In celebration of National Bacon Month, here are some of my favorite foods to grill wrapped in bacon. Use the following ideas as a springboard for your own imagination. Sweetbreads? Asparagus? Pears? The possibilities are endless.
In the best of all worlds you'd use homemade bacon, or a good artisanal brand like Nueske's of Wisconsin. (You may be surprised to learn that most supermarket bacon is injection-flavored with brine and liquid smoke.)
Village Hammers (Bacon-Grilled Prunes): Stuff pitted prunes with batons of Gouda cheese, then wrap each with short pieces of bacon (cut strips crosswise into halves or thirds), securing with a knotted skewer or small bamboo skewer. (Have most of the skewer on one side, so it looks like a hammer handle.) Direct grill over medium-high heat until the bacon is crisp and the cheese is melted, 2 to 3 minutes per side, turning frequently with tongs. Slide a grill shield or rectangle of folded foil under the exposed part of the skewer to keep it from burning.
Bacon-Grilled Watermelon: Cut a fresh watermelon into 1-inch chunks. Place a thin slice of halloumi or other salty cheese on top of each and wrap with a strip of bacon (cut crosswise into halves or thirds). Secure with toothpicks. Direct grill over medium-high heat, turning frequently with tongs, until the bacon is brown and crisp, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
Bacon-Jalapeￃﾱo-Grilled Shrimp: Top raw, peeled, deveined jumbo shrimp with thin slices of fresh jalapeￃﾱo chiles and sprigs of cilantro. Wrap each with bacon (cut crosswise into halves or thirds), and secure with a toothpick. Grill over medium-high heat until the bacon is brown and crisp and the shrimp is cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes in all, turning once with tongs.
Bacon-Grilled Bocconcini: Wrap well-chilled bocconcini (bite-size mozzarella balls) with large basil leaves, then with bacon or pancetta strips (cut crosswise into halves or thirds). Secure with toothpicks. Grill over medium-high heat, turning as needed, until the bacon is brown and crisp and the cheese is just beginning to melt, 3 to 5 minutes in all.
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Steven Raichlen is the author of the Barbecue! Bible cookbook series and the host of Primal Grill on PBS. His web site is BarbecueBible.com.