By: WFAE’s Lisa Miller
I am not a sports fan. I don’t usually go around announcing it, but people notice my silences when sport comes up in conversation. And then I confess it. I do have my exceptions… baseball games and the sun, peanuts and beer that go along with them. However, football is not one of them. I don’t understand it and I just sit there restlessly watching as the clock starts and stops. I am not good company.
So when a ‘watching party’ rolled around back during the Super Bowl, I knew that I had to compensate. This year I tried to do that with Bacon Explosion. Strangely enough, I got the recipe out of The Essential New York Times Cookbook. It’s prefaced with “In early 2009, The New York Times was briefly taken over by a college frat.”
But the idea came from the guys behind BBQAddicts.com. Basically, it’s two pounds of bacon and 1 ½ pounds of Italian sausage, some barbecue rub and barbecue sauce. But the really intriguing part is that it involves a “bacon lattice.” I have never put those two words together, but I must’ve used that phrase at least a dozen times that night.
You start off weaving one pound of bacon, while you cook the other. Then you spread 1 ½ pounds of Italian sausage over the bacon, pat it with barbecue rub, then crumble up the cooked bacon. Pour some barbecue sauce and wrap the whole thing up and put it in the oven. I must admit, it doesn’t look that appetizing when it comes out surrounded by a pool of grease. But you drain the fat, stick the pork loaf on a plate and when people ask, “What’s that?” not sure that they want to try it, you say with some gusto, “It’s Bacon Explosion and check out the bacon lattice.” That’s hard to turn down.
Most people who tried it said they liked it. Although I think a few were trying to humor me since cooking is a relatively new thing for me. A friend suggested it works best between two slices of bread. I agree. In it’s pure form I could only make it through six bites. But it did make me feel like I had something to offer on a night when others could get by on their love for the game.
- 2 pounds thick-sliced bacon
- 3 tablespoons Barbecue rub
- 1 ½ pounds Italian sausage, casings removed
- ¾ cup bottled barbecue sauce
- Using 10 slices of bacon, weave a square lattice like that on top of a pie: Place 5 slices side by side on a large sheet of aluminum foil, sides touching. Place another strip of bacon across one end, perpendicular to the other strips. Fold the first, third, and fifth bacon strips back over this strip, then place another strip next to it. Unfold the first, third, and fifth strips, and fold back the second and fourth strips. Repeat with the remaining bacon until all 10 strips are tightly wove
- Heat the oven to 225 degrees or light a fire in an outdoor smoker. Place the remaining bacon in a large skillet and cook until crisp. Drain on paper towels.
- Meanwhile, sprinkle the bacon weave with 1 tablespoon barbecue rub. Spread the sausage evenly over the bacon lattice, pressing it to the edges.
- Crumble the fried bacon into bite-sized pieces. Sprinkle on top of the sausage. Drizzle with ½ cup barbecue sauce and sprinkle with another tablespoon of barbecue rub.
- Very carefully separate the front edge of the sausage layer from the bacon weave and roll the sausage into a compact log. The bacon weave should stay where it is, flat. Press the sausage roll to remove any air pockets, and pinch together the seams and ends. Roll the sausage toward you, this time with the bacon weave, until it is completely wrapped. The roll should be 2 to 3 inches thick. Turn it so the seam faces down. Sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of barbecue rub.
- Place the roll on a baking sheet in the oven or in a smoker and cook until the internal temperature registers 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 1 hour per inch of thickness.
- Glaze the roll with the remaining ¼ cup barbecue sauce. To serve, slice into ¼ to ½-inch rounds.
Serves 10 or more
Recipe copyright: The Essential New York Times Cookbook
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