The Nasty Bits: Bacon-Wrapped Liver


At the summer cookout, I'm usually the girl jockeying for space on the grill for my liver kebabs. It's not that I don't like hamburgers and hot dogs. I do, I really do. Grilled liver is just so nice to have around as a side dish, next to the potato salad and the coleslaw. Even more so when the liver is wrapped in bacon and skewered.

If you're thinking, well, isn't bacon-wrapped-anything just an excuse to eat bacon, and I say to that, your point being...? Actually the two go together quite well—the bacon keeps the liver from overcooking or breaking off into chunks on the grill, much in the way you'd wrap an organ or a piece of meat in caul fat to keep it together.

In fact, don't scrimp on the bacon. Use a whole strip of thin-slice bacon per chicken or duck liver, and wrap it around and around the liver until the whole thing is the size of a golf ball. (Do you have to use chicken or duck? Well, no, but I think poultry liver is ideal - poultry liver is more tender, a little sweeter and milder, than beef or lamb, and so doesn't overwhelm the smoky goodness of the bacon.)

Do not under any circumstances drape the bacon artfully over the liver and expect the liver to stay put. The liver will ooze out of its bacon confines, through the grates of the grill, onto the bed of charcoal. It will be irretrievably lost, in other words, and you will have no choice but to eat hot dogs and hamburgers.

The only trick to this dish is to get the bacon crispy while properly cooking the liver within. Place the skewers over a fairly high flame, and grill until the bacon is browned. Then cut into one bacon-liver ball to see. If you use a large portion of a chicken or duck liver, chances are the liver will be under rather than overcooked, in which case you can finish the rest of the skewers over medium heat.

If you find yourself without a grill, never fear. You'd do just as well to broil this dish as to grill it. Broiling also affords the benefit of all that collected bacon fat in the pan. Never a bad thing.