Bacon is always a shining star–whether as a breakfast side dish, the main attraction or as the savory sprinkling on decadent desserts. It's delicious when it's baked, pan-friend, microwaved or grilled. While there are plenty of opportunities to pay homage to this meat eater's dream food, National Bacon Lover's Day (August 20) is certainly a good excuse to use bacon on, well, everything.
Polynesian Water Chestnuts
Recipe courtesy Bailey Catering
50 to 100 ea. whole water chestnuts drained
1 cup soy sauce
½ cup teriyaki sauce
¾ cup light brown sugar
1 tsp Asian chili oil
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
1 T finely chopped scallions
Place soy sauce, teriyaki, chili and sesame oils, brown sugar, and grated ginger in bowl and whisk until the sugar is dissolved.
Add drained water chestnuts to the sauce and let marinate overnight or at least 12 hours.
After they have marinated for the appropriate time, drain the chestnuts, wrapped in a third slice of bacon and skewer…brush with excess marinade.
Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 10 minutes then brush again with the marinade about 10 minutes into the baking process. Bake until golden crispy.
Char-Grilled Oysters with Bacon-Bourbon-Ginger Butter
Recipe courtesy Jamie Purviance, New American Barbecue
1 slice bacon
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
2 T fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 T bourbon
1 tsp fresh mint leaves, minced
¼ tsp kosher salt
2 dozen fresh oysters, large
In a large skillet over medium heat on the stove, fry the bacon until crisp, 6 to 8 minutes, turning occasionally. Drain on a paper towel, reserving 1 teaspoon of the rendered fat. Finely chop the bacon and place in a bowl with the reserved 1 teaspoon rendered fat and the remaining butter ingredients. Using a fork, whisk vigorously until well blended. Scoop the butter mixture onto a sheet of wax paper, placing it on the edge closest to you. Fold the paper up and over and roll into a cylinder, smoothing as you roll. Twist the ends to seal, and wrap tightly. Chill until solid, at least 2 hours. Remove from the refrigerator 5 minutes before grilling time, and cut into½- to 1-teaspoon chunks (depending on the size of the oysters).
Prepare the grill for direct cooking over medium-high heat (400° to 500°F).
Grip each oyster, flat side up, in a folded kitchen towel. Find the small opening between the shells near the hinge and pry it open withan oyster knife. Try not to spill the delicious juices, known as the “oyster liquor,” in the bottom shell. Cut the oyster meat loose from the top shell, and then loosen the oyster from the bottom shell by running the oyster knife carefully underneath the body. Discard the top, flatter shell, keeping the oyster and juices in the bottom, deeper shell. Place a chunk of the flavored butter on top of each oyster.
Grill the oysters over direct medium-high heat, with the lid closed, until the oyster liquor starts to bubble, the butter melts, and the edges of the oysters just begin to curl, 3 to 4 minutes. With tongs gripping one edge, transfer the oysters in their shells to a heat proof platter. Serve immediately.
Recipe courtesy National Honey Board
8 oz. log goat cheese, softened
2 T honey
3 T cream
2 T fresh dill and/or tarragon, chopped
½ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp cayenne pepper
¼ cup dried apricots, diced
6 slices bacon, cooked crisp, drained and chopped
2 heads endive or enough for 24 leaves
extra honey for drizzling
Wash and separate the endive leaves and pat dry.
In a medium bowl, mix together the goat cheese, honey, 2 T cream, fresh herbs, salt and cayenne pepper until smooth and well combined. Add an additional tablespoon of cream if needed to create a smooth whipped mixture. Fold in the chopped apricots and chopped bacon until combined.
Fill each leave with 1 T of the goat cheese filling. Garnish with a bit of fresh herb and serve with additional honey for drizzling.
Sriracha Bacon Caramel Popcorn
Recipe courtesy National Pork Board
1 ½ lbs bacon, thinly sliced
3 T corn oil
½ cup popping corn
¾ cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
¼ cup corn syrup
1 T Sriracha chili sauce
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp baking soda
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lay the bacon flat on a sheet pan and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and drain bacon on a plate covered with paper towels. Lower oven temperature to 225 degrees F. When the bacon cools, chop it into small pieces and set aside. Spray a large bowl with non-stick cooking spray. Heat the oil over medium heat in a large heavy Dutch oven with a tight fitting lid. Add the popcorn and cook, shaking often until the corn begins to pop. Cover and continue cooking and shaking until the popping is done. Transfer the popped corn to the bowl.
- To make the caramel, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and corn syrup and mix well. Cook for 4 minutes until bubbly and hot. Remove from the heat and add the salt, baking soda and Sriracha if desired. Mix well. Working quickly while everything is hot, drizzle the caramel over the popped corn and top it with the bacon. Using two silicone spoons or spatulas fold the popcorn mixture gently until it is all well coated. Wrap a large baking sheet in foil and transfer the popcorn mixture to it. Spread the mixture evenly and put the pan in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove and toss the popcorn and thenreturn it to the oven for another 15 minutes. Remove and transfer the popcorn to two clean baking sheets separating it and spreading it evenly to cool. Let rest for 10 minutes, then eat or store in an airtight container.