Over the last few months, I have seen pictures and heard about a "bacon fatty" or a "bacon explosion" and wanted to make/try one. When I joined these forums, I saw this section. But like alot of things I do, I knew the basic concept, but wanted to try my own version of it before reading other people's ideas. Sometimes I come up with new ideas doing things like this. More often I lay an egg, but it keeps it fun.
I opted to go with what I thought would be good, a bacon cheeseburger theme. The idea was to weave a bacon blanket out of cheap bacon, roll some duck ground with bacon ends instead of sausage, and stuff it with grilled onions, cheddar cheese, and reconstituted sauteed chanterelles.
Let's start with the bacon weave. This is harder than it looks. I opted for thin sliced cheap bacon. Thin because, come on, how much bacon can a person eat. Cheap because of the experimental nature of the undertaking. It took about a pack and half of thin sliced bacon to make these. 20 ounces.
Here is the finished product. It involves lots of picking up and putting down the bacon. I did it on saran wrap for easy rolling of the loaf later.
Then I took my duck grind and put on. This is wild ducks, ground with black pepper bacon ends. Once in a while a small feather, rarely a pellet, but I always warn people, "That's shot game, with the possibility of steel pellets. Let's not activate our dental plan." The grind is very, very wet, and a little harder to work with than ground beef. It tends to stick to anything it touches.
I somehow didn't get a pic of the stuffing. Sauteed onions and chanterelles, with some chunks of sharp cheddar cheese cut in long sticks. I think slices would have worked better here.
Then I rolled them in the saran wrap, and spun them on the saran wrap until they made tight little sausage like loafs. About 2 pounds each.
Note the almost total lack of seasoning. The duck was ground with black pepper bacon ends. And the bacon wrap has salt. So I opted for nothing else. In retrospect, this was a mistake. Seasoning salt or cayenne or something with some punch on the inside would have helped here. The outside has lots of bacon salt and smoke, but the inside, well, it could have used more flavor.
The next morning, I cut them out of saran wrap and put them on the smoker grill. They looked pretty good, I was thinking this might turn out all right.
Four hours later, at an internal temp of about 160, I pulled them.
At this point, I am a little disappointed. One has leaked cheese out the end, the other split down the side. I have leaked out about a 1/4 cup of cheddar, and one of the loafs split. In retrospect, reading others experiences, would have helped here. If you make one of these, in the smoker, b\put the seam of the roll up and pinch the ends tight. I might even sew the bacon to itself to seal her next time. These are not nearly as pretty as I would have liked.
The bacon is really good, but not crisp, so into the broiler for about 5 min to rectify that.
They rested an hour and I sliced one.
I ate a middle slice and have to admit, my first reaction was disappointment. It was good, but not great. Lots of bacon flavor. I can barely taste the onions, and really can't see or feel them in my mouth. The mushrooms are gone, part of the loaf now. No flavor or texture. There is cheddar in there, but not enough. Others in my house had similar reviews.
"It's pretty good."
"Want another slice?"
"Nah, I'm good."
Not really the reaction I was hoping for. Food this rich, with this level of effort, should be "WOW" food, not "meh" food.
They were very moist, the bacon kind of sealed it up and the duck grind held alot of water going in, so the loaf had no sensation of being greasy or dry, and was pleasantly moist. It could have taken more smoke without losing much moisture. So that's an option.
Later that night, my wife took the remainder of the loafs (about 1.5), sliced them up and put them in the broiler with some smoked cheddar on top, and served them in a sandwich with fries. I slathered it up with some Heinz 57, and bye bye fatties. They were devoured in short order.
And that's my tale. Next time, more seasoning, probably some heat, and a firm understanding that the stuffing items must have BIG flavors to survive, otherwise they are pretty much lost. And don't count on the stuffing for any texture at all.