Make Bourbon Candied Bacon With Just 3 Key Ingredients

Candied bacon is the very definition of sweet and savory decadence with an equally sumptuous and satisfying crunch. Many candied bacon recipes utilize a mixture of spices to enhance the sweetness of the sugar and the umami-richness of the bacon. But, you can skip the spice mixture for a dash of bourbon, reducing your ingredient list. In fact, the ingredients in bourbon candied bacon are spelled out in its title: bourbon, sweetener, and bacon!

Bourbon is a high-proof corn whiskey that's been aged according to strict guidelines, resulting in a complex array of spicy, smoky, and sweet-tasting notes. It'll therefore single-handedly replace a dry spice mixture you might typically add to your candying paste or syrup. As the bacon candies in the oven, the harsh alcohol flavor will burn off thanks to the oven's heat, isolating and concentrating its rich array of flavors. The caramelized sugar will enrich bourbon's flavors for a well-balanced complement to bacon's intense savoriness.

You'll want to use bourbon the way you'd use almond extract in a dessert, blending a small amount of bourbon into a much larger proportion of sweetener. Using a mixture of solid and liquid sweeteners with bourbon will render the best results as a dry sweetener will help absorb the smaller proportion of bourbon for better distribution of flavors. You can mix bourbon directly into brown sugar before spreading it over the bacon, or blend the bourbon with maple syrup or honey before drizzling it over sugar-coated bacon.

More bourbon candied bacon tips

Bourbon candied bacon is an easy dish to execute as long as you follow a few key tips. The first is to bake and not fry your bacon. Placing the bacon on a metal rack above a parchment paper-lined baking sheet will ensure mess-free even cooking. Hot air will circulate more freely around the top and bottom surfaces of the bacon since it's elevated over a metal rack. The parchment paper will catch residual fat and syrup that drips from the bacon while cooking.

Various recipes recommend thick-cut bacon for more savoriness to balance out an ultra-sweet glaze. If you're using thick-cut bacon, you will cook the bacon in a hot oven before applying the candying glaze and adding the bacon back to the oven for an additional 10 to 15 minutes.

Bourbon should balance out the sweetness fairly well, so you can use thin bacon for reduced cooking times. For example, you can add bourbon to this recipe for maple-cinnamon candied bacon. You'll need to adapt the recipe by replacing half the maple syrup with brown sugar. You can stir the bourbon and cinnamon into the maple syrup, adding the mixture to the brown sugar to create a sweet and spicy paste for the smoky bacon. Whether you use thick or thin strips of bacon, resting the bacon after taking it out in the oven is a must. A 10 to 15-minute resting period will harden the sugar for shatteringly crispy bacon.