Sunday, January 4, 2009

Pig Candy a/k/a Candied Brown Sugar Bacon

Bacon, glazed with a spicy brown sugar seasoning and baked. Pig Candy!

Brown Sugar Bacon

When I first posted Pig Candy in the early stages of my original blog, nobody seemed to know anything about it. Now Candied Bacon, Brown Sugar Bacon, or as Ms. Jill Conner Browne, Head Queen of THE Sweet Potato Queens calls it, Pig Candy, seems to be all over the place, with a wide range of variations. She's from Mississippi, ya know.

Now, me, I never need an excuse to eat bacon. I could go the rest of my life without a lot of foods, but don't take away my bacon! But still, who thought to put brown sugar and bacon together? You know those "times" where you just gotta have salty-sweet? Just Genius. To kick it up a bit, I throw in some chili powder, spicy Colman's mustard and a bit of Slap Ya Mama Cajun seasoning in with that brown sugar. If you want a little extra bite, mince some pickled jalapenos and add those to the top. Talk about some good!

To make it kinda all holiday-style you could even throw in a bit of pecan, or dip one end of each cooked and cooled piece in some chocolate. Now we're talkin'! As Ms. Jill says, you just might think you're about to ascend directly into heaven.

Use candied bacon on sandwiches and burgers, or crumble and use as a garnish on top of salads, soups or deviled eggs, or in baked goodies such as cupcakes, muffins and brownies.

Recipe: Brown Sugar Bacon

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 10 min |Cook time: 45 min | Yield: About 4 to 6 servings

  • 1 pound of quality thick cut regular or applewood bacon
  • 1/2 cup of light or dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon of spicy dry mustard
  • 2 teaspoons of chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning or cayenne pepper (like Slap Ya Mama), or to taste, optional
  • Chopped pecans, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. For easy cleanup, line a jelly roll pan with aluminum foil. Place an oven safe rack on top and spray liberally with non-stick spray; set aside.

Place the brown sugar, dry mustard, chili powder and Cajun seasoning in a Ziploc bag, seal and shake until well mixed. Toss bacon in the mixture a few strips at a time and lay the coated bacon strips on the rack. If using pecans, shake them up in the remaining brown sugar mixture after you've coated all the bacon, and then sprinkle them on top of the bacon. Sprinkle any remaining brown sugar mixture on top of each piece of bacon.

Bake at 350 degrees F for about 30 to 45 minutes, or longer, until cooked through. Let the bacon cool on the rack, or use tongs to transfer to a sheet of parchment paper in a single layer. Eat as is for a snack or with a meal, use on sandwiches, crumble over a salad or on top of homemade vanilla ice cream.

Cook's Notes: For easier clean up, don't skip the step of lining the baking sheet with aluminum foil. Dark brown sugar is heavier in molasses so keep an eye on it so that it doesn't overcook and burn. I like Wright brand bacon for this recipe and it comes in several varieties, from hickory smoked, applewood, peppered, maple and even yes, brown sugar!

To Make Ahead: Store in the refrigerator in an oblong sealed container, in layers, with wax paper or parchment in between for 3 to 4 days. May also be frozen. Bacon will soften with refrigeration.

Bourbon and Cane Syrup Candied Bacon: Combine brown sugar and seasonings in a small bowl. Place bacon strips on rack and brush with a mixture of 1/4 cup each bourbon and cane syrup. May also use maple syrup. Sprinkle with brown sugar mixture, press in, turn and repeat.

Other Variations: Let the bacon cool. Melt some chocolate and dip one end of the finished bacon into the melted chocolate. You may also brush the raw bacon strips with a bit of prepared yellow or spicy mustard mixed with Worcestershire sauce, instead of using the dry mustard, then dredge the bacon pieces in the brown sugar mixture and bake as above. For extra spice, include about 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon. For heat, substitute finely minced pickled jalapenos for the pecans, or sprinkle with dried red pepper flakes.

Tip: Crumble candied bacon and use as a garnish on top of salads, soups or deviled eggs, on burgers and sandwiches, in baked goodies such as cupcakes, muffins and brownies.


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©Deep South Dish
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Posted by on January 3, 2013
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