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Have you heard of the Bacon Explosion? It’s cooked bacon and barbecue sauce, wrapped in a thick roll of sausage, then wrapped in another layer of (woven) bacon, and smoked until cooked. When the Burnt Fingers bbq sauce guys first wrote about it, it definitely captured people’s attention. Folks tended to either love the idea of it or think it was a disgusting example of excessive meat consumption. The guys who created it have had enough success that they’ve trademarked it.
When I came upon the Bacon Explosion, I instantly loved the look of it: the woven bacon, the swirl of interior ingredients. But the idea of eating pure sausage and bacon wrapped in bacon was a little off-putting to me simply because it sounds like a complete salt bomb. The original recipe calls for sweet barbecue sauce to offset the salty meat, but it still sounds like no more than an appetizer: something I might serve at a wine party and eat a half-inch serving of. (And the amount of sugar in barbecue sauce definitely takes it out of the realm of good Paleo eating.)
But when I came across a Primal version of the Bacon Explosion that incorporates a pork loin, that caught my interest for a possible dinner recipe. The catch is, I don’t usually find pastured pork loin. Pork loin is all over the place if you want to buy the crappy meat of mistreated, confined pigs, but pork loins of pigs that are raised as they were intended are more rare. However, I came across Niman Ranch pork loin in the co-op a few days ago, and while post-corporate-takeover Niman meat isn’t as ideal as buying from a family farm, it has decent standards. I bought the loin.
I began daydreaming about my own dinner version of a Primal Pork Explosion. This one would retain sausage in the interior, but it would be blended into a sausage stuffing with naturally sweet ingredients so that sugar was unnecessary. I looked at Jamie Oliver’s and Mark Bittman’s recipes for pork stuffing, and then I created a primal version of my own.
Voila: a beautiful roll of bacon and pork loin swirled with a sausage, fruit, and nut stuffing. Very savory and satisfying with hints of sweetness and some variation in texture. A lovely meal.
Primal Pork Explosion (With Sausage & Fruit Stuffing)
3 slices raw bacon
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1/2 apple, cored and diced
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon sage
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
2 tablespoons raisins
2 pastured pork sausage links (raw), casings removed
10-12 pieces raw bacon from pastured pigs
1 lb. pastured pork loin
Prepare your smoker. If you do not have a grill with smoking capabilities, preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and put your cast iron skillet in to heat with the oven.
Cook three slices of bacon. Remove from pan. Cook the diced onion until it begins to soften, 3-4 minutes. Add the apple and fennel seeds; cook until soft, 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in the walnuts and raisins, and crumble in the cooked bacon. When cool, stir in the raw sausage until well-mixed. Set aside the sausage stuffing.
Using a meat mallet, pound the pork loin to 1/2” thickness. Spread sausage stuffing in a layer on pork loin. Roll up tightly, pressing out any air pockets that might form.
Lay out 5-6 pieces of bacon–however much you need for the length of your pork loin plus a little extra for the ends. Weave the additional pieces of bacon into a basic square weave (start at minute 2 of this video if you don’t know how). Wrap in bacon layer, putting the seam side down and making sure both ends of the pork roll are covered. If you are worried about stuffing falling out of the ends, tuck your bacon weave or additional bacon over the ends, and fasten on with toothpicks. (Make sure to warn any dinner guests of the toothpicks!)
Smoke at 225 degrees, for about one hour per inch of thickness, or until interior hits 145 degrees. (Alternately, remove the very hot cast iron skillet from the oven. Put the roast in the skillet, and roast at 350 degrees, about 15 minutes per pound of total roll’s weight, until interior temperature reaches 145 degrees. If the bacon isn’t crispy to your liking, broil the Pork Explosion for 1-2 minutes, until bacon is crispier.) Allow to rest for five minutes; then slice and serve.