At The Ricky Shack with Richard George
Some people have referred to this recipe as a Bacon Explosion. I like to think of it as a Bacon-Burger Bomb. I hope you will find it as much fun to prepare as I do and will enjoy the many flavors when you take that first bite. Experiment with different combinations. You might not go back to simply putting a round burger on your grill!
Begin with eight strips of thin-sliced bacon. Lay them in a vertical pattern on butcher paper or other non-stick (silicone) mat. Weave another eight strips horizontally: Fold back in half every other vertical slice. Lay the horizontal slice down, flip back those folded slices, flip other vertical slice back and repeat horizontal slice. Keep slices snug, as you are weaving a bacon blanket!
Mix approximately 1 pound of venison with 1 pound of hot sausage – or, for less adventurous guests, mix ground chuck with sausage, or just use your favorite hamburger blend and no sausage.
Gently mix the ground meats and roll onto the bacon weave, leaving a 1-inch border of bacon showing so you can tightly roll it later. Sprinkle with your favorite barbecue dry rub; some of my favorites are Bad Byron’s Butt Rub, Stubb’s Bar-B-Q Spice Rub or Jack Daniel’s Pork Rub. Choose and sprinkle according to your heat/sweet preference!
You can add chopped onions, mushrooms or peppers as desired. Now cover with cheddar cheese slices or cheese of your preference.
Roll this burger tightly and then secure with the bacon weave, making sure the ends are closed. Refrigerate.
Prepare your indirect fire or utilize the place-setter, legs up, on Big Green Egg. Stabilize at approximately 300 degrees. Add hickory or mesquite chips for flavor. Cook for 30 minutes; roll over 1/3 of the way, making sure bacon weave remains tight. Cook another 30 minutes and roll the rest of the way over so you have cooked on all sides. Internal temperature recommendation for medium is 150 degrees, with bacon to your desired crispness.
For added flavor, lightly drizzle with the vinegar-based Ollie’s BBQ sauce, an old Birmingham favorite, or The Little Dooey, a BBQ sauce from the Mississippi State University friendly restaurant just off campus in Starkville.
Tent and rest to allow the cheese and juices to settle.
Cut, butter and lightly toast your buns on the grill. Set out any condiments for burgers. Slice and serve a complex but delightful cheeseburger with chips.