In case it escaped you, in January 2009, just in time for Superbowl parties, the arteries of the internet were clogged with bacon. The bodacious Bacon Explosion, a home made sausage log stuffed with bacon, wrapped with bacon, dusted with barbecue spice rub, slathered in barbecue sauce, and then smoked, was featured on all the cooking message boards, Good Morning America, and even got ink in the New York Times.
The Bacon Explosion (a.k.a. a fatty) first occurred in Jason Day’s kitchen in Roeland Park, KS, and tens of thousands of blogs have linked to this waaaay over the top grilled stuffed sausage recipe. So I had to try it. And frankly, I was not impressed. The sweet barbecue sauce and barbecue spice rub clash with, and hide, the savory wonderfulness of the sausage and bacon. And bacon inside is redundant. So I modified Day’s recipe, taking some concepts from the popular method for serving Italian sausage here in Chicago as I learned it from my wife’s Italian-American family.
In Chicago there are scores of restaurants that serve grilled Italian sausage links in a roll smothered in sautéd onion and peppers and, if you wish, topped with gravy (marinara sauce) and melted mozzarella.
For the smoked Italian Sausage Bomb, I have deconstructed the classic sandwich, rearranged the ingredients, and amped it up a notch. I’ve replaced the bacon stuffing with mozzarella cheese and a mix of peppers and onions. It is then served on pasta and topped with marinara sauce. The result is far more sophisticated and satisfying.
- 1 cup marinara sauce
- 1 large green bell pepper
- 1 large red bell pepper
- 1 large onion
- 3 ounces mozzarella cheese
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 8 ounces prosciutto or bacon
- 2 pounds Italian sausage
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 pinches of salt
- 8 servings of rotini pasta
These recipes were created in US Customary measurements and the conversion to metric is being done by calculations. They should be accurate, but it is possible there could be an error. If you find one, please let us know in the comments at the bottom of the page
- Prep. Make my Marvelous Marinara Sauce. You can do this a day or two in advance.
- Fire up. Set up a 2-zone fire if you are using a grill. Heat the grill so the medium zone is about 350°F (167°C). Go back indoors and lay a strip of aluminum foil at least 12" x 16" (30 cm x 41 cm) on a work surface.
- Make the sausage roll. If the sausage is in links, slit the casings from end to end with a knife, peel it off, and discard it. Then form the sausage into a ball. Lay the ball in the center of the foil and flatten it so it is at least 1" (25 mm) smaller than the foil on 3 sides and about 1/2" (1.3 cm) thick.
- Chop the peppers and onions, and cube the mozzarella (shredded also works). In a bowl, mix the peppers, onion, oregano, salt, and pepper. Place a single layer of stuffing on the sausage up to about 1" (25 mm) of the edge of the sausage. Distribute the cheese on the stuffing. Don't try to cram a lot in. Depending on the size of the peppers and onions, you probably will need less than half in the stuffing. Set the rest of the vegetables aside.
- Lift one edge of the foil and roll the sausage around the stuffing, making a loaf. Squeeze the foil at the top fusing the two edges. Pull back the foil and form the loaf until it is cylindrical and snug, sealing the seam and ends with your fingers. Pat it into an an even thickness. Lay the bacon over the top of the loaf with each strip not quite touching. Tuck any loose ends under the loaf.
- Place your wood chips on the heat source and place the loaf, still in the center of the foil, on the cooker, seam side down in the medium heat zone. Cook for 45 to 60 minutes until it hits an internal temp of 160°F (71°C). The bacon should be just right.
- While it is cooking, heat a frying pan over medium high heat, add the olive oil, and cook the remaining bell peppers and onions until soft. When you are ready to serve, warm the marinara sauce in a saucepan or the microwave.
- Just before the meat loaf is done, start 1 quart (1 L) of water boiling in a 2 quart (1.9 L) pot. Add 2-3 pinches of salt. Then the pasta. Cook according to the instructions on the bag or box. Just before it is done, bring in the meatloaf.
- Slice the loaf between the bacon strips. Drain the pasta, put it on the plates, top with the marinara sauce, then the cooked peppers and onions, then the sliced meatloaf.