Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Breakfast Fatty

The other day, my friend and fellow competitor, Big John Yeast of Code 3 BBQ Team invited my to St. Louis Home Fires to sample some of Jason Day's (Burnt Finger BBQ) famous Bacon Explosions. Jason is the inventor of the "original" which is often imitated but never truly duplicated! Big John cooked up both the "Original" and the new "Cheese" Bacon Explosions and they did not disappoint! I highly recommend you try these - they are the real deal!

The Bacon Explosion is a type of Fatty (see our previous post on the Bacon Wrapped Fatty) made by stuffing chopped bacon slathered in BBQ sauce inside of Italian Sausage and then wrapping that wonderful explosion of pork flavors with a bacon weave seasoned with BBQ rub. They make my mouth water just thinking about them!

During our feast, Big John and I started talking about some of the Fatty's we have cooked in the past and John mentioned he wished he had a breakfast fatty recipe. Well being a person that never passes up an opportunity to cook, I decided to post a Breakfast Fatty recipe inspired by Jason's Original Bacon Explosion. This ones for you Big John! Let's get started.

The ingredients
We are going to stuff this Italian Sausage Breakfast Fatty cheddar cheese, hash browns, scrambled eggs, sausage links and bacon.

Preparing the Sausage for Stuffing

The first thing we want to do is to put the Italian Sausage in a standard 1 gallon Ziploc freezer bag and roll it to a uniform thickness with a rolling pin. I usually spray the inside of the bag with PAM so that it is easy to remove the sausage with minimal sticking. Be sure to leave the bag open at the top so that air can escape while rolling out the sausage. Another tip is to cut along the sides of the bag with scissors to easily access the sausage in the next steps.

Cook All the Ingredients Prior to Stuffing

The next step is too cook the stuffing ingredients. Prepare the hash browns according to the package ingredients. I pan fried mine in chipotle olive oil and seasoned them with Kosher salt and coarse ground black pepper. For the eggs, I scrambled them in butter, added a healthy portion of sauteed diced jalapenos and seasoned them with Penzy's "Mural of Flavor" spice. Finally cook up a few slices of bacon and about 6-8 sausage links. Now - let the stuffing begin!

Start by Adding the Cheese

Start by centering the rolled out sausage on a piece of parchment paper. The parchment paper is actually a tool to be used to help us roll the stuffed sausage into a log. Because we are rolling from the front towards the back and we are folding in the sides of the sausage to create the log, we want to leave a 1 inch border around the perimeter of the sausage. Notice how the cheese is positioned on the sausage. Let's continue adding ingredients.

Next Add the Hash Browns

Next we will add the hash browns on top of the cheese. Notice that we extended the hash browns slightly past the cheese towards the back. As we use the parchment paper to roll the log, the ingredients get compacted and pushed towards the back. Staggering like this creates a unique spiral of ingredients inside the Fatty. It also leaves enough sausage at the top to overlap and completely encase the ingredients so that seal everything in an not have a noticeable seam. Now let's add the eggs.

Adding the Scrambled Eggs

Notice that with this layer too, we stagger the ingredients extending them slightly past the existing layers towards the back of the sausage. Now on to our final two ingredients.

Add the Sausage and Bacon

Finish by adding the sausage and bacon. I alternated the sausage and bacon it this step. It does make a difference in appearance of the final product once it is sliced. Remember, when we roll the sausage to create the log, we are compressing the ingredients as we roll from front to back and fold in the sides. The process creates a spiral of ingredients inside the Fatty. Rolling the Fatty is a combination of art and science. It's really hard to take pictures of the steps and if I can find a camera assistant, I will post a video.

The Finished Stuffed Sausage Log

The key here is to use the parchment paper much like a sushi chef would us a bamboo mat. You are rolling from front to back tucking and compressing as you roll forward and pulling the parchment paper back as you progress. At the same time you are folding the ends in to completely encase the ingredients. It takes a little practice, but after just a couple, you will be a pro. Above is the finished log. Now it's time to create the bacon weave and wrap the log.

7 x 7 Bacon Weave

Start by cutting a piece of parchment paper. we are going to make a 7 x 7 bacon weave. Start by lying 7 slices of bacon side by side creating a square on the parchment. Next weave in the remaining seven slices of bacon creating a mat. There are a number of videos and step by step instructions on the internet if need help. Just search on "bacon weave" to find them. The final step is to wrap the log in the bacon weave.

Preparing to Wrap the Sausage Log in the Bacon Weave

We are again going to use the parchment paper much like a sushi mat. Place the log as pictured on the bacon weave. We will roll from front to back peeling back the parchment paper and tucking the sides of the bacon as we progress.

Finished Fatty

The finished Fatty will be completely encased in the bacon weave with the seam on the bottom. we will want to cook it seam side down until the bacon has set and started to crisp. Prepare you smoker for indirect cooking at a temperature of 225. I like to smoke breakfast fatty's with hickory wood, but any fruit wood will work fine too, especially apple or cherry. Hickory and apple is a really nice combo for these too.

Finished Smoked Breakfast Fatty

You will want to cook the fatty to an internal temperature of 155 degrees. At the temp, the insides will be hot, the sausage thoroughly cooked and the bacon will be juicy and crisp. Yum!

The Breakfast Fatty is Served!

Now for the finished product! Notice how the stuffing ingredients form a spiral from the center starting with the bacon and sausage links and moving clockwise from the center out incorporating the eggs, hash browns, cheese and Italian sausage. There are different flavors in almost every bite! For this one, I toasted a bun and created a sandwich. Try it on a toasted bagel or English muffin or open faced on toast topped with sausage gravy. You really can go wrong!

I hope you give this a try and let me know how it turns out. Enjoy!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Smoked Armadillo Eggs

Mammoth Jalapenos
It's been a long time since have posted anything so I spent the last couple of weekends cooking some of my favorite BBQ Appetizers. I will be posting a series of recipes over the next couple of weeks.

I love spicy food and this time of the year I usually cook with Jalapenos. This year I planted some mammoth Jalapenos I picked up at home depot. These Jalapenos are very large, 3 to 4 inches long and perfect for stuffing. For the first recipe, I chose Armadillo Eggs. And no, they are not made from armadillos :)

Armadillo Eggs are a popular appetizer on the BBQ circuit and make for a fantastic tailgating snack. There are a number of variations of Armadillo Egg recipes out there and I have pretty much tried them all. In my experience, the best way to make them is to core a Jalapeno, stuff it with a cheese mixture, encase it sausage, season it with BBQ rub and wrap it in bacon. Yum!

6 Mammoth Jalapenos
8 oz Philadelphia Cream Cheese w/ Jalapenos
8 oz Kraft Mexican 4-cheese Blend (shredded)
1 lb Bob Evans Pork Sausage
1 lb Farmland Hickory Smoked Bacon
Code 3 5-0 Rub
Chipotle Chili Powder

The first thing we want to do core the Jalapenos. Cut the top off just below the stem then core the Jalapeno removing the seeds and membrane with a knife. The stems and seeds are where all the heat is in a Jalapeno. Removing them will get rid of some of the bite.

Stuffed Jalapenos

The next thing we need to do is parboil the Jalapenos. Parboiling will soften them up so that the will cook more easily once encased in sausage. It will also take out some more of the heat. The key is to get them softened but not mushy. You want them to be spongy, yet firm. To parboil the Jalapeno's bring a pot of water to boil. Add the Jalapenos one at a time and close the lid. Boil for two minutes and then pour them into a colander and rinse with cold water. Now it's time to stuff them!

To make the cheese mixture, take 1/2 of the cream cheese and 1/2 of the shredded cheese and mix them together in a bowl with a spoon. I like to add back a little heat since we tamed the Jalapenos by seeding and parboiling them. To add back some heat, mix in a tablespoon of Chipotle Chili Powder otherwise you can skip this step. Now, simply spoon the mixture into each Jalapeno as pictured at the left. 

The next thing we want to do is divide the sausage into six equal portions. The best way to do this is to cut the sausage in half and then cut each half into thirds. I just kind of eyeball it and make sure that you cut the ends caps slightly larger because they are rounded.

Divide Sausage Into 6 Portions

Next put an individual piece of sausage in a Ziploc sandwich bag sprayed with PAM. Now press it into a about a 4 inch patty. Repeat for the remaining sausage. 
Press Sausage Into Patties
The final step is to place a stuffed Jalapeno in the center of a sausage patty and fold over the sausage completely encasing it. You should end up with an oblong "egg" shape.

Wrap sausage around stuffed Jalapeno pepper

The next step is to season the eggs with BBQ Rub. You can use your favorite rub here, however, I prefer Code 3 5-0 Rub. It goes great with Pork Sausage!

Season with Code 3 5-0 Rub
After you have seasoned the eggs, it's time for my favorite step, wrapping them in BACON! Take a strip of bacon and start at one end and wrap it around the egg to the other end. If you let the bacon set out of the fridge for 10-15 minutes it will be more pliable and much easier to wrap around the egg. The last step is to hit with a little more Chipotle Chili Powder. Again, you can skip this step if you like a little less heat.

Wrapped in bacon and seasoned with Chipotle Chili Powder

Now it's on to the Smoker.  I like to smoke the Armadillo Eggs with fruit woods, usually cherry or a combination of cherry and apple. It gives them a nice reddish mahogany color. You will want to smoke them at 250 for 60 to 75 minutes. They are done when they temp at 155 in the center and the bacon has begun to crisp.

Smoke at 250 for 60 to 75 minutes
Below is the finished product! They are truly an incredible treat and really quite addictive. I hope you enjoy the recipe!

Smoked Armadillo Eggs