BURGER EXPERIMENTALISM VOL. 3: RIDE THE BACON SNAKE
THIS IS THE END,
THIS IS THE END
MY ONLY FRIEND, THE END….
OF OUR ELABORATE PLANS, THE END…
OF EVERYTHING THAT STANDS, THE END…
I came-to with the sound of a faint chopper hammering the air above me. The bleary soft focus of the sunlight flared in my retinas, resolving in the furrowed brow of my scowling wife.
…NO SAFETY OR SURPRISE, THE END…
I’LL NEVER LOOK INTO YOUR EYES…. AGAIN…
“We fucking have kids now, Jake. You can’t pull this shit.”
What shit I had pulled I still wasn’t sure of. Where had I been? In the yard? At the smoker? De Nang, at some kind of bizarre hooker mojo dance show? For some reason that one sounded most familiar. I stood and looked at the faces of my children. They looked back, unaware of the broken consciousness hiding behind their father’s eyes. I felt my beard, thank god it was still there. I squinted and turned toward the thickets of the bamboo, the Gregorian beasts were long gone. Probably taking Aleister Crowley with them. Who knows where. That asshole, Morrison, had clearly split. Leaving in his place a giant pile of hot raccoon shit that I only now noticed buzzing right next to my split open head. At least I hoped it was raccoon. I had a brief vision of all of them waiting for me to join them under the house in porcine orgy, but I knew they’d never go subterranean.
…CAN YOU PICTURE WHAT WILL BE? SO LIMITLESS AND FREE?…
My head was a firetrap jungle dance and my mouth was a salted desert, the tongue acting as the prickling cactus. My palms shined greasy, glinting in the too bright sun. My blood felt like an over-brined loin chop. I did a stumbling time warp float from the grass, where I had been, toward the kitchen. I stopped. Clearly, shit had gone down: The meat grinder torn asunder in some kind of purposeful hazard, it’s blade still whirling, spitting out an all too secret code that I myself had coded only hours earlier. A pool of sodden room temperature pig blood. Greasy hand prints all over a discarded bottle of Scotch. Morrison, the prick. I was pretty sure he was the one to blame for all of this. Showing up halfway through the party, right as I was eating, only to spew some shitty poetry and drink all the booze. Figures. Since when were leather pants a good– And then there it was, staring at me. I looked into it’s maw and saw the smiling tiger. Burger? Yeah right, asshole I thought you came to play with the big boys… and for the first time, I felt the full weight of my bloated corpse hanging off my bones. As I said, shit had gone down. When you open your mind, you better make damn sure you don’t peal it all back so hard you break it.
…RIDE THE SNAKE, RIDE THE SNAKE TO THE LAKE, THE ANCIENT LAKE…
It had all started easily enough. Make a burger that redefines a B.L.T. Tinker with process and heat just enough to make a patty that is entirely bacon, which means mostly pork fat, hold together while still rendering appropriately and tasting delicious. And that first taste, it’s always free isn’t it? Maybe it was the smoke. Maybe it was the nitrates. Maybe it was Charlie. But the burger was mostly gone and I was mostly fucked up.
Retracing my steps, I remember the glinty smile of the hipster butcher duchebag at Whole Foods when he handed me all that bacon. I didn’t want to admit my plans, so instead I mumbled something about an ironic t-shirt line. How many pig tattoos does the world need anyway? Waiting till he had turned his back I bit my knuckle in a Sicilian sign of imminent cursed death assuming it would for somebody half Irish and not at all Sicilian. Then I took a tomato from the heirloom section and walked on down the aisle.
I went to the room where The Wolf lies and kissed her goodnight.
I went to the room where my son sleeps and tucked him in.
And then I walked on down the hall. To the kitchen, where I found the grinder.
I hit it with some smoked slab, began paddling the grind and went outside and lit a fire. It spoke to me. It wanted pork. In lulling red and yellow undulations it spoke of the chieftain, he wore no clothes. He would come to me in the intervening hours and open doors to a truer spirit vision. I checked the half empty IPA, what in the fuck did these wet hops have in them? Heavy Machinery was going to cost me a finger or two before the end of the night… If only I had been so lucky.
…THE SNAKE IS LONG, SEVEN MILES… RIDE THE SNAKE, HE’S OLD AND HIS SKIN IS COLD…
Sonofabitch! I squinted and shook my head, re-entering the shambled room I had mentally left maybe minutes or maybe hours earlier. The grinder was still calling to me in its whirring, deadly siren song. Looking down, I confirmed that I still had all fingers, but something told me not to check the toes.
“You in there? I said I’m taking the kids to the Nature Center. You kept spewing bullshit to your daughter about some snake. She thinks there’s a carnival ride there now. You happy? She’s two.”
I waved my tingling arm and they walked out. The parting shot was something about having the shit cleaned up when they got home. I slumped into the chair. Jesus. I’m a grown man, where was I? Where was the snake? There it was. There it was, half-eaten, half-empty. Half-full, really. Kind of coagulated but still… I put it back to my lips. I mean… it’s bacon. Besides, that was an heirloom tomato on there. Those pricks are expensive.
The Double Smoked BLT Burger (aka, The Bacon Snake)
The key here is high quality bacon. If you cure your own, all the better. In this case I bought some store smoked stuff, which worked just fine. Tomatoes are also a crucial component, so get the best of everything. Surprisingly, when cooked over indirect heat in the smoker, the bacon patty is neither salty nor greasy. But provides the texture of a perfect burger with a long, intense bacon flavor.
1lb slab or very thick cut bacon, cut into chunks
1 very ripe heirloom tomato
Chewy, toothsome bread like fresh ciabatta
Light your smoker, get a fire going to about 275-300 degrees. Grind the bacon on the largest die of your grinder. Refridgerate it till it gets extremely cold. Using the paddle attachment on a mixer, paddle the ground bacon for 2 full minutes on medium speed. The meat should look hairy at the end of it. Scrape out the bowl and form 2 half pound patties. Pepper them liberally and place them on a cooling rack over a sheet pan—both should be small enough to fit in your smoker. Place the rack with the bacon patties in the smoker and smoke for about 2 hours, until the outsides of the patties are browned and some fat has rendered from the burgers. Slice your tomatoes and build your burger. Smear mayonnaise on both sides of the bun and toast it aggressively. Layer on a little more mayo and add the lettuce, bacon patty and then tomato. Eat. Do not attempt to do anything at all for several hours after.