You probably know that I’m in the middle of recovering from knee surgery. I’m feeling pretty good, but get tired very easily, so I’ve missed my pots and pans and wooden spoons.
At physical therapy on Monday Zach, my therapist, was talking to a colleague about brown sugar bacon. I told them it was called pig candy, that I had made it several times, and that I’d bring them a recipe. I did more than that. Today I made it and took some to them. I’m their new favorite patient, I’m pretty sure.
The first time I had this was at least five years ago. My son, Christopher, lives in Massachusetts, and every summer he has a “Bacon-Beer Fest.” The rules are that you must bring something made with bacon, and a six-pack of beer to share that you haven’t had before. I don’t remember who brought it, and it wasn’t exactly this recipe, but it disappeared in a heartbeat.
There are many versions. I’ve been making it this way for a couple of years and like the combination of flavors. Other versions call for tongue tinglers other than the creole seasoning I use: black pepper, cayenne, ginger, to name a few. And as I write I bet hot Spanish smoked paprika would be fabulous. I’m going try that next time.
Once made, it’s at its best eaten within a few hours. You can refrigerate it, and it will still be delicious, but it will soften up some.
Leftovers (Ha! Who am I kidding? Leftovers?) are great chopped and sprinkled on a salad. Or sprinkled on baked sweet potatoes or roasted Brussels sprouts. I have a friend who said she’d chopped hers finely and put into deviled eggs.
“Pig Candy” New Orleans Style
½ cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1 teaspoon creole seasoning, like Tony Chachere’s
1/2 pound thick cut smoked bacon (I like Wright’s)
Preheat oven to 350o. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and place a cooling rack on top. Spray heavily with cooking spray.
In a plastic bag place the brown sugar, mustard powder and creole seasoning and mix well. Drop the bacon in one slice at a time and toss. Take it out and make sure there aren’t any bare spots on either side. If so, pat a bit of brown sugar on it and place on the rack. Don’t let the bacon strips touch.
Bake on the top rack of the oven for about 20 minutes. Then watch pretty carefully until the bacon is done and just crisp but not too brown. In my oven, with the Wright’s bacon I use, it takes 25-27 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven and let cool briefly. Then remove the bacon carefully to a surface lined with parchment or waxed paper. While still slightly warm, use cooking shears to cut each slice into four or five pieces. And hide them from yourself until the guests get there!