Thursday, March 6, 2014

Exotic/Disgusting Foods and Beverages Forum--The Bacon Explosion (registered trademark)

     This one is another post which barely fits into my food and beverage qualifications.  Because bacon and sausage are anything but exotic to the typical person, and are only considered disgusting to a select minority of folks, along with staunch vegetarians and members of some religions.
     So why write about it?  Because The Bacon Explosion takes the usual and turns it into something extreme by virtue of its excesses.  It’s a ridiculous, over the top tribute to the two most common pork products.  Even Ted Nugent on the Atkins Diet would probably think it was a little much.
     Unlike most of my food posts, The Bacon Explosion isn’t thousands, or hundreds, or even dozens of years old.  In fact, if it were a living person, it wouldn’t even be in first grade yet.  It was developed in December 2008 by Jason Day and Aaron Chronister.  Although they based it partially on other recipes, they are credited with this particular creation, and as such they own the official trademark.  Their dish quickly, well, exploded on the internet, and became popular across the U.S., the U.K., The Netherlands, and Germany, especially.  It won the “Savory Dish” award at the 2013 Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival, and the duo’s 2010 book “BBQ Makes Everything Better” (which featured The Bacon Explosion prominently) won the Gourmand World Cookbook Award in the “Best Barbecue Book” category.
     I first heard about it from my friend B.C., who enjoys cooking in general, and cooking out/barbecuing in particular.  In spring of 2009 he broke out his smoker and a whole bunch of pork products.  Since it’s readily available all over the internet, I’ll assume fair use, and include the actual recipe.

Ingredients:  2 pounds of thick cut bacon.
                     2 pounds of Italian sausage.
                     1 jar of your favorite barbecue sauce.
                     1 jar of your favorite barbecue rub/seasoning.

Directions:  Make 5 by 5 bacon weave, like you were making a basket made out of meat.  Add the barbecue seasoning to the top of this square.  Then, take the 2 pounds of sausage and layer it on top of the weave.  Press it down into the outer edges.  Next, take the remaining bacon and fry it up separately, to desired texture (I prefer more undercooked/soft and meaty, but that’s just me).  Then crumble/shred this into small pieces and put over sausage layer.  Drizzle barbecue sauce onto the bacon, and then more barbecue seasoning.
        Separate the front edge of the sausage layer from the bacon weave, and then roll this backward, so everything but the weave is rolled up.  Keep this roll as tight as possible.  When fully rolled back pinch the ends to seal them.  Then roll it back forward to wrap it up completely in the bacon weave.  Keep the seams on the bottom, and keep sealed.  The resulting mass should resemble a football (and since footballs are sometimes called “pigskins,” this comparison is particularly apt).  Then sprinkle barbecue seasoning on the outside.
        Place this mass into the smoker, @ 225 degrees (F), until the Thermopen registers internal temperatures of 165 degrees (F).  This takes approximately one hour for every inch of the Explosion’s thickness.  Since an average Explosion is about 2.5 inches, a typical cooking time would be about 2.5 hours.  When finished give the entire mass a barbecue sauce coating, and then cut it into quarter to a half inch thick sections, and eat.  (Note: The Eplosion can also be baked, but I didn’t see the specific cooking times/temps for this.)
     As for the taste, there really wasn’t any surprise.  It was very good.  I enjoy bacon, and really like sausage, and together with the barbecue seasoning/sauce was a winning combination.  The group I ate it with told a lot of jokes about this absurd meal, but there was no denying the very positive results.  This reaction was rather like my impressions of other exaggerated, wild sounding foods, like chicken fried steak, or fried Oreos.  Unhealthy foods tend to taste good.  Which is why they’re so tempting, I guess.
     So make no mistake.  I completely recommend The Bacon Explosion based on its flavor and taste, but it probably goes without saying that I think it would be foolhardy to eat it more than very occasionally.  The typical Explosion is about 5000 calories, and 500 grams of fat.  A usual serving (about 8 ounces), is about 900 calories and 60 grams of fat.  Conspiracy theorists could make a case that the Explosion was secretly developed by an evil cardiologist who was unethically trying to drum up more business.  So proceed with caution, obviously.  But if you want to get a jump start on that triple bypass, and simultaneously piss off your friends in PETA, I’m having trouble thinking of a more elaborate and delicious way to do this.

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