Congrats on getting ready to make your first fatty.
As you can see there really aren't any hard and fast rules on these. And there are certainly more experienced fatty makers than I. But I much appreciate your kind words on the pizza and breakfast fattys I did.http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/for...ad.php?t=74952
And even those are just variations on other things I've read here. Two things I try to consider for ingredients; 1) What do I like to eat? and 2) What sounds like it would be good to eat with a mouthful of sausage?
But that really wasn't your question was it?
Everything I've done so far has been from one pound chubs/packages. That's because they sell them that way. So for me it's been a convienence factor. But this weekend I'm going to do one that is made with hot Italian sausage. I bought that from the case and asked for 1.5 pounds.
I too use the 1 gallon zip lock bags. I put the sausage to the bottom of the bag. I leave it open on top to let out the air and just roll it out evenly to the top of the bag. And then, has been said, I throw it into the freezer (leave it laying flat) for 20-30 minutes. It's easier to work with that way. Then I use a sharp knife to slit down the sides of the bag (do not cut the bottom of the bag) to lay it open as if it were one long piece of plastic.
From there add your ingredients. There are two methods I've done for this; 1) Layout your ingredients in a "pile" in the middle and wrap your sausage around that. or 2) Lay the ingredients out evenly acoss the entire sheet of sausage/meat. This way when you roll it, the meat and ingredients sort of layer around each other. So when you slice the fatty you'll get a nice looking "pinwheel" effect. Certain ingredients (see FireItUp's banana fatty) obviously won't let you do that since it won't lay out. But I think this is mostly a presentation thing. However in some cases a certain ingredient may benefit from having touch contact with the sausage/meat.
As you roll, go slow. Watch for tears/blowouts in the meat. If/when this happens I just tear a little piece from the end or side and patch the hole. Lift the bag as you roll and let it do a lot of the work to keep the roll even. It will be sticky, so take your time. When the rolling has reached the end, pinch the ends to keep the ingredients from leaking out and press together the seam where the end of the roll meets the body. (Does that make any sense?)
Then wrap in bacon if you want. I do because I like bacon and I think it helps hold everything together. That's up to you. But whether you do a weave (as seen in grothe's post)http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/for...ad.php?t=69819
or a wrap (as seen in Capt Dan's post)http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/for...ad.php?t=68353
just make sure the bacon overlaps itself. Also make sure that overlapped area of the bacon is the side that you put down on the grate. This way as the bacon cooks and shrinks it doesn't pull apart and not do part of it's job of pulling the fatty tighter together.
I highly recommend transferring the fatty at this point to a sheet of Saran Wrap to tighten up the fatty. It's been described as looking like a Tootsie Roll wrapper. Again see that post above from Capt Dan, that's the page I used the most as a tutorial when I did my first. Thanks Capt Dan!
More than you wanted, I know. I just figured I'd get it all out. Feel free to private message me if you have any other questions. But you can see there's lots of fatty chefs around here and many different variations of them.
I hope you enjoy it. Be sure to post some pictures. As they say around here...no pictures, never happened. Not to mention we all like to drool on our keyboards.