Ok, I told you he can cook. Here is a special guest blog from my husband, Michael. I hope you enjoy it.
Candied bacon. Let me say that again more slowly. Candied. Bacon.
How can you go wrong? The first time I had the pleasure, the honor, and the general bliss of tasting candied bacon was at an annual work function called “Grazing Day.” On Grazing Day, each department within the company would pick a theme and then decorate, dress in appropriate costumes, and cook themed goodies. Then the staff would wander the halls and generally feed our faces all day.
One year, my department went full-out pork. Each dish was a creation made from the versatile and succulent miracle meat. My associate, Nick, brought in what he called pig candy and once I had my first bite…well, let’s just say I pigged out.
Since that day, I’ve been trying to perfect my own recipe for candied bacon. While I’ve discovered various techniques, marinade ingredients, cooking times, and oven temperatures, I believe I’ve finally stumbled on the ideal combination. Sweet and savory. Crispy and tender. Yin and Yang. As my nephew, Adam, said after his first taste of the piggy nirvana: “Good bacon-y God!”
Pig candy is a great snack while watching your favorite sport (golf is sport, right?) and is ideally paired with a frosty glass of your favorite brewski.
Be creative here and mix and match your own ingredients until you arrive at the flavor combination that works for you.
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup (or my preference, maple sugar)
1/4 cup agave nectar
2 Tbs. molasses
2 Tbs. honey
4 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
A few liberal squirts (1 or 2 Tbs.) of Sriracha chili sauce (or substitute your favorite form of heat)
Salt and pepper to taste
I lb. of thick cut bacon
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Mix all the marinade ingredients together in a rectangular casserole dish or something large enough to accommodate your pound of bacon. Once mixed well, add the bacon and coat both sides with the syrupy marinade. Let sit.
Line a cooking sheet with aluminum foil. Use a cooking grate, or better yet, a cross-wire cooking rack (often used to cool cookies) and coat with nonstick cooking spray. Place the cooking rack on your lined pan, and using tongs, begin placing the marinated bacon on the rack.
Pop it into the preheated oven for about 15 or 20 minutes. Remove the pan and add the reserve marinade to the bacon strips. Return to the oven. Continue this process every 5 or 10 minutes until the bacon is done or you’ve run out of the syrupy candy coating.
TIP: When the sugary marinade drips onto the bottom of your cooking sheet, it WILL burn. That’s why I line my cooking sheet with aluminum foil. About halfway through the cooking process or when the drippings begin to smoke, carefully remove the cooking rack with the dripping bacon and re-line the sheet with a fresh piece of foil.
Total cooking time will vary based on the thickness of the bacon and how often you marinate it. I’ve discovered—through trial and error—that you need to leave it in the oven long enough to ensure the bacon is thoroughly cooked and is beginning to firm up, but not so long that all the sweet stuff you’ve been liberally coating it with gets burned. About 45 minutes seems about right.
Remove from the oven and let sit for about five minutes before carefully removing the bacon from the cooking rack. Don’t wait too long, or it will stick to the rack. Allow the candied bacon to cool further as the strips stiffen into mahogany-glazed planks of deliciousness.
When the bacon has cooled completely—if you can wait that long—serve and enjoy.
Why yes. I am on a cholesterol-lowering medication. Thank you for asking!