Monday, July 6, 2015

Sweet & Spicy Smoked Hunks of Bacon!

Bacon, as most of us know, comes from pork bellies.  As you can probably imagine, they process thousands of bellies at the bacon factory.  During this processing, there are many ends, pieces, and stray hunks of bacon that fall by the wayside.  Well, some angel sent from heaven grabbed the floor manager and implored him, "PLEASE, if we collect and save all of these stray hunks of bacon, we could SELL them at a discount!"  Thanks to that wonderful angel, we can now find this at the store:

With a tiny bit of work, you can turn that... into THIS!!  How does a big pan-load of thick hunks of bacon, flavored with maple, brown sugar, agave, and spicy Chipotle goodness sound?
Don't we all want that?

You will need:
  • 3lbs of Bacon ends, pieces, and random hunks
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • Generous "burp" of pure Maple Syrup
  • Generous "burp" of Agave Syrup
  • 2 Tsp fresh ground Black Pepper
  • 3 Tsp fresh Chipotle Chili Powder
  • Generous squirt of your favorite BBQ Sauce
Open the package of bacon and dump onto your cutting board and give it a look.  You'll see all kinds of bacony goodness.  Thick strands, lean pieces, Marbled hunks of fat... it's all good!  Use a sharp filet knife to cut everything into oversized bites.  Bacon shrinks a little when you cook it, so be sure to cut things down to a size that might be slightly larger than you'd be comfortable shoving into your mouth (like that's possible).

When everything is cut to fairly uniform hunks, dump them into a foil "half pan" where you'll add the "yum".  Take off your wedding ring and remove any other jewelry from your hands, because things are about to get messy...

Sprinkle on the brown sugar, then add the rest of the ingredients.  If you can't find Agave syrup at the store, don't fret, just use a bit more Maple syrup.  Agave syrup is derived from the same Agave cactus plants that give us Tequila!  "Tequila and bacon," you say?  Hell yes!  Actually, Agave syrup doesn't taste like Tequila at all, it caries a fairly complex yet very sweet flavor though, so it's worth looking for at the store.  Most of the world's Agave plants live in Mexico, hence you'll probably find it in the "Mexican Food" section.

Now, get your hands in there and get messy!  Squeeze, mix, swirl, turn over, spread, and pinch everything together until you feel the brown sugar dissolving, and you have a big pan full of awesome bacony wonder that looks like this:

Wash your bacony hands.  Wash them twice, and be sure to clean under your nails because day-old bacon that you smell under nails in the morning is about as bad as bacon can be... slip the pan onto your smoker, to the right of the pork shoulder that you just wrapped.  If you don't have a pork shoulder, it's ok.  I happened to have one when I took the picture (it was delicious).

Close the lid to your smoker and run the temp at 225 degrees for two more hours.  The whole back yard will smell like BBQ and Bacon, it's pretty remarkable.  Your neighbors will start sniffing around... tell them to "Go away!" (unless they bring beer offerings).  When the bacon is done, it will look like this!  It doesn't get any better than this...

These are amazing on just about any sammich, or just popped into your mouth.  You can also chop them up and sprinkle them into salads, on top of baked potatoes, or over freshly grilled shrimp with garlic butter sauce.

NOTE:  Somebody already asked me, "Can I do these in the oven if I don't have a smoker?"  I suppose.  Just put them into the oven at 375 for about 45 minutes.  They'll still be good, just not as "smokey."  This is exactly the kind of thing you can use to justify the purchase of a smoker in the future though... "But, but, honey-pookums, wouldn't you enjoy some SMOKED bacon, hmm?"

No comments:

Post a Comment

Questions or comments? Did you love it or hate it?