I’m a bit late to this party; like many of you, I heard last week about the Bacon Explosion, a calorie-laden roll of sausage and bacon that’s slow-grilled and served with barbecue sauce. It’s a top-rated New York Times story, and has been hitting lots of blogs, in large part because of the creators’ savvy use of Twitter and the Web. “This is the fourth time I heard about this today,” said one of my co-workers, who was not an enthusiast, when the story made the rounds at work.
The Times story touches not just on the porky roll itself but on the broad reaction to it. Readers seem to either rally enthusiastically or recoil in horror. An e-mail exchange in our office typifies the range; one colleague said, “It should be served with a defibrillator”; another replied, “If by ‘defibrillator’ you mean some kind of blue cheese sauce, I’m all for it.” But is it a Recipe of the Damned?
If I were still a vegetarian, I’d probably be horrified but intrigued, seeing it as a kind of culinary car wreck. Really, now. Two pounds of bacon plus two pounds of sausage, 5,000 calories, 500 grams of fat; what can possibly go right here? Add the risk of the drippy roll catching fire when cooked over open flame, and it cries out for a kind of food “Intervention.” (“I love you, but I’m afraid if you eat this you’re going to die, and I don’t want to lose you. Please accept this offer of help, a spinach salad and a club soda.”)
On the other hand, these guys aren’t claiming it’s health food, or an everyday offering. The creators are barbecue enthusiasts who were trying to come up with something special. They are using real ingredients (even encouraging cooks to make their own spice rubs and sausage), and are certainly not recommending that anybody eat the whole thing at once. (Could one? I don’t want to know.) It’s decadent and overwhelming, but, truth be told, it also sounds pretty tasty.
If you think it’s wrong to kill animals for food, the Bacon Explosion must seem like a particularly egregious insult. But for anybody else who doesn’t find it appealing, it seems more laughable than insulting. Yes, if you’re trying to watch your weight, an allowable serving would probably be less than half of a quarter-inch-thick slice, but it’s pretty easy to avoid. Nobody is likely to place the Bacon Explosion on school lunch menus or make it a mandatory holiday food; it’s not going to displace Thanksgiving turkey in most U.S. households. (One or two, maybe.) Timing of the story may be a factor too; if you’re not a morning person and need to be into your second cup of coffee before you can entertain the thought of food or serious conversation, seeing this porky excess in your morning news roundup could get your day off to an upsetting start. But though I have no intention of trying to make the Bacon Explosion myself, and probably wouldn’t even if I had a smoker, I can’t class this one as Damned.