempler’s bacon — one each of plain and pepper (Ferndale’s Finest!); a pound and a half of sweet Italian sausage (from my neighborhood butcher at Petosa’s Family Market); some of Tom Douglas’s “Rub with Love” Pork Rub; and homemade barbecue sauce supplied my pal Clint, the World’s Best Home Cook. I used the pepper bacon to weave my bacon-lattice:
Then I fried (most of) the remaining bacon. I wussed-out because two pounds seemed like a ridiculous amount given how the Hempler’s fries up (leanish). So I saved-out about a half a pound, figuring I’ll make some BLTs later. While the bacon fried (in two griddles), I squared off my sausage so it would fit snug over the bacon-lattice, then topped the weave with a tablespoon of Tom D.’s pork rub:
Next, I chopped the crisped bacon, sprinkled it over the sausage, spooned on some of Clint’s barbecue sauce (but no additional rub, as I figured it would be spicy enough) and yelled for Mac to put on his favorite T-shirt and lend me a hand in the kitchen:
Because now came the hard part: rolling the thing into a loaf. Turns out the Hempler’s (which I love) may not have been such a good idea, despite the fact that the recipe called for “thick-cut” bacon. I think longer, thinner slices would have worked better. And surely I could have cut back on the sausage and still done justice to the recipe. But I persevered with the full-quid:
After several tries, I still couldn’t get the bacon to wrap entirely around the thick mat of sausage, and finally came up with a solution: I’d use the aluminum foil to wrap it, like sushi chefs do when they’re rolling sushi rolls:
Then I unearthed the loaf directly onto the sheet-pan, with the bacon-gap hidden on the underside. And just so it wouldn’t explode in my oven, I secured the bacon with metal skewers:
Lastly, I used a pastry brush to glaze the loaf with additional barbecue sauce (the NYT said to “sprinkle” the barbecue sauce. Sprinkle it?):
As directed, I baked it low and slow at 225-degrees (I was too lazy to use the Weber — next time!). Then I sat down to get my taxes in order, ignoring the clock and (be still my fat-clogged heart) overcooked it by about a good half-hour ($#@!%$#)! That meat thermometer should have read 165-degrees:
Not that it mattered, really, given the fat-quotient. Though overcooked, the finished product was every bit as delicious as I imagined it would be:
And it was even better an hour ago, when I sliced off a thick round, grilled it with a little extra barbecue sauce, melted some Tillamook smoked cheddar over top, shoved it between a butter-grilled hamburger bun and ate it for blunch:
For dessert? What else: The Simvastatin, washed down with some Alka-Seltzer.
And for more on the subject of the ever-exploding Internet phenomenon known as “Bacon Explosion,” I suggest you feast your eyes on this video and watch these pros in action:
So, anybody try this yet? How did it go? What do you think?