Saturday, July 24, 2010

Pork Paradise: The Bacon Explosion

Here's the thing about bacon: it's really, really bad for you, but it tastes really, really good. In that respect, bacon is like lots of things: beer, whiskey, whisky, gin, applejack, tequila, scotch, honey mead, hard cider, Cognac, and rum.

If bacon is like alcohol, consider The Bacon Explosion a four day Everclear-fueled mega-bender--it's pretty great once a year, but if you did it any more than that your organs would probably explode (see: Mardi Gras).

Here's what you're gonna need:
T= Tablespoon, t= teaspoon
2lbs regular (not maple or peppered) bacon, at least 24 strips
2lbs Italian sausage, preferably Johnsonville Brats, split and casings removed
2 T apple cider vinegar
1 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce, I like Stubb's spicy, but anything not overly sweet will do.
1 batch Brooks' Pork Rub (recipe follows)
Parchment (not wax) paper

Brooks' Pork Rub:
2T Hungarian Sweet Paprika
1T Ground Cumin
1T Dried Oregano
1T White Sugar
1T Kosher Salt
50 Grinds Fresh Black Pepper
2t Cayenne Pepper

Mix all ingredients thoroughly in a bowl, set aside.

Step 1:  Assemble the team

Step 2: Make a lattice
The dimensions of your bacon lattice will depend upon both the thickness and the length of your bacon. On a large sheet of parchment paper, lay out enough bacon side by side so that it forms a square. Then, on top of that square, lay our a second bacon square perpendicular to the first. At this point, You'll want to put this double layer of bacon (not yet woven) in your freezer for a few minutes (this hardens the fat and makes the next step much easier). Once chilled, weave your bacon just as you would a lattice pie top, but make each 'stitch' as tight as possible. This will be important later. Once you have something that looks like the picture, place the bacon in the fridge to cool off.
Step 3: Cook some bacon
Take any bacon not used in the lattice and cook it however you like your bacon. I used Alton Brown's method:  Lay strips of bacon on a wire rack and half-sheet pan and start them in a cold oven. Set your oven for 400 degrees and check your bacon every three minutes until desired doneness. This method allows most of the bacon fat to render out before cooking, and it also delivers perfectly strait, uniformly cooked pieces of bacon. I recommend it.
Step 4: Season that lattice
Season the bacon lattice liberally with pork rub. OK, now season it some more. Good.
Step 5: Layer the meat
Spread the sausage evenly over the bacon, leave about half an inch of room on each edge. Add more pork rub to the sausage. Chop your cooked bacon and remove excess grease with paper towels, allow it to cool. Once cooled, place bacon on top of the sausage, except near the edges and lightly press it down. Add some more pork rub. Take your BBQ sauce and add the 2T of apple cider vinegar. Drizzle sauce over bacon, and reserve the extra sauce.
Step 6: Roll it up
Starting with just the sausage layer, carefully roll away from you, keeping the roll as tight as possible. Once you have the sausage roll (with bacon and sauce inside), seal the ends and the edge by smoothing the sausage together (by this point, the fat in the sausage should have warmed up enough for this). Carefully place the sausage roll on one end of the bacon lattice and while grabbing one edge of the bacon lattice, slowly roll the sausage towards you. Try to keep this roll as tight as possible, even stretching the bacon as your roll. Finish the roll with the seam beneath your newly minted Bacon Explosion.
Step 7: Create the crust
Press remaining rub onto all sides of the roast. If you don't quite have enough, make a small batch of rub. (Where the recipe calls for tablespoons, use teaspoons; where the recipe calls for teaspoons, reduce each by 1/3; use 15 grounds of pepper.) Your finished product should look a little like this.
 Step 8: Apply some heat
The Oven: Preheat your oven to 225 degrees. Place your roast on a half sheet pan with a wire rack (if this is not available, use anything that will allow the fat to drip away from the roast). Place a probe thermometer diagonally so that the tip is in thickest part of the roast. Cook until the middle of the roast reaches 165 degrees, about 1 hour for every inch of diameter. Mine took ~4 hours.
The Smoker: As you know, real barbecue requires smoke. Heat your smoker to 225 degrees and smoke the roast with your choice of wood until the interior reaches 165 degrees. After cooking, loosely tint your roast with foil and allow it to rest for at least fifteen minutes before carving and serving.

Step 9: Serve your masterpiece
Using a serrated knife (a bread knife worked well), slice your roast as thinly or as thickly as you please. As soon as my roast left the oven, I cranked the temp up and made a double batch of Grand's Buttermilk Biscuits. A half-inch slice and a dab of Dijon mustard fills these biscuits perfectly. Others ate thicker slices on plates with BBQ sauce. You can't really go wrong.
Step 10: Take a nap
Seriously. The Bacon Explosion will put you down. You'll sleep for at least an hour. If you've been drinking (and let's not kid ourselves, you've been drinking), you're looking at a minimum of 2 hours in a dreamless, pork-induced semi-coma (aka "The Itis").
Thanks to the guys at for giving the Bacon Explosion to the world.


  1. Kittens?! In miniature sleeping bags?! That is what this post should have been about.

  2. at what point do you suffer the massive heart attack?

  3. Additionally, nice WTYDS label.