MEAT CANDY As soon as I read his post, I knew it was only a matter of time before I made some of AB Canuck’s Meat Candy—it looked and sounded sooooo good. Well, the day finally arrived. I was home, between jobs, and had plenty of free time. So I started gathering the ingredients. Some I had on hand and some needed to be picked up. I decided not to bother posting this until the SMF transition was finished. First the dates. I wanted the best dates I could find, so I bought a container of Premium Khudri Dates from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Sounds impressive, doesn’t it. Probably shouldn’t mention I bought them at Wally World. LOL. Next the sausage meat. Charlie—AB Cancuk—had given me a sample mix of his sausage and one package contained some of his Italian Sausage, medium heat. They were perfect for me, but too hot for Miss Linda, so for hers I used some Costco Honey/Garlic sausage meat. I soon discovered that making these ABTs was time consuming, finicky, and real messy. The first order of business was to slice down one side of the date and remove the pit, leaving an opening for the sausage meat. Since I was making 3 dozen, this took quite a while, and left me with really sticky hands. OK, all the dates pitted and my hands washed, I was ready to stuff the dates. After removing the casings from the sausage links, I stuffed one dozen dates with Italian, one dozen with Honey/Garlic, and since I had some leftover pulled pork, I thought “Why not??” and stuffed the final dozen with that. To the pulled pork I added a generous amount of my pork rub for more flavor. Now stuffing 3 dozen dates with sausage meat and pulled pork was a pretty greasy job, so once again, I washed my hands. Charlie's Italian Sausage I rolled the bacon out with Miss Linda’s pastry roller to make each rasher thinner and longer so it would crisp up better. Then each stuffed date was wrapped in about 1/3 slice, stretching the bacon tight around it—no toothpicks required. I loaded all the dates onto a rack, ready for the smoker. It was a tight fit but I got them all on. After playing with a pound of greasy bacon it was about that time. Yep, you guessed it. Washed my hands again. The dates went into the MES at 240 degrees, the AMNPS loaded with Pecan and smoking away. Charlie’s instructions were to cook them for about 40 minutes, but as neither Miss Linda nor I like soft bacon, I left them in for one hour to allow the bacon to crisp up. We had some for supper that night. Just Meat Candy, salad, and some strawberry cream cheese on Stoned Wheat Thins (we had picked the cheese up from a small cheese maker on Vancouver Island). They were great!! The sausage thoroughly cooked and delicious, the bacon fairly crisp, and the dates soft and gooey. The taste--a combination of sausage, salty bacon, and sweet dates—was superb. The ones made with Italian sausage were the best IMO, but Miss Linda much preferred the milder Honey/Garlic. You’ve probably noticed I haven’t mentioned the dates filled with pulled pork. Well, there’s a good reason for that. They simply weren’t very good. Out of the three of us, my hound Roxy was the only one that ate them. Miss Linda and I each tried the obligatory one and had absolutely no desire to go for seconds. With 2 dozen great sausage filled ABTs awaiting us, there was no real reason to do anything but consign the PP dates to Roxy. Just as a side note, it took almost twice as long to prep these as it did to cook them. These are great ABTs. VERY messy to make, but well worth the effort. Many thanks to you, Charlie, for the idea and your delicious Italian sausage. Thanks for looking. Gary PS-- We nuked a few for lunch the next day. Just like pulled pork, they were even better the 2nd day.