There have been these stories flying all over the interwebtron about people weaving bacon, rolling more pork in it (i. e. sausage, etc.) and cooking it like that. Last weekend, I felt just spicy enough to try it. We had some impromptu company, as we tend to with our family, and I didn’t really know what to cook. I was rummaging through the refrigerator and freezer, and found 2.5-lbs of sausage and 3-lbs of bacon. I remembered the bacon explosion and decided to give it a try. So, here’s my attempt at this culinary lunacy.
Step 1 – Weave bacon strips.
As you can see, this makes kind of a mat. It seems like twelve, thick slices of bacon work pretty well for this thing. My 3-lb package came with about 39-slices of bacon in it, so I made three of these monstrosities. Raw bacon is quite pliable. In places where it didn’t want to fit tightly, I was able to kind of squish it to where it was supposed to be, and strips that were a little shorter were easily stretched to make the mat square.
Step 2 – Seasoning.
I have just a little bit of dried sage and basil left from the fresh herbs of 2007 and 2008. So, I used some of these dried leaves, crumbled up, directly on the bacon mat before I put down the sausage – which leads us directly into…
Step 3 – Sausage.
I kind of smashed the raw sausage thinly across the raw bacon mat. I’m glad I’m not allergic to pork, or I would have been covered in hives. This step was eerily like spreading high-gluten, short-grain rice across your nori when you are rolling sushi. With the sausage, taper your smear so that it is slightly thicker on the end that you will start rolling from, and leave a little space at the outside edge, because the meat will tend to bind up and walk on the mat when you roll it. I know that sounds kind of kinky, but I’m just sayin’…
Step 4 – Fillings.
I decided to use some sliced cheese that we had in the refrigerator. It was some deli provolone that we had left over from the last time we made sandwiches. I knew it would come in handy, which is why we bought more than we would eat that night. The picture above is all we did to that roll. On the second one, I added the extra strips of bacon that did not weave into any of the three mats. On the third one, we diced up some organic black olives and threw them on top of the cheese. I’m here to tell you – that was awesome. If we do this again, olives are officially part of the recipe.
Step 5 – Rolling.
This really works best with two people. It wasn’t nearly as difficult as I was afraid it would be, but you will definitely have to hold your mouth right. Start at the fat end of the mat, and roll it toward the thin end. Roll it tightly enough to work the air out, but not too tightly or you will destroy the roll in the process. When it is rolled, have your partner stab some toothpicks into the ends of the strips to hold the thing together. You will wind up with a big, fat, gooey, log of pork.
Step 6 – Grilling
Don’t be like Michael. Don’t leave your pork unattended. Do you see that ‘what the hell do I do now?’ look on my face? When the pork grease drips into the grill and ignites, and you turn off your gas and the flames are still like that, the fire is burning with the intensity of a thousand suns. It was like the fires of Mordor in there. In this picture, my arm hair was getting singed.
Ooooooo, that’s hot! Hot, hot, hot, hot!! Okay. So, these things got a bit more crispy on the outside than I wanted them to. In fact, the bacon on the outside edge of the roll kind of transformed into carbon in places. All that being said, I would call the first attempts a success. It was really good!
Step 7 – Slice and serve.
This stuff was very tasty! We served it with sourdough bread and spinach and tomato salad. Especially for the cost of the meal, it was fantastic! Five of us ate on it on Saturday night, and then we had enough leftovers for three on Sunday afternoon. The crispier edges were a little much, but most of the slices were completely edible without scraping or cutting off any of the blackened crust. Next time I do anything like this, I will not be walking away from the grill for any time. Rather, I’ll have a helper with me to run errands and such.
Step 8 – Ideas for improvement and such.
The olives are a must. They were awesome and really made the deal.
Mozzarella would have been better than provolone.
I’m wondering about wrapping the roll in foil with holes poked in it. That might keep them from catching on fire so easily.
This could make wonderful campfire food!
It would be interesting to use a thinner spread of sausage and top it with tomato sauce, cheese, pepperoni, and all kinds of pizza toppings. I bet that would come out really good!
Rather than using sausage, a great high-brow alternative would be to alternate strips of lobster tail and chicken tenders. The flavors of the bacon, lobster, and chicken would make all kinds of music on the palette!
Meatloaf. I need to do a meatloaf like this. I’ve been trying to figure out for some time how to do a meatloaf on the grill, and this is the answer to that. Next time, I’m going to use a meatloaf mix instead of sausage, spread it on the bacon mat with green or organic black olives and garlic on it before I roll it. That would be incredible! In fact, I may have to do that this weekend…