Friday, July 27, 2012

Pig Candy!

I know that all the snotty hipster-foodies (I might be one, so I think it's ok to say that..) will snub their noses at a "bacon" recipe, chiding that bacon is "so 2010."

It's true, Bacon is to 2010 what black truffles were to 2007 or avocados were in 1999 (sun-dried tomato of 1996?? Pesto anyone?? I digress).  Food has trends like anything else I suppose, but unlike neons, baby-doll dresses or corduroy jumpers I feel like a delicious thing is a delicious thing, and it's less likely to be "dated" in it's deliciousness just because all the cool chefs have moved onto smoked sturgeon roe as the ingredient du jour.

Anywhoo, I've seen variations on candied bacon, so after a brief moment of research googling. I combined a few suggestions and set out for my own candied deliciousness as a bit of a bar snack.

Pig Candy:

Bacon (thick, delicious bacon)
Brown sugar (still soft)
Cayenne Pepper (caliente!)
Deep cookie dish
Cooling Rack

First off, I covered my deep cookie dish in foil, since I planned on baking the bacon and hate cleaning up grease splatters.  It's not Green, but it's easy.

Preheat the oven to 370 and get your pig ready to be candied.

I mixed about 1 cup brown sugar with an 1/8th of a teaspoon of the Cayenne so that it was a spicy-sweet.  (the pepper will bloom and get hotter as it cooks... so start milder than you want to end with).

Then, place the cooling rack in the cookie sheet and lay your bacon slabs out on it in a manner that will minimize them slipping through the bars as it cooks.  Finally, using a spoon, or your fingers, or a small spatula (my favorite) pile on the sugar/pepper mix and compressed it down on each piece of bacon.  you want the bacon totally covered with a solid crust of sugar.  (yummo)

Slip the whole shebang in the oven for about 10 min, or until the bacon is clearly cooking "well."  I left it in there until the edges started to curl and all of the sugar melted into a nice liquid.  If you still see granulated sugar... leave it in.

After those first 10(ish) minutes, pull the tray out and let the bacon cool enough that the sugar hardened into a crust before carefully flipping your bacon over.  pile more sugar/pepper on the back side (same thickness as the first round) before returning it all to the over for another 10ish minutes.  The bacon can burn (so can the sugar), but I prefer my bacon to be closer to crispy than fatty and chewy - so I just watched it like a hawk until I thought everything was nicely cooked through.

flipping and covering (again) with sugar
When you remove the bacon from the oven be patient and let it cool for a while.  The more the sugar can firm up and harden, then better.  Finally, serve the deliciousness however you want - but my preferred method is snipped up into little bite sized pieces so that you can serve them as life-changingly delicious bar snacks. 

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