More than almost any other aroma, the smell of sizzling bacon has a magical power to convince a person that she's hungry even if she's only just stuffed her stomach full of other foods.
I don't go absolutely crazy for the stuff, but I will say that it's one of the primary things standing in my way of becoming a vegetarian (not that I've ever considered doing that)(though there's certainly nothing wrong with that lifestyle if that's how you roll). While bacon's
Arguably the very best use for bacon is the BLT. I'm not exactly sure how the combination of bacon, lettuce, and tomato came to be so popular, but something about the crunchy saltiness of bacon brings out the best in juicy 'maters and crisp lettuce. Someone stumbled onto the grouping, and I'm glad he did.
This version is a little bit different from the standard in that I made spicy candied bacon to use. Maple syrup and brown sugar contribute sweetness and give the cooked bacon a caramelized effect, while mustard and pepper provide an extra kick of heat. The bacon is the star of the BLT anyway, and using candied bacon makes it stand out even more. One final note: Be sure to butter and toast your bread--it makes a huge difference. Mayonnaise is optional, but that step shouldn't be!
Sweet and Spicy Bacon
- 1 pound thick-cut bacon
- 1/2 cup maple syrup, preferably grade B
- 1 tablespoon spicy mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (or freshly-ground) pepper
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and top with a cooling rack. Arrange bacon slices next to each other on the rack.
In a small bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, mustard, salt and pepper. Brush half of the syrup mixture generously on the bacon and bake 12 minutes. Remove from oven, flip bacon, and brush the other side with the rest of the syrup.
Sprinkle the strips with the brown sugar, and return to the oven for another 15 minutes, or until bacon is crisp on the edges. Let the bacon cool on the rack for just 1-2 minutes before transferring to a plate. The bacon will stick like superglue if you leave it on the rack for too long. Let it cool a bit more before serving, as the bacon will continue to crisp up as it cools.