Monday, April 27, 2015

Sweet & Spicy Baked Bacon



Just one whiff of cooking bacon is enough to make my tummy rumble, stir up the appetite, change any eat-healthy resolutions... you get the idea. I love bacon. The aroma is irresistible, but the sound of thick slices sizzling in a pan on the cooktop is a thing of the past. I'm a long-time convert to baking bacon in the oven. While I might occasionally miss the sizzle symphony, I certainly don't miss the mess, or the perfume of cooked bacon that used to cling to clothes and person after cooking a pan on the stove.

Bacon? a recipe post about cooking bacon? Of course. I just couldn't resist after reading this morning's post at Food52 on "The Best Way to Cook Bacon". They almost got it right; baking strips in the oven is the best approach but they blew it on flavor. Gourmet published their ultimate version of Sweet-and-Spicy Bacon ages ago (November 2001) and that has been the real deal, the only way to cook bacon ever since. 

Years ago one of the contestants on Top Chef used this method during a cooking ahallenge and received rave reviews and a lot of positive press over his "original" preparation. Original? not so much. But definitely tasty!

I have adapted Gourmet's method only slightly, laying the bacon strips on a baking rack set over a foil-lined baking sheet. This drains away the excess fat and makes for easier clean up after baking. Bacon cooks almost-unattended in the oven for roughly 35 minutes while I prepare the rest of the meal. Forget the mess and try this easy peasy method. Just heat the oven, arrange the bacon on the rack, turn the strips once during baking and sprinkle with the spicy sugary mix, and let the magic happen.


Sweet and Spicy Baked Bacon

1 1/2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
Generous 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
Generous 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 lb thick-cut bacon (typically 12 slices)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Cover a large baking sheet with foil or parchment. Place a metal baking rack on top of the lined pan. Or use an unlined broiler pan.
  2. Stir together the brown sugar, cayenne, and black pepper in a small bowl.
  3. Arrange the bacon slices in l layer on the baking rack and bake in the middle of the preheated oven for 20 minutes. 
  4. Turn the slices over, sprinkle evenly with the spiced sugar. and continue baking until each strip is crisp and brown, about 15 to 20 minutes more. Enjoy!


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