Mmmm bacon

chiefneilApril 15, 2013

People sometimes ask me if I like to cook when they hear about something I made recently. I always reply, "Not really, but I like to eat."

Below are a couple of examples of things I made this weekend that exemplify what I'm talking about. I'm not so much excited about the process of making them, but OMG the end results are worth it. Sadly, the Chief must now do double-duty on the treadmill.

First up, maple-glazed bacon! This is center-cut bacon, baked until nice and crisp. I then coat one side with a glaze made with maple syrup and white wine vinegar (red wine vinegar also works well). I coat only one side of the bacon as doing both sides is a bit overpowering, but ymmw. Crisp, crumbly, salty, sweet, and sour all in one bite. I could eat this stuff for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

What's the only thing in the entire world that can make bacon better? Chocolate!!! It was DW's bday this weekend so I made some truffles with Guittard chocolate and mixed in some of the maple-glazed bacon pictured above. Top with flaky sea salt and you're looking at a lot of time on the treadmill. I think they're better than anything from Godiva, but I'm a little bit biased.

And the obligatory kitchen content so this isn't too far off topic. Sometimes people on this board ask about how big an island should be, or do you really use your island, or how much space you really need? Here's a photo of the island with some of the materials gathered up. It's a big island but I manage to use most it.

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ogrose_tx

Oh, I must try that bacon, am getting hungry just reading about it!!

Are the truffles hard to make?

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 4:08PM
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stacieann63

Wow, the chocolates look delicious! I'm drooling!

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 4:14PM
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chiefneil

The truffles are surprisingly easy to make if you've never tried it before. Basically you chop up chocolate, mix in hot milk, and you're good to go. I'm linking one of the cookbooks I use for inspiration below.

My bacon truffles aren't from any particular recipe - I just make the basic milk chocolate truffle, pour it into a pan, cool slightly, mark where I'm going to cut the truffles out, and insert a couple pieces of bacon into each marked piece. Later after they're fully chilled I cut the truffles, hand-dip in melted chocolate, and sprinkle the salt on top.

Here is a link that might be useful: Marking artisan chocolates

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 4:27PM
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Holly- Kay

Oh goodness, another reason to indulge in bacon. I love the stuff. Have you ever made bacon candy?

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 4:50PM
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chiefneil

Bacon candy? Sounds awesome - what is it?

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 7:45PM
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a2gemini

Can I adopt you!
Thank you for the great post.
One of our local restaurant owners has a book about bacon - I don't remember the name but essentially everything is better with bacon.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 7:49PM
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ginny20

Yes, bacon is the best food in the world.

Your DW is a lucky woman. I'm going to try your glazed bacon. Thanks for the tip!

Love the granite top on your island.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 8:17PM
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chiefneil

Hey Ginny - be careful, that glazed bacon is addictive!

For the glaze I use 2 parts maple syrup to 1 part white wine vinegar. I reduce it approximately 66%, about 15-20 mins. Use less vinegar for a sweeter flavor, and reduce more for a more intense glaze.

I let the bacon cool before glazing so it stays crisp. To glaze I just drop a strip in the pot (I do this with the pot off the fire), lift out with a pair of chopsticks, and brush lightly to remove excess glaze. Let the whole batch cool uncovered so condensation/steam doesn't reduce the crispness.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 9:04PM
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1929Spanish

What temp do you use to bake your bacon? I can't seem to get it right.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 9:53PM
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deedles

I'm amazed at how much better bacon is baked vs. fried in a pan... just started doing this recently. The glaze sounds fabulous... have to try that soon.

1929: the 'recipe' that we follow is to put the pan with the bacon in a cold oven and turn it on to 400 degrees. Only takes about 15 minutes. Careful, it goes from perfect to overdone in a blink...

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 10:22PM
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1929Spanish

I've done that blink! I think my problem is preheating the oven. Fortunately I have some bacon, tomatoes and lettuce in the fridge......

Thanks!

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 10:24PM
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chiefneil

The temp setting depends on the bacon and your individual oven. My upper oven I set at 350, my lower oven 360. Oddly enough, they were both checked by a tech a few years back who pronounced the temperature settings accurate.

I'm a bit of perfectionist when it comes to bacon (an undercooked piece of bacon is a terrible thing to waste), so I rotate the pans once or twice, pull them out and sometimes flip individual pieces, and pull out pieces that finish cooking sooner as they don't all brown at the same rate. I do 4 pans in one batch which contributes to the uneven cooking.

I've tried both convection and non-convection, and decided I prefer cooking bacon without convection.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 10:49PM
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Mgoblue85

Yum, yum...I think bacon should be it's own food group!!!

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 11:48PM
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a2gemini

Baking bacon is awesome - I have been pressing it between 2 cooling racks when I bake it - the fat drips down (line the half sheet pan with foil or parchment paper) and the bacon isn't swimming in grease and comes out great.
Lee Valley sells racks that can be used with bacon - I bought a set but they were on back order - so I used my CIA cooling racks and they worked as well.

I have eaten bacon candy but never made any - someday...

    Bookmark   April 16, 2013 at 7:03AM
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Holly- Kay

Bacon candy is easy. You take a sheet of aluminum foil and crinkle it so that the drippings go into the groove, or you can cover the pan with foil and use a baking rack on it. Use as much bacon as you want. Dry the bacon with a paper towel and dredge the bacon in the brown sugar. Press it on in a thick layer. Bake in a 350 degree oven until done. You can also use cayenne pepper or cinnamon in the brown sugar for extra zing. This darn stuff is addicting. Eat one piece and I guarantee you will eat the whole pan!

    Bookmark   April 16, 2013 at 9:47AM
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ginny20

Thanks for the recipe, chiefneil. I am going to try it. As if I needed a reason to eat bacon...

    Bookmark   April 16, 2013 at 10:14AM
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jerzeegirl

Here is someone else who loves bacon - the maple kind!

Here is a link that might be useful: Ultimate Dog Tease

    Bookmark   April 16, 2013 at 10:51AM
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chiefneil

Thanks Holly-kay, you reminded that I have tried that before. Definitely very yummy. With a sugar glaze like that I actually like using pancetta. It's crazy good, but working with thin pancetta is kind of a pita so I don't do it much.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2013 at 1:26PM
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snookums2

I just knew chocolate goes with anything!! lol

    Bookmark   April 16, 2013 at 2:02PM
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chiefneil

Jerzeegirl, that video is hilarious! I love it!

    Bookmark   April 16, 2013 at 3:16PM
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