Heart Attack Hash {Katie’s Favorite}

Heart Attack Hash
For Katie When She’s Old
Down at the local pool
An old lady swims the fly.
She wears an ancient Speedo
A relic from days gone by.
Her shoulders are broad with muscles
She still has her swimmer’s “V”.
Her eyes are blue with a twinkle
And she’s tall as a redwood tree.
The speeding sound of her stroke-kick-kick
Echoes from ceiling to floor.
It’s rumored that she’s part fish, part bird
With fins and feathers galore.
One day I asked her what she thinks
While flying endless laps.
What wild imagination lurks
Beneath her swimming caps?
A wry grin spread across her face,
She winked and then she said,
“Lord of the Rings and similar things;
I quote them in my head.”
Now and again she takes a break
To spout water in arcing sprays.
Watching, I get the impression
She’s reliving her glory days.
Once in a while when she exits the pool
She waves to an unseen crowd.
Then cupping her hands around her mouth
Calls “Go Miners!”, long and loud.
I marvel as she walks away
She’s tough as bootstrap leather;
At times I even catch a glimpse
Of shimmering fin and feather.

This is second of my three posts about my children’s favorite birthday meals and is dedicated to Katie, my youngest child.  This has been her favorite meal since she was about 3 years old…that’s 19 years of Heart Attack Hash for almost every birthday.  I think that there have only been two birthdays that Katie asked for something else, both times requesting Joe’s Crab Shack.  Sometimes a girl just has to have a little change of pace.

Let me tell you a little bit about this meal of meals.  Try to maintain your dignity while reading the next sentence. There’s bacon, sausage, polska kielbasa, potatoes, onions, and cheese with some salt and pepper thrown in for good measure.  It is addicting and it is difficult to stop eating it once you start.  It’s one of those things where you say, “Okay this is my last bite….Okay, now this is my last bite….Okay, one more bite and then I’ll stop….Would someone please make me stop eating this….Okay, fine; then would someone please hurry up and eat the last bite so that we can all walk away from the table.”  I dunno; make a salad and some whole wheat rolls to go along with this dish.  It will bring you a measure of dietetic peace.

Heart Attack Hash became an all time family favorite when my kids were little.  We used to have a yearly camping trip with my husband’s extended family when our children were young and this dish was #1 on the hit parade every year.  It was the meal we all craved and our campsites would ring with the sounds of happy kids and grunting manly-man noises while the dinner was being prepared in multiple dutch ovens.  Although outrageously heavy, it was the perfect evening meal after a day filled with miles of hiking (and chasing Katie–she ran everywhere we went and was always a hair’s breadth away from disaster) and evenings cool enough to require coats.  The men would wrap the left-overs in foil packets and then heat them in the camp-fire the next morning for breakfast.  They would stand around eating out of the foil and make more manly-man grunting noises while shoveling plastic forksful of meat, potatoes, and gooey melted cheese in their mouths.

The name for this recipe was originally dubbed “Bear Lake Special” by the family member with whom the recipe had originated.  To me, the name seemed too innocuous for something as loaded as this little wonder.  I remember the first time I stood gobbling it up and making my own grunting noises, I thought, “I am going to have a heart attack from eating this and I don’t care.  What a way to go!”  After that, our family started calling it Heart Attack Hash, but everyone else still calls it Bear Lake Special.

I am absolutely certain that this has zero health benefits.  It is one of those things that I can only bring myself to make and eat once a year.  But, it must be made and eaten because it is a treasured family recipe and it is as laden with wonderful memories as it is with calories and cholesterol.

While it is at its carnal best when made outdoors in a cast iron dutch oven, it can also be made indoors in basic kitchenware with excellent results.  Warning: For those over 45– if you are on a statin for cholesterol, double your dose for this meal.  If you are not on a statin, take 650mg of unbuffered aspirin before consuming this meal.  Just saying.

Heart Attack Hash

Heart Attack Hash
Recipe @ that’s some good cookin’
Printable Recipe

  • 1/2 pound bacon, diced
  • 1/2 pound ground sausage, your choice of flavor
  • 1/2 pound polska kielbasa (yes, use lite if it makes you happy)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 5 pounds of red potatoes, cut into chunky bites
  • 1 pound of sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 375-degrees F.
  2. In a hot skillet or dutch oven, brown the bacon.  Remove bacon from pan and set aside.  Leave the bacon drippings in the pan.
  3. Put the sausage and polska kielbasa in the pan with the bacon fat.  Cook and stir for about 2 minutes, then add the chopped onions.  Cook, stirring as needed, until the onions are translucent and some of the kielbasa pieces have a bit of brown on them.
  4. Turn off the heat.  Add the potatoes, bacon (which was set aside earlier), salt and pepper.  Stir to mix well.  If using a dutch oven, cover with lid and bake in 375-degree oven for about 1 hour, stirring after first 30 minutes.  If baking in a large casserole or other baking dish, cover with lid or foil and follow directions for dutch oven.
  5. After one hour, remove from oven and stir in the grated cheese.  Return to oven and continue to bake, uncovered, until there are some lightly browned, toasty parts on top.  Remove from oven and serve with whatever makes you happy.

My daughter, Tricia, called and asked my husband and I if we would like to go up to one of the local canyons for a picnic with her and her family.  I had been planning to make this Heart Attack Hash for this post, so I did and we took it up to the canyon with us for dinner.  It was so much fun watching the boys run and play and pee.

Yep, I said pee.  As in what the male species does best in the wild–mark their territory, as it were.  I mean, if you have ever had males in your house then you know that they can get pretty ummmmm….off the mark when they take a whiz.  Outside?  Who cares where they aim as long as it is away from other humans.

This right of male passage, the art of peeing outside, is passed from male to male (although sometimes I think that it is part of their DNA).  It is never too early to pass on the tricks of the trade.

Heart Attack Hash
See one, do one, teach one.


  1. says

    Terri . . . not only a great post but a great blog!! Yours is the one I look forward to checking the most. You are a riot with your writing. I mean, “as laden with wonderful memories as it is with calories and cholesterol” is just gold! Thanks for the smile every time! And for the great recipes!! This looks incredible. Where do I find polska kielbasa?

  2. says

    Carol–thanks for the kind comments. Polska kielbasa can be found either in the meat section somewhere near other sausage/pork products or around the lunch meats. The brand that I use is Hillshire Farm. They sell a variety of different types of similar sausages; pretty much any of them will work will in this recipe. Just choose whichever one strikes your fancy. I have added a picture of polska kielbasa to the post and here is a link to the Hillshire Farms website http://hillshirefarm.com/products/

  3. says

    So helpful Terri, thanks!! I seriously can’t wait to try this! I love anything that gives my arteries a challenge. Bring it!! 🙂

  4. says

    Terri, This is too funny. The picture of the boys reminds me of my 16 yr. old who thought it was the best thing in the world to be able to pee out side while camping or in the back yard even. And you’re right, no matter how old their aim is horrible!

    Thanks for the recipe, I’m going to give it a try today. Anything with potatoes and bacon and I’m in.

    Have a great day!

  5. says

    Michelle, no problem with the delete. I do things like that all of the time. I wish that there was a way for people to edit their own comments because I know how often I make errors when commenting and wish that I could go back and fix things.

    As for the pic of the boys, I literally snapped the camera at the perfect instant and was shaking with laughter so much that I was surprised the pic wasn’t a complete blur. Thank heavens for the anti-shaking feature on my camera! (or whatever that feature is called)

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