Inspector of Gadgets is our series that investigates, critiques, and experiments with some of the most idiosyncratic single-use kitchen utensils on the market (or found on eBay). The goal is to figure out why on earth these items are, or were ever, “a thing.” Which ones will genuinely surprise us, and which ones will leave us wishing we hadn’t blown $9.99?
Since I’ve started this column, I’ve started to amass some really interesting kitchen gadgets. So far, none of them have quite done the trick. My attempts at using the Eggstractor egg peeler resulted in weird hardboiled egg yolk extrusions and one of the grossest food photos I’ve ever taken. My attempt to skim fat with the Fat Magnet was nearly fruitless. At least I had a nice stew for dinner that night.
Today I am testing a gadget called the Sushi Bazooka. It’s designed to help you make makizushi, aka maki rolls, which apparently enough people are doing at home to justify the invention of this thing. Amazing! Do you make sushi at home? I don’t. Sushi still feels like such a treat for me that I let the experts handle it.
The Sushi Bazooka arrived in a nondescript cardboard box with nothing on it, not even a label. When I pulled it out, I was immediately struck by how much this thing looked like a lightsaber hilt. Suddenly I was starring in my own version of Star Wars as Darth Dennis. I swung the thing around making deep humming noises, exactly as a grown-ass man does when he’s alone in the kitchen. Then I put some rice in the rice maker and examined the Sushi Bazooka to figure out how it worked.
No instructions were included in the box. There was no way for me to figure out how to use this thing on my own, since none of it was particularly intuitive. I figured that the long stick in the middle was some form of plunger, but that was about as far as I could get. I couldn’t figure out what the hell was going on, so I nosed around on YouTube and found this handy video from the popular food channel Emmymade. (This channel is great, by the way. You should check it out.)
The Emmymade video did the trick, and no, there’s no way on earth I would have figured this out on my own.
By then, the sticky rice was ready. I seasoned it with a mixture of rice vinegar, sugar, and salt, then let it cool off a bit. In the meantime, I greased the inside of the Sushi Bazooka with some vegetable oil. Sticky rice definitely lives up to its name and will stick to nearly anything, so the oil is an absolute necessity. (After a lifetime of eating sticky rice I can also tell you that if it sticks to the bottom of your socks it’s best to wait until it hardens to pick it off, like a scab. I have so many life lessons to teach you all.)
I assumed when I first disassembled the Sushi Bazooka that the smaller white cylinder served only as a plunger to push out the sushi rice from the tube. But it turns out it’s also to tamp down the center of each half of the rice to carve out a little rice canoe into which you stuff your fillings.
For my inaugural sushi roll, I used California roll ingredients: crab stick, cucumber, and lots of avocado because I am one of those people who can never get enough avocado. And then I shut the Bazooka, with the tamper attachment screwed into one side. If I hadn’t seen the Emmymade video, I would not have understood you were supposed to assemble it like this.
This was finally the Sushi Bazooka’s moment to shine. It was time for the device to shit out a log of stuffed rice, onto a sheet of nori. After a few turns of the plunger, I slowly pushed out the sushi roll.
Well, I missed the mark by an inch or so. Unfortunately, if you mess up the landing, you cannot fix this. Remember how I said sticky rice sticks to anything? In this case, it fuses to the nori immediately. All my attempts to move the tube resulted in a ripped mess, so I gave up on trying to fix it and rolled it up anyway, using a little water on the edge of the sheet to seal the whole thing shut.
My second attempt, however, was a winner, and I sliced it into perfect little rounds fit for eating. The rice layer did fall apart on occasion while I was slicing, so it’s important to note that you should pack the Sushi Bazooka tightly for the best results. The photos turned out nicely, though.
Honestly, I was pretty pleased with the results! If you have all your ingredients prepared, it doesn’t take terribly long to make a bunch of sushi logs that are ready to slice. We had plenty of California rolls for dinner that night. Consider me impressed.
While I ate, I started thinking, wondering about other dumb creations I could make with this thing. Should I try stuffing a roll with an entire hot dog? Sand? Crayons? ChapStick?
Then a bright idea struck me, as if it were sent from another dimension. I should stuff this goddamn thing with ground meat instead of rice! Maybe I could do a Big Mac roll, stuffed with pickles, onions, and American cheese, then grill it, top it with more cheese, special sauce, and sesame seeds.
I did briefly consider eating it raw, tartare-style, but I did not feel like the Sushi Bazooka was worth contracting a food-borne illness over. Though the line between food I will and will not eat is frequently blurry, avoiding a preventable disaster seemed like the best course of action.
I mean, look at it. This may be the greatest thing I’ve ever done.
It took a little bit more pressure to crap out the meat than the rice, but a meat log eventually slid out painlessly with almost no mess at all. I pinched both sides shut with my fingers, sprinkled the meat log with a liberal amount of salt and freshly cracked black pepper, and tossed the heinous-looking thing on the grill.
Let us get this out of the way immediately: Yes, this looked like a leaky turd. As the meat contracted on the grill, the cheese started dripping out, just as I had feared it would. The first flip was pretty perilous as only the bottom half was cooked, but I persevered. Please respect and validate my existence.
To finish it off, I draped some more cheese on top and let the residual heat melt it. Then I poured over a special sauce made from ketchup, mayo, and pickle relish, and topped it with some sesame seeds. The shredded lettuce was represented as burger bedding, kind of like wood shavings for a hamster. I’d originally thought about cradling the whole thing into a French roll, but then it wouldn’t look or feel like sushi, would it? And so there it was: Big Mac Sushi!
My neighbor was out on the back porch while I was taking photos, so I asked if she’d like to try a piece. She got first crack at it. Then she looked at me and said, “This is confusingly good.” I took a roll and ate it too, and you know what? It was delicious. It was also sort of blasphemous looking. But I think I’m onto something, everyone. I have a Rollie Eggmaster stashed away; perhaps I could make a cylindrical Scotch egg or something. No matter what I end up doing with it, don’t be surprised if I show up at your backyard barbecue with a cooler full of meat cylinders, muttering loudly to myself about how my genius is underappreciated.