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ON THE GRILL
Bacon is Great on the Grill
By John Clarke
The big fatty phat burger/sausage roll
Who doesn’t like the taste of bacon and the smell that comes from the kitchen when
it is cooking? We like it on a burger, on top of a salad—some even like it in ice cream.
So let’s do something fun with bacon, hamburger and sausage, a triumvirate of tasty
morsels that need to be in a whole new setup. The Fatty Phat RoU is thus born.
We all remember using bacon to cook meatloaf. In this slightly similar technique,
we will wrap our meat in a woven bacon mat. It is much simpler to create than it may
seem: just a slab of beautifully sliced bacon, some parchment paper and a few minutes
of your time is all it takes to master this piece of meat art. So what are you waiting for?
Grab some bacon and let’s start weaving. There are different cuts of bacon to consider,
too, but I prefer to use the thicker cuts because you get more bacon.
Step 1—Lay out 5,6, or 7 slices of bacon, depending on the size of your bacon,
horizontally, one slice under the other, on a sheet of parchment paper. (The goal is to
have a bacon square the size of a flattened gallon zipper bag, as explained below.) Do
not skip the parchment paper as it makes it easier to transfer your bacon weave when it
is finished. A search for “bacon weave” on YouTube.com will produce many tutorials to
demystify this technique. Also, SmokedMeatwithJef is an excellent YouTube channel for
this and other grilling tips.
Step 2—Starting with the 2nd piece of horizontal bacon, fold back every other strip
about the width of a piece of bacon to begin the weave. Place a strip vertically in the
space and fold the horizontal pieces back into place.
Step 3—Now start with the first piece of horizontal bacon and fold back every other
strip. It will become obvious that you must now work from the opposite side of your
horizontal strips. Place a strip vertically in the space and fold the horizontal pieces back
into place. Continue this pattern, alternating horizontal rows, to create a woven square
of bacon. Set the weave aside while you prepare the internal part of the loaf.
Summer Intern Eli Valsing
(Continued from page 18)
After years of traveling, she decided upon a career change, something that would
keep her closer to home and family. In 2003, she became the business manager at
Public Impact, an education policy and management firm in Chapel Hill. In 2011, she
was hired by the College of Design at NC State University as the project coordinator for
the Natural Learning Initiative. These positions required skills in office management,
including fiscal planning, grant writing, personnel training, events planning, communi
cations, marketing and project evaluation. In 2016, she entered the masters program in
public administration at UNC where she was discovered by our Pine Knoll Shores town
At the time of our conversation, Eli had been on board for just two weeks. During that
time, her responsibiUties had included preparing memos and working with the Parks and
Recreation Committee (PARC) on the construction of a survey to gather information
from residents on their preferences for future planning and funding. Eli attends town
nieetings and feels privileged to have been given the chance to serve in a small town that
can provide her with opportunities to learn all aspects of local government.
Eli keeps fit by rising and running at 5:30 a.m. and also by working out at the Sports
Center. She is an outdoor enthusiast who enjoys hiking and anything to do with the
Outdoors. In Carrboro, Eli and Chris grow garlic, peppers, peas, lettuce, beans and
asparagus in raised beds. There are no tomatoes, however; after years of trying, they
have surrendered to the squirrels. Chris continues to play with The Red Clay Ramblers
as well as other local bands. In addition, he runs an electronic document compliance
business for federal and state documents.
Admittedly Eli is an unusual nickname. I had to ask in closing how someone
named Elizabeth came to be called Eli. Much like her career, her nicknames have tran
sitioned. Liz, Lizzie Lou, and Lou have all served time as Eli’s monikers. Eli was given
to her by a New York dancer in one of her shows. It suited her, she began using it, and
she introduced herself as Eli when she met her husband. It now appears on all of her
There are many types of sausage available, and I will leave it up to you to choose.
Jimmy Dean or Neese’s are good choices that can be found in most grocery stores. Also,
the IGA on Highway 24 makes its own country sausage, which is very good. If you
want to use sausage made by local farmers/butchers, stop by the Friendly Market on
Bridges Street and Jennifer Lee will introduce you to their selections produced by Shoe
Branch Farm (facebook.com/shoebranchfarm) in Newport and Rainbow Meadows
(rmfpasturepuremeats.com) in Snow Hill. Sausage from these companies is made from
heritage hogs, which I consider to be a much better product and worth the higher cost.
Italian sausage also works well.
Mix one pound of sausage with a similar amount of ground beef. Once you have
the two well combined, place the meat in a one-gallon zipper bag. We want to shape
the meat into a square slightly smaller than the bacon weave. If necessary, clip each of
the corners of the plastic bag (opposite the zip edge) to allow air to escape as you use a
rolling pin to form a square. (When making your bacon mat as described above, use the
zipper bag as your size guide.). Once the meat has the desired shape and size, cut open
the bag along the sides and transfer your meat mixture on top of the bacon weave.
Top off the meat mixture with some cooked chopped bacon, red onions, and
possibly some pickled or freshly cut jalapenos (temove the seeds to cut down on the
heat). Fresh spinach or other greens may also be added. Sprinkle generously with
shredded sharp cheddar or pepper jack cheese, and apply a dusting of your favorite rub.
I enjoy Old Bay seasoning on hamburger; give this a try or select a sweet rub if desired.
Use a few tablespoons of a barbecue sauce in the center of the mix. Press the mix so that
it is about an inch from the edges of the bacon weave.
Slowly lift the edge of the parchment paper and the weave to start making a log
shape. Moving slowly down the weave, press and roll your mixture, keeping a firm hand
as your roll and pull back the paper. You should finish with a nicely formed log. Wrap
the log in the parchment paper (or plastic wrap), making sure to close the ends, and
place in the refrigerator for approximately an hour.
While the meat chills, prepare the grill. We are going to smoke the log at 250 degrees
for about 2-3 hours, so set your grill up for indirect cooking. If desired, you can add
more of your favorite rub to the log before beginning to cook. Position the log on a wire
rack with the bacon weave seam on the bottom. Place a disposable drip pan under the
meat as there wiU be a fair amount of dripping grease.
You will need a good instant read meat thermometer. I prefer the Thermo Works
digital instant read model as it is very fast and accurate. When the internal temperature
reaches 155 degrees, crank up the grill temperature to about 325 and cook for
approximately 15 additional minutes to get the internal temperature to 165 degrees.
Grill times vary, so check with the thermometer to gauge doneness. During this final
stage of cooking you can baste the log with barbecue sauce if desired, but be mindful
that sugar is a staple ingredient of most sauces and can easily burn. Use a Kansas
City-style sauce or use any Eastern NC vinegar sauce and add either Heinz 57 or some
Stubbs brand sauces to cut down on the sugar while keeping the flavor strong.
Once you have reached the proper temperature, remove the log from the grill and
bring inside to rest for at least 10 minutes. Once rested, cut the log into hamburger
bun-sized pieces and place on your rolls or simply eat like you would have eaten a nice
slice of Mom’s Wednesday night meatloaf. Pair with lettuce and tomato and a bit more
onion or a nice garden salad if eating minus the bun. Enjoy.
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