Smokin' a Fatty
The Fatty: A bacon-wrapped stuffed sausage you'll want to experience again and again.
What’s a Fatty, you ask? The history of the Fatty is seemingly a short one, having first been mentioned in competitive barbecue circles back in 2004 where the term “Fatty” was coined to describe a popular dish that pitmasters were making at the time. The original Fatty (often now called the Naked Fatty) is a 1lb. roll of breakfast sausage (such as Jimmy Dean) that may be seasoned with barbecue rubs and placed on a smoker for a couple of hours. The Fatty’s popularity grew among barbecue enthusiasts and soon after, variations of the Fatty, often stuffed with anything you can imagine and wrapped in bacon, began to appear on the scene and have taken a foothold. Today, the term Fatty can be used to describe anything that is essentially rolled pork sausage, stuffed with anything from cheese to vegetables, eggs to bacon, wrapped in more bacon and seasoned or sauced to taste.
My version of the Fatty can be used as a starting point for any combination of tastes or ingredients and you won’t believe how absolutely effortless this can be to make such a flavorful delicacy on the grill. Fatties make a tasty appetizer, meal or snack and with the possibility of stuffing it with any of your favorite foods, it’s a versatile canvass for pairing with anything. Here’s what you need to get started:
- 1lb. Pork Sausage (I combine ½ lb. Country-style Pork Sausage with ½ lb. Italian Sausage)
- 1lb. Thick-sliced Bacon (approximately 12-14 strips)
- 1 cup Sharp White Cheddar Cheese
- 2 cloves Garlic, minced
- ½ cup minced Onion
- ½ cup minced Green Pepper
- Your favorite Croix Valley BBQ Dry Rub
Begin assembling your Fatty by weaving a mat of bacon on top of plastic wrap or a cutting board. To weave the bacon, begin by placing 6-7 strips of bacon next to each other and weave another 6-7 strips of bacon perpendicular to the others until you have a square woven mat of bacon. This is a basic weave pattern, the same you would use for weaving a basket.
Next, combine your sausage and press flat on top of another piece of plastic wrap into a square shape the same size as your bacon weave. Try adding your favorite spices, rubs or barbecue sauce to the pork sausage for additional flavor. Spread remaining ingredients on top of sausage and roll the sausage up into a nice log shape, pinching the ends and seams to ensure your stuffing does not run out. Remember, the stuffing ingredients here are only a suggestion. Many Fatties include diced hot peppers, crumbled bacon, poached eggs, hashbrowns, mushrooms – the sky is the limit!
Place your rolled sausage on top of the bacon weave and roll the bacon around the sausage, keeping the ends of the bacon on the bottom of your Fatty (refer to photos to see what it should look like ready for the grill). Place Fatty on the grill over indirect heat and cook for 1 ½ to 2 hours until it has reached an internal temperature of 160°F. This recipe is best done on a charcoal grill or smoker, utilizing lump charcoal and hardwood chunks for smoke and flavor, but can be easily done on a gas grill as well by adding wood chips in a smoker box or foil pouch and placing the Fatty on one side of the grill with the burners directly under it turned off. It couldn’t be easier to do either. With a grill ready to go, you can set the Fatty on the grill, walk away and forget about it for a while, leaving the air vents of your grill only open about ¼ of the way to maintain a low, slow heat.
There’s an adage in the barbecue community that says “you’ll never forget your first Fatty”. The statement is a true harbinger of your grilling experiences yet to come, as your first Fatty will not be your last. As unique and delicious as your imagination can make it, the Fatty is a pure endeavor into the creative that you and your guests will be craving again!
Keep on grillin’!