Sparks BBQ in downtown Traverse City started with a passion for backyard grilling. Encouraged by family and friends’ endless compliments, owner and pitmaster Dean Sparks opened up a food truck at The Little Fleet. Serving slow smoked pulled pork, baby back ribs, and sandwiches topped with homemade coleslaw; the truck was a flaming success.
Today, barbecue lovers can also find Dean at his new brick and mortar restaurant at 439 E. Front St. Or fulfill your grill desires at home with one of Dean’s favorite recipes for a bacon bowl.
- 1 pound standard cut bacon
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes (each cut into 1/4)
- 2 kids cheese mozzarella cheese sticks, sliced into 1/4″ rings (fresh mozzarella would be tastier but more expensive)
- 10 leaves fresh basil (chopped)
- 1/4 cup thin slices red onion
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh garlic chopped
- 1 1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
Form a sheet of heavy duty foil around a 2 cup measuring cup with straight sides, not one that flares out. Remove foil template and set measuring cup to the side. Create a bacon weave basket over the aluminum foil and secure with toothpicks. Start with the bottom of the bowl and drape six strips of bacon in a radial pattern creating a solid bottom and overlapping in the center. To build the side walls, take a strip of bacon and begin weaving it around the sides starting at the base. Secure each end of bacon by sticking a toothpick through the foil. Three strips of bacon should create a finished bowl approximately 3 inches tall. Grill bacon bowl template over indirect heat on a grill until bacon is cooked and firms up, making sure bacon doesn’t shrink to the point of creating gaps in the weave. Remove from heat, remove bacon from the aluminum and set aside to cool. Trim top of bowl with scissors to make a level rim.
Toss remaining ingredients. Pour contents into bacon bowl and garnish with bacon trimmings from the rim.