Candied bacon is a fantastic snack to eat with drinks because it hits so many spots on the tongue: It’s sweet, smoky, and salty, and usually a little spicy. I add another element to make it even harder to stop eating: tangy sherry vinegar. The hardest part of this recipe is waiting for the bacon to fully cool and crisp before trying it. For the most evenly cooked bacon, use bacon that’s the same width on either end.
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 16 (1-ounce) strips of bacon (1 pound)
- 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
1Preheat the oven to 375°F.
2In a small bowl, toss the brown sugar with the cayenne.
3Line 2 baking sheets with foil and arrange the bacon on them in a single layer. Lightly brush the tops of the bacon with the vinegar and sprinkle with all of the sugar mixture, rubbing it into an even layer on each strip.
4Bake for 10 minutes. Change the position of the baking sheets on the oven racks and turn them from back to front. Bake for another 5 minutes and start checking the bacon. You want to pull it out when the strips are dark brown and nearly crisp but not blackened (a few black spots are okay). It should take between 16 and 20 minutes total. Watch carefully, as the bacon can go from perfect to blackened in a minute.
5Arrange a cooling rack (or 2, if you have them) over a sheet of foil.
6Using tongs, transfer the bacon to the rack, dab off any fat from the bacon with paper towels, and let cool completely.
Potluck prep: The pig candy is best the day it’s made but will hold up for several hours at room temperature. After it’s cool and crisp, you can bring it to the party loosely wrapped in foil and serve standing up in cocktail cups.
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