Way back in January of 2009, I read this article in the New York Times food section and knew that one day I would definitely make my own Bacon Explosion. What is a Bacon Explosion? On the outside, there is a bacon weave. Yes a bacon weave. Think lattice pie crust but bacon (a tutorial on how to make the nicest bacon weave I have ever seen is here). The weave is covering a mass of sausage. And pinwheeled inside this mass of sausage is some cooked bacon. This is the kind of meal that would be served in that Saturday Night Live sketch with the guys talking about "Da Bears" and drinking beer to work through their heart attacks.
Quick disclosure: My homemade bacon was not long enough to make the weave. I was bummed, but still moved forward. The cooked bacon on the inside is part of the Carcutepalooza project and I made the sausage. But the bacon for the weave was purchased.
First thing, make some sweet Italian sausage. My recipe is pretty straight forward -combine pork and fat, salt, pepper, and fennel. Grind. If you cut the pork into strips, the grinder grabs it and pulls it through by itself.
Then I fired up some homemade bacon. Couldn't resist a taste. It's good.
I made a weave out of the store bought bacon. As you can see, the pork belly I purchased to cure did not compare in size with what I picked up at the Fresh Market. I dusted the weave with some homemade rub. I left the salt out of the rub since there would be plenty in the bacon and the sausage.
Laid out the sausage in a rectangle, dusted it with rub and topped with chopped fried bacon. Seriously, how bad could this taste?
Time to make a log. I didn't end up going diagonally like Cowgirl. Maybe next time. I have never made anything like this so there was a little bit of a learning curve.I think I could have made the wave a little bigger and used less sausage. And the weave could have been tighter. In the bacon giddiness I was experiencing, I forgot to start the weave in the middle. Still, looking good though.
Dinner was going to be at my brother and sister-in-laws house. We fired up the Weber kettle with the coals on one side And set up a little foil baffle to cut down on the direct heat of the coals.
I flipped it wound twice and after about an hour and a half the inside temp was 160 degrees. I put the Explosion on a plate tented with foil to rest.
Dinner is served....
I thought it was pretty good. There was some room for improvement. Didn't get as much of a pinwheel effect as I wanted, but overall not a bad first effort. At times, I can be my own worst critic but a kid will always tell you like it is. My niece Abby has been a fan of my homemade sausage in the past. Tonight, she was at the kids table when she took her first bite. "Wow, the sausage is REALLY yummy! Allison (her cousin sitting next to her) have you tried the sausage?" Couldn't help to puff up with a little pride after overhearing that.
The pancetta is still drying out in the chamber. Probably will be done a few days ofter the 15th Chacutepalooza deadline, but it is on the way. Looks and smells good.