MAPLE CANDIED BLACK PEPPER BACON
The absolute perfect manly man Super Bowl treat, standing thick cut strips of bacon are an easy to prepare perfectly satisfying combination of spicy, sweet, and salty. Or perhaps instead of head knocking sporting events, try noshing on this piggy preparation paired with a fabulous bottle of Cabernet while watching a British crime drama in front of a roaring fire. Other than chocolate chip cookies, the smell of bacon cooking is one of the greatest scents known to the American kitchen. Your swine eating days will never be the same!
Nota bene: Only use thick sliced, all natural, dry rubbed, uncured bacon such as Wellshire Applewood Smoked Bacon. It is a bit pricey, but delivers the perfect texture and piggy taste. Real maple syrup from the sap of the sugar maple is the only sweetener that will work in this recipe. Grade is unimportant, however, for cooking, the intense flavor of dark as molasses Grade B maple syrup (made at the end up sugaring season) packs a punch.
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Line a half sheet baking tray with aluminum foil (for easy clean up) and place a wire cooling rack on it.
3. Arrange the bacon on the rack. Dip a pastry brush into the maple syrup and brush one side of the bacon with the syrup. Sprinkle the bacon slices with the brown sugar and grind a bit of ground black pepper over each piece.
4. Flip the bacon and repeat step 3.
5. Place the bacon in the preheated oven and bake until browned and crisp, about 18 minutes (keep checking starting at 15 minutes).
6. Cool until the bacon strips have stiffened and can stand up straight when put in a cup or vase.
Serves 4 to 6
1 pound thick sliced all natural bacon (sodium nitrate free)
6 tablespoons pure maple syrup
4 tablespoons light brown sugar
Freshly ground cracked black pepper