Fried smoked baloney sandwich with dill pickle spread. © Ryan Schierling
I get that question from time to time, especially when I come up with oddities like Chicken-fried Chicken a la King Ranch Chicken or the unholy marriage of gas-station snack-pack jerky and cheese inside a homemade jalapeño popper. But today, since you asked, I'm actually smoking bologna, thank you.
Bologna, Italy would have been my first guess as to the genesis of smoked bologna. They probably figured out every way imaginable to prepare that mishmash meat loaf and I'm betting the guy that perfected it wasn't named Oscar Meyer. But, from what I've heard, Italy didn't want to have anything to do with this bastard-child treatment of their lard-studded mortadella. The Sooner State takes full responsibility for the further preparation of this one.
As with any legendary regional recipe, there are disputes when it comes to origins. Cheap and plentiful, fried bologna sandwiches have been around forever, and everyone from states south of the Mason-Dixon line probably has a fond childhood memory of their favorite version. Smoked bologna is another tall-tale altogether, with a pair of pushpins stuck squarely in a map of Oklahoma – one in Tulsa and the other in Oklahoma City. Stories go back fifty or sixty years about the creation of "Oklahoma prime rib" and wherever it started, you know there had to be some drinking involved.