(NOTE: This was originally written a year ago - June 2009 - and for some reason decided to show up today)
We hosted a pot-luck brunch yesterday and our contribution was the "Bacon Explosion", which we learned about thanks to the New York Times. It was so goooooooooddddddddd, I'm blogging about it!
If you click on the title for this blog post it will take you to the home sit for Bacon Explosion. I worked off of this recipe but doctored it a little.
Two packages of Trader Joe's uncured applewood smoked bacon. One package of uncooked sweet italian sausage, one package of uncooked hot italian sausage (from Vons) -- I believe they were Mama Leone's.
I prepped the night before. I laid out some aluminum foil as my work surface so I could easily wrap up the B.E. after I'd finished assembling it. I used one package of the bacon to make the latice work. It took me a few tries to figure out the best way to weave the bacon. It's much easier to weave the bacon as it reaches room tempurature. A tight weave definitely helps you when you're cooking the B.E. as it keeps the sausage from exploding!
With the latice done, I lightly seasoned it with ground black pepper, a light sprinkling of ground ginger, and a little cayenne pepper. The B.E. recipe used alot of rub. I didn't want to over-season it so I went light. I could've gone a little heavier with it, especially the ginger.
I mixed together my two different kinds of sausage in a bowl and then spread them on top of the bacon latice. I think if I had spread out the sweet italian and then spread the hot italian on top of that, it might've looked cooler when I sliced it. What I noticed in the NY Times photo was that when it's sliced the B.E. looks a little like a sushi roll. The sausages tasted great. I think in my next B.E. I am going to try chorizo.
I cut the second package of bacon into chunks and sauteed it. I cooked mine until it was golden, still a little soft. Then sprinkled the chunks on top of the sausage spread.
I added a little (maybe two tablespoons) of Chris-n-Pitts to the middle. Again, I didnt want to overpower the meat so I went light with it. I am happy with the amount that I used. It completely disappeared in the cooking and the flavor just became part of the sausage yumminess! What I didnt realize was that I had a bottle of Trader Joe's Bacon-Chipolte sauce in the cupboard. I would've put that in the middle, had I known!
I rolled up the sausage, as directed. Put the latice around it, as directed. Wrapped the whole thing in foil and put it in the frig.
Bottom-line: I grilled it, low-n-slow, on a gas grill for 3 and half hours and it was AWESOME!
I have a small, two burner gas grill. I started it on the grill with the back burner on LOW and the front burner on MEDIUM for about a half hour. It was too hot. The sausage started to break thru the lattice work. I was able to recover from the goof. I rolled the B.E. so the sausage side was down (to hold it together) and turned down the heat. I cooked it for a long time, maybe two hours, with the front burner on LOW and the back burner OFF. And for the last half hour, I turned the front burner to MEDIUM and kept the back burner OFF.
By this time, I had discovered the bottle of Bacon-Chipolte sauce in the cupboard. I slathered the B.E. in the sauce. Be generous. You won't be sorry. I rolled the slathered B.E. around on the grill so the sauce got warm and glossy.
Then I served it on a platter.
You'll want to let the B.E. stand for maybe 5 or 10 minutes before you slice it. Let the meat settle a little bit. I learned this the hard way.
I am completely in love with the Bacon Explosion! It's a huge hit at a brunch, great presentation value and it's just so stinkin good! This one B.E. fed 13 women.
Some tweaks I would consider for future B.E.'s:
1) Using the Bacon-Chipolte on the inside of the B.E. as well as the out.
2) Using fresh ginger in the rub
3) Using Chorizo instead of the Italian sausage
4) Adding hard-boiled or scrambled eggs in the middle
5) Adding hash-browns to the middle
6) Adding a sharp cheddar cheese to the middle
Would LOVE to hear your ideas!