Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Bacon Heart Explosion

Note: Not optimized recipe; this cites merely what I did.

Bacon Heart Explosion

A meatloaf made with ground beef heart, wrapped entirely in bacon.
Prep: 10-20 minutes
Cook time: Approx. 2 hours
Servings: About 8

2 pounds of thick cut bacon
2 pounds of ground beef heart
1 egg
Approximated coconut flour
2 tsp. of salt
2 tsp. (or tbsp!) of chili powder
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder

1.) Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. You don't want the bacon to crispify or burn before the beef is cooked, so slow is the way to go.

2.) Lay out the bacon in a weave format on a baking sheet. To do that: First, lay one pound in a row going down the width of the pan. To interlace the other pound, pull back every other strip of bacon and then lay one strip down facing in a perpendicular direction, and then lay down the pulled back strips over on top. Pull back the other columns and repeat in this in an alternating fashion until you run out of room or bacon. It should look similar to this when finished. 

3.) Put the ground heart in a large mixing bowl, drain off any fluids, and message in the spices, seasoning, and egg. Afterward, message in the coconut flour -- just add in the barest amount to make it retain any fluids or egg, or skip altogether if everything integrates fine. Place the beef on the bacon grid.

4.) Now form the whole thing into a log. You can accomplish this by either hand-molding the beef heart into a log -- making sure it's as wide as the bacon weave -- moving it to one end, and then wrapping the weave around it, or you can flatten the heart out into the same shape and dimensions as the bacon weave and then form the log as you roll. I opted for the former.

5.) Stick a roast thermometer in the center and roast for one to two hours, until the temperature reaches that of your desired meat doneness. Beef heart may be an organ meat, but it's still beef, so treat it like regular hamburger and judge accordingly.

6.) Optional: broil on high the last few minutes to get a crispy bacon top.

7.) Slice and serve immediately!

I first heard of the Bacon Explosion through another paleo-minded friend of mine and have been intrigued with it. I did try the pork sausage version minus the barbecue sauce with great success, but I must admit that I prefer the beef heart version, as it's cheaper, more nutritious, and more to my taste. It's quite filling and satisfying, so it works great for normal dinners, dinner parties, or single-person meals if you want a lot of leftovers. I definitely enjoy this for breakfast.

I need to work on my spice portioning, however. The salt I think is perfect, but I could have done better to up the chili powder, my current favorite spice blend, and the garlic and onion powder. The beef didn't have much body, which left the bacon to dominate. Also, I forgot to fry up my leftover bacon for integration inside the loaf and so neglected a flavor opportunity there. I won't forget that for next time. I might also ditch the onion powder for chopped onions next time as well. 

Functionally, I considered this recipe mastered, as I can create the bacon weave, form the loaf, and all, but still haven't mastered flavor optimization, so I'll definitely be toying with this recipe in the future. I might even try a version with a different type of meat, like beef tongue. Or heck, why not a blend of heart and tongue? 

While this meal may seem indulgently expensive it's actually a bargain. I can get beef heart for 99 cents a pound at my local grocery store/slaughter house and grind it myself, and if I buy the bacon in bulk it only costs $2.49 a pound. The high fat content of this meals makes for great leftovers for a single person, so you could go at it for three to four days easily. Try it with some fried or scrambled eggs and some kale chips. 

I haven't got into making any sauces yet, so I certainly need to work to formulate a paleo-friendly one, most likely a type of hot sauce. I'll probably get to making this again in a very short time.   

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