If you are a cardiologist, please stop reading now. This post will only upset you.
To paraphrase a line from “Natural Born Killers” – You know her, you love her, you cannot f*cking live without her…Pig Candy. This is the snack food to end all snack foods. This can be a meal. This can be an appetizer. This can be a dessert. This can be magic if you want everyone to love you, because they will.
This is not my recipe by the way, it comes from the Sweet Potato Queens’ Big Ass Cookbook and Financial Planner. By far the most useful cookbook I’ve ever owned. Before I learned of this, I thought the only way to cook bacon was standing over a frying pan, jumping back from burning grease. This is so easy and pain free. It’s not even that hard to clean up, and when’s the last time you said that about bacon?
I digress though, because the point of this post is that IT’S FREAKIN’ DELICIOUS. You must make some immediately and tell me all about how you became the Saviour of the next party/office gathering/brunch/football game. You can eat it hot or cold. I have no idea if it’s good the next day or how to store it and it’s even too ridiculous to think about that possibility.
Pig candy is just bacon baked in brown sugar. You’re thinking, “I’ve had brown sugar bacon before” but you have not. Brown sugar cured bacon is not what we are talking about.
So get out the following: bacon (any kind), brown sugar (light or dark), shallow bowl, baking pan (like a cookie sheet with sides), some kind of baking rack that fits inside the pan, aluminum foil.
Before you do anything else, put your oven on 350 and completely cover your baking pan in aluminum foil, including over the edges. I promise you, it’s the most important step and even if a little sugary grease leaks in, it won’t be nearly as hard to clean as if you forget to do this. If you forget, you might as well throw the pan out. You might see in some of my pictures that I did not quite make it over the pan edges – that’s just because I ran out of foil. I’m not stuffing the whole pan full of bacon to the edges today like I usually do so I can get a way with it. But normally I am making 1-2 pans with as many pieces as possible for some event and I don’t want any seams for the grease to sneak under. Once the grease cools later you can just fold up the foil and throw it away.
Next you need to coat your bacon with brown sugar.
Domino makes a brown sugar called “brownulated” – it is teeny balls of brown sugar that doesn’t clump up like the normal stuff. IF you can find it, it’s perfect for this but I haven’t seen it in a grocery store in a long time. That sugar sticks perfectly. If you are like me and not going to order it online, you are working with the regular stuff. Take each piece and smush it into the sugar in the shallow bowl, coating both sides as well as you can. Then place it on your baking rack.
BTW, don’t panic if you don’t have one of these sexy grid baking racks. Any baking rack that keeps the bacon off the pan, allowing grease to drip off will do. We just happen to have this rack and pan for making jerky – if you want one, it came from Bass Pro. I think it’s pretty awesome and I love cooling cookies on it.
Throw this in the oven and prepare for your house to smell divine. If you live in an apartment, your neighbors will be bitter with jealousy. This will cook for @20 minutes but it’s going to depend on your stove and how thick or thin the bacon is. Only you will know this so watch carefully the first time you make it. For me, average bacon in my average stove is 20-25 minutes. I took this pan out after 20 and it was pretty awesome, although 5 more minutes wouldn’t have hurt it either.
You are going to want to remove this from the rack pretty quick. If you let it sit more than a minute, the sugar will start to harden and the bacon will break off and stick to the rack. Nothing sadder than lost Pig Candy. So unless you have asbestos fingertips, grab tongs of some sort and remove the bacon to a plate, platter, whatever – but NO PAPER TOWELS.
I know this goes against everything you think you know about cooking bacon, but you DO NOT want to blot your Pig Candy. That grease you think you are removing is now sugary nectar of the gods. It’s also not okay to shake the bacon on the way to the plate or otherwise try to remove any grease that didn’t drip off while cooking. Don’t do it. Fight that urge, you will thank me later.
You can eat this as soon as you can stand the hotness, or you can eat it cold. Eating it cold gives the sugar more time to crystallize so it’s even more candy-like. I think the ends are the best part because they are the crispiest. It is divine, I promise. Trying to eat more than three pieces at once is not advised though, so share. Be suspicious of people who do not love this. They may have a demon in them.