Nothing says summer like the scent of fresh-cut grass, ashed-over charcoal and spice-rubbed meat gently smoking on the grill. With a little preparation, you can experience these heady fragrances simultaneously with the bacon sausage fatty.
There's little not to love with this rolled-up slice of heaven, an infinitely changeable combination of bacon, sausage, cheese, onion, jalapeno peppers, etc. I've even seen pictures of these smoked treats with hard-boiled eggs stuffed inside, although that's where I draw the line taste-wise. Regardless of what you decide to stuff your fatty with, the simple pork sausage construction prevents it from getting desicated on the grill, unless you forget and leave it on for five or six hours.
A full-sized fatty can be made with one pound of sausage and a gallon-sized freezer bag. If you want to make them smaller (to use a variety of stuffings), split that one pound chub of sausage into two pieces and flatten them in quart-sized bags. The smaller fatty lends itself to wrapping with bacon, rather than using the weave, but my slideshow here will demonstrate both methods. Both methods taste amazing, so it really comes down to personal preference.
Smoked Bacon Sausage Fatty
(The pictures here show two full-size fatties stuffed with burnt onions, cheese and some chopped pork burnt ends I needed to use. Remember that the possibilities here are endless - use your imagination!
What you need to get started
1 lb of ground sausage
1/2 cup shredded cheese (cheddar cheese or cheese curds)
Other fillings (cooked bacon, jalapeno peppers, onion, hard-boiled eggs, etc).
Sliced bacon (for wrapping/weaving)
Your favorite barbeque rub and/or sauce
Vinegar (I use cider or leftover pickle juice)
Please follow the steps in the attached list to complete your fatty. Remember to read everything twice before proceeding - this will ensure against surprises when you get to the final steps. Tight lines!
Bacon sausage fatty #1
Place your pound of sausage in a gallon-sized freezer bag. Alternatively, cut the sausage chub in half and place each half in separate quart-sized freezer bags. The pictures shown here are of a full-pound fatty.
Bacon sausage fatty #2
After sealing the bag most of the way (leave a small opening to allow air to escape) flatten the sausage with your hands or a rolling pin. Try to get a uniform thickness as you work into the corners and edges.
Bacon sausage fatty #3
Get your fillings ready to place in the middle of the flattened sausage. Cheese, peppers, cooked bacon, onion, anchovies, olives - anything goes here. Keep in mind that you will be smoking this around 225F, so your fillings should be cooked ahead of time. Pictured here are some pork burnt ends from last week, chopped and ready to go. I also sprinkled some of my favorite BBQ rub on the sausage before adding the filling.
Bacon sausage fatty #4
Use scissors to cut open both sides of the freezer bag and peel it back, leaving the sausage open. Place your fillings in the middle of the square area, spread out so you can roll the sausage around them to form a (mostly) even roll. Don't remove the sausage from the plastic yet.
Bacon sausage fatty #5
With the filling in place, carefully roll the sausage over the filling so that it's totally enclosed. If the sausage has warmed up at all, it's probably sticky and you can use the plastic bag to assist in rolling it. Make sure the ends are pinched shut to contain melted cheese and other goodness during the smoking process.
Bacon sausage fatty #6
Lay several pieces of bacon on your pan or cutting board. Overlap each strip with the next so that the fatty will be totally covered when it's wrapped in the bacon. Lay the roll across the layered bacon, and begin wrapping it one strip at a time. Be sure to handle the roll carefully as it can rip or split open.
Bacon sausage fatty #7
If you want your fatty to look more "manicured," go for the bacon weave. With average-sized bacon strips, lay three length-wise and follow up with three laid top-to-bottom, interweaving them as you go. Be sure to approximate this to the length of your fatty, so no large areas of sausage are left exposed. When the weave is complete, lay the fatty on the woven bacon and wrap it so that the bacon ends are overlapped.
Bacon sausage fatty #8
When your fatty (or fatties) are wrapped and ready, apply a generous sprinkling of your favorite BBQ rub to the outside. Keep them on a tray or rack that makes handling easy - stainless smoker grids or Bradley racks are great for this. Fatties pictured on a non-stick baking sheet.
Bacon sausage fatty #9
With your smoker set up for indirect smoking, start a pile of charcoal. Let it heat up and ash over before putting your wood on it. I usually start my first batch in the smoker so it's good and warmed up when the meat is ready for smoking. Plan on keeping your smoker temp around 225F for a cook time of 2 hours with constant smoke.
Bacon sausage fatty #10
Put your fatty at the far end of the smoker, so the indirect heat does the work, along with a constant stream of rich smoke. All of my smokes this year have been fueled with apple wood (a neighbors' old tree split in a storm last year and half of it ended up in my yard). After being cut up into foot-long lengths and split with a maul, each chunk pumps out plenty of smoke.
Bacon sausage fatty #11
Start checking the internal temperature of the fatty after an hour or so on the grill. Since the fatty is pork, you want a minimum internal temp of 160F. You will notice that the bacon wrap takes on a crispy, dark look as the fatty nears the finish line. The bacon should be firm to the bite - this is a good reason to use regular or thin-cut bacon (too thick and it doesn't crisp up and is more like chewing gum). In the last twenty minutes of smoking, mix up a small cup of your favorite sauce and some vinegar and baste the fatty once or twice for a little added zip.
Bacon sausage fatty #12
When the fatty hits 160F, pull it out of the smoker, cover with foil and allow it to rest for 15 minutes. This rest period lets the internal juices to redistribute, so that they won't drain out when you cut into the fatty. After the rest period, use a sharp knife to cut the fatty into slices. Let the cheese ooze out and enjoy these slices of heaven one at a time... Tight lines!