Return of Porkapotamus
The Sad, True Story of a 28-lb "Improvement"
on the Bacon Explosion

February 21, 2009 — Atlanta, Georgia

After our delicious (and well-documented) journey into the heart of Porkapotamus two weeks ago, we decided it was time to Go Big or Go Home. We were already home, so Going Big was all we had left.

Our first Porkapotamus was essentially a supersized riff on the Bacon Explosion, a 4-lb smoked food oddity made by wrapping bacon around sausage and more bacon. Our Porkapotamus leveraged the best parts of the original—the layered bacon matrix and the all-pigs-considered theme—then tripled the size by adding pulled pork, ham, pork tenderloin and other pork treats in a large-format smorgasbord using 3 lbs of bacon. It weighed in around 12 pounds before cooking, which rendered about 3 lbs of bacon fat into a smoky, piping-hot oven hazard. (This is important later.)

Skip forward two Saturdays and we had completed our schematic diagrams for a much larger Porkapotamus: this one would require 15 sq. feet of bacon woven into a complex matrix plus several more pounds of cooked bacon, 100 slices of Black Forest Ham, 6 feet of Italian sausage, one whole pork butt and two large pork tenderloins. It would take three men to move it to the outdoor grill...

28 lbs of Porkapotamus

That's a wrap: 28-lbs of porcine goodness.


Giant Porkapotamus

To Hell with Swine Flu. Not that you can get it from eating pork, anyway.


The next part of the story is less pleasant. Due to errors in our structural analysis (I measured our grill at 5' long; it's actually just shy of 4), we had to cut the beast in two to cook it. This was about as easy as bisecting Moby Dick. With this completed, it was smooth least until Susie notified us that the grill was on fire.

Now, we all love our grills and know they wouldn't be working if they weren't "on fire," so as usual, I assumed Susie's preternatural preoccupation with peril ("Did you remember to turn off the toaster?") was turning a hot spot into an inferno. We had planned for the inevitable result of flame-broiling 12 lbs of bacon, and had installed serious grease traps between the burners and the grate. These proved to be less than useful.

When we stepped outside, we were greeted by 7-foot flames shooting out the back of my Vermont Castings. Opening the lid was a very bad idea. I singed the hair off my face, arms and chest as a fireball launched out and up, torching high-up tree limbs. Five men risked their limbs to rescue the two blackened trunks of crusted meat from still-roiling flames and a few minutes later had succeeded. With the burnt bacon layer removed, we transferred the defeated Porkapotmus to the oven and slow cooked for the remaining 2 hours. Ironically enough, it was the 10-lb bacon matrix which both caused the fire and prevented destruction of the meal.

The picture below was taken roughly 10 minutes after the flames were quelled.

Porkapotamus Fire Hazard

Swine Song. We will live to fight Porkapotamus another day. This one almost led to a very real "Bacon Explosion."