After the Power of Bacon video I shared last night, I felt that I needed to back up my stated love of bacon with some proof.
I’ve shared things on the blog about bacon before, but it occured to me that most of the time I’m sharing with you the passion other people have shown for bacon. I’m not giving you any examples of the lengths I have gone for bacon in my own past.
Time to rectify that.
Back in the old, old days, as a US Marine stationed in Camp Pendleton, California, our unit would frequently have beachside PT parties.
I surfed a lot back then, and played a ton of volleyball, so being one of the beach-dude sergeants in the unit I sometimes found myself ‘volunteered’ to run ladder volleyball competitions (department against department, of course) in tandem with company-wide beachside cookouts.
I had to bring food just like all the other NCOs and officers, but I also had to make sure all the gear was grabbed from MWR for the volleyball and get the setup and organization done, run around getting things squared away, etc. I didn’t want to stick myself with a dish that would take a lot of nursemaiding, in case shit came up that pulled me away.
There is no excuse for failing in a task, even bringing a dish to a potluck picnic type thang. If your food sucks, you don’t get to whine, “But Gunny, I had to go get Motor T and Supply over to field four, I didn’t have time to stir the jambalaya, it’s not my fault, waah.”
No, I had to anticipate what was likely to happen, and plan accordingly. My friends, sing along with me the same old song, “Prior Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance.”
Ah, the classics never go out of style.
So, since the first lesson is “no plan survives contact with the enemy”, I had to anticipate that no matter how well organized I had the events, shit would come up that would drag me away from my dish. I had to have something that would feed a lot of Marines and also take very little of my time during the actual competition and events.
A ‘fire and forget’ meal, if you will.
This, then, was my self-directed mission. To come up with a dish that would be damn tasty (pride is on the line here, you don’t just half-ass anything in the Marines, even a meal. Dear lord, especially a meal.), feed a big crew, be easy to transport, and take however long it took to prep but require very little attention once game time came around so I’d be free to run around watching teams and keeping track of the ladder match-ups.
This was my solution;
Bacon-Wrapped Brown Sugar Devil Dogs
In short form, what you’re doing is taking bacon, wrapping it around mini-sausages, and then putting them in a crock pot a layer at a time, covering each layer in brown sugar.
The tools you’ll need:
A ‘really big’ crock pot or slow cooker and some tongs. That’s it. You can use a regular sized or small crock pot, of course, but you’ll fit in less sausages, and that’s a sad thing. I prefer the oval style crock pots. You’ll see why later.
The ingredients you’ll need;
3 pounds of regular-cut smoked bacon, what countries other than the US might call ‘breakfast bacon’.
1 large box of brown sugar.
3 packages of mini-sausages, the precooked kind that in the US we commonly call “Lil’ Smokies”.
1 package wood toothpicks OR wooden satay skewers.
How to prep;
Cut the bacon strips into halves or thirds, depending on the bacon. The goal is to have a piece of uncooked bacon just long enough to wrap around the circumference of the mini-sausage, overlapping a little bit.
Lay out the ingredients like a production line; a bowl of mini-sausages, a pile of bacon pieces, a pile of toothpicks (or skewers) and the crock pot. Keep the brown sugar in a box to the side.
Take a mini-sausage, wrap a piece of bacon around it, pin in place with a toothpick all the way through, and put in the crock pot. The toothpick should hold the bacon on the mini-sausage.
Long wooden toothpicks work well for this, because they extend far enough through the mini-sausage to make it hard for the bacon to slide off while cooking.
Pro Tip, over time I started using wooden satay skewers instead of toothpicks, with multiple bacon-wrapped mini-sausages on each skewer. It works very, very, VERY well, especially since the skewers have less tendency to stick to each other in the pot like masses of toothpicks do. The drawback is, they are best used when you have an oval-style crock pot to let them all lay flat. Most crock pots are the round style and it’s hard to get the skewers to fill it in even layers.
Place the bacon-wrapped mini-sausages in the crock pot until you’ve got a solid layer, then cover that layer with brown sugar.
Keep repeating this, make another layer and cover with brown sugar, until the pot is mostly full of layers with brown sugar covering the top. Then put the lid on and get cooking.
How to cook;
Cook in the crock pot on high about 4 to 5 hours.
Walk away, you’re done. Hell yes!
The important thing to remember is the mini-sausages were already cooked when you put them in, and will just get better the longer they steep in hot brown sugar/bacon fat.
Note I didn’t say they would get healthier. If your health is a concern to you, you should have stopped reading this a long, long time ago. Don’t just walk away, take your granola-eating bran-munching low fat ass and RUN AWAY RUN AWAY NOW.
As the dish cooks, the bacon cooks off, the fat and juices blend with the brown sugar to create a sauce you wouldn’t believe, and all of this just… it just gets better and better over time without your having to do anything. You don’t even have to stir it, since the cover keeps all the moisture in the pot to rain down on the top layers, forming a crust.
You’ll be able to tell they’re done when all the bacon is fully cooked through on the top layers. If the top is done, the bottom layers are good to go.
I would spend the night before prepping it all, then leave the pot cooking all night long. Unplug, carry to the beach, set to ‘warm’ with tongs on the side to fish ’em out of the pot, and walk away, mission accomplished.
I hope the next time you have a get together and your thoughts turn to bacon, you’ll keep this treat in mind!