Candied bacon is basically a mixture of your two most favorite things: crispy bacon and carmelized sugar.
The most basic idea or way to make candied bacon is to sprinkle brown sugar onto the bacon and bake it.
The sugar will melt and carmelize to combine with the crispy bacon as one.
While that simple recipe is delicious, there are a few tips and tricks you need to really bring out the delicious flavor and texture.
I will warn you that once you have partaken you will question your life's meaning and will wonder if anything else is worth eating.
18 x 13 Baking Pan: A normal half sheet baking pan.
Oven-Safe Wire Rack: This is a must to keep the bacon from sticking to the flat plan and to prevent the bacon from curling.
Aluminum Foil: This is to line the baking ban and make your cleaning job a lot easier.
Small Bowl: You will need a small bowl to put your vinegar in.
Basting Brush: This will make coating the bacon in vinegar a lot easier.
Parchment or Wax Paper: This will aid in the cooling and storing process.
Tongs: A pair of tongs will help you easily transfer the bacon from pan to parchment for cooling.
1 Package Regular or Thick-cut Bacon: The beautiful main ingredient.
2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar: This brings out some flavor, you can substitute rice vinegar.
1 Cup Brown Sugar: This will melt and carmelize to perfection when baked.
1 Tbsp Black Pepper: Pepper adds just enough mild spice to compliment the salty sweetness.
2 Tsp Crushed Red Pepper: For those who like it spicy.
2 Tsp Cayenne Pepper: For those who really want spicy candied bacon.
A Drizzle of Maple Syrup: A good option for a little more sweetness and maple flavor.
Regular cut bacon is a better choice to start with as it is much easier to get crispy.
However, the thick-cut is my preferred choice because you get both crispiness and real chewiness.
It is a little more high maintenance as it naturally takes longer to cook.
I used thick-cut bacon in this recipe guide, but the instructions will specify directions for regular bacon as well!
Turn on the oven to 375°F, and grab a metal baking pan.
Line the pan with foil as the sugar will run off and burn to the bottom.
Next put the oven-safe wire rack on the pan so the bacon will be elevated from the pan.
You should be able to fit 10-12 slices of regular bacon on the pan.
You should be able to fit 8-10 slices of thick-cut bacon on the pan.
Pour some vinegar into a small bowl and lightly coat each strip of bacon.
You should only need a few tablespoons for a pan of 8-12 strips.
Instead of apple cider vinegar, you can substitute rice vinegar if desired.
Generously sprinkle brown sugar over the top of the bacon.
You can pat the sugar down on the bacon to make sure you are sufficiently covering the surface.
Once it starts to melt a little you may want to add a little more where there are noticeably bare spots.
Sprinkle finely or coarsely ground pepper, your preference, on top of the bacon.
I prefer adding ground pepper only here, but here are a few more spice ideas you can try:
Total bake time for regular bacon should be somewhere in the range of 20-30 minutes.
You should check it at least once or twice during cooking to make sure the sugar isn't burning on the bottom and creating smoke.
Total bake time for thick-cut bacon should be about 30-40 minutes.
You may consider replacing the foil on the pan halfway through to avoid smoke from burnt brown sugar on the bottom.
If this is needed I use it as a chance to add a little more brown sugar!
I like to get the edges just barely black before I pull them out of the oven.
Let the bacon pan cool for 5-10 minutes, then transfer it to a wax paper-lined baking sheet or plate.
You can gently soak up excess grease if it is noticeable, otherwise, just let it fully cool at room temperature.
Once it is fully cooled, I like to rub a little more brown sugar on both sides to put on the sweet finishing touch.
You can store this in an airtight container for a few days, or in the fridge for a little longer.
Enjoy this cooked treat at room temperature, or warm it up for a few seconds in the microwave.