Maple Cured Bacon: A Meat and Sugar Marriage Made in Heaven
Maple Cured Bacon: Bacon to the Max!
There are two things that humans widely crave: fat and sugar. And when you combine the two elements with one of breakfast's favorite staples, you get the most irresistible smell (let alone taste) in the world.
I'm talking about Maple Cured Bacon, also known as brown sugar bacon or - more directly - candied bacon.
Ahhhh....bacon! Thick slabs caramelized with a smoky, sugary cure created from brown sugar and maple syrup. Quite literally, if there was heaven on earth, it would be in my kitchen when the bacon's sizzling in the frypan.
I'm not alone either. There are dozens of websites devoted to everything that is bacon and more. In fact, I have had friends literally abandon their vegetarian diets just to partake in the thrill of bacon eating (I'm not going to judge, but I'd say - good call!)
Is it any wonder that we laugh at Homer Simpson's breakfast order:
I’ll have the smiley face breakfast special. Uhh, but could you add a bacon nose? Plus bacon hair, bacon mustache, five o’clock shadow made of bacon bits and a bacon body.
Once you know how to make maple cured bacon, you can use the delectable breakfast meat as an ingredient in other recipes, too. After reading this hub, you may wonder if there is no end to the uses for bacon? Apparently, no. Whether draped over the top of an apple pie, or crumbled on top of birthday dessert, people want their cake... and their bacon... and their sugar!
How to Make Maple Cured Bacon
Recipe for Maple Cured Bacon
Being the not-so-intrepid cook that I am, however, I have tried several and ended up tweaking the directions to create our own bacon nirvana.
I think you'll enjoy our recipe for maple cured bacon. This is a "dry cure," which means the meat is preserved with a salt-based rub.
- 5-10 pounds pork belly (washed and patted dry, with the skin left on) - ask your butcher for an appropriate cut
- 1 cup coarse kosher salt
- 2 cups dark brown sugar - light brown sugar works too, but dark brown has extra molasses (yum)
- 1 cup authentic maple syrup (please don't use Mrs. Butterworth's, etc. - get real Maple Syrup instead)
1. Mix the salt, sugar and maple syrup together in a medium bowl.
2. Rub the mixture over the pork belly on both sides
3. Place pork into a large freezer bag and seal tightly
4. Refrigerate the meat for 7 days, turning once per day
5. After one week, the bacon has been "cured." But you still need to cook it before enjoying!
6. Before preparing your maple cured bacon, trim off a small piece and fry it on the stove top to taste the salt level. If it doesn't taste too salty after frying for 3-4 minutes on each side, you're ready to proceed to cooking the bacon.
7. To fix a bacon cure that is too salty, soak the meat in cold water for about an hour.
8. Once you're ready to cook the bacon, remove the skin and slice into strips at your desired thickness and fry or oven bake 3-4 minutes on each side, or until desired cripsiness. Freeze any uncooked portions.
Incorporating Maple Bacon into Your Cooking
Now that you have your homemade maple cured bacon, the next question is how to use the sugary meaty deliciousness in your kitchen?
The possibilities for bacon as an ingredient are endless - limited only by the human imagination.
Some of our favorite recipes include:
Maple Bacon Pasta - this dish includes angel hair pasta, chicken stock, green onion, a fish filet and bacon. Interesting combination, but it works!
Maple Bacon Cupcakes with Maple Frosting - Unlike some of the other desserts that merely drop bacon on the top, this one is (unbelievably) more subtle, with small pieces of bacon baked into the cupcakes.
Bacon-Wrapped Maple Pork Loin - Just goes to prove that you cannot have too much of a good thing!
Maple Bacon Quiche - From the Queen of the kitchen, Martha Stewart, this recipe combines classic breakfast flavors into a quiche that's also tasty for lunch or dinner (I have a feeling that real men would eat this dish!)
Bacon-Infused Old-Fashioned - Can't eat enough bacon? Why not drink it as part of your cocktail? This recipe is from New York Magazine. Disclaimer: I've not tried this one, but would love to hear if you have!
Sweet Potato Soup with Maple and Bacon - We love sweet potatoes almost as much as maple and bacon. This soup is great for the holiday season. Your guests will enjoy the salty, sweet taste!
Pork Chops with Maple Bacon and Cheese - My favorite food groups: pork, bacon and cheese. Though not low-fat, this dish is worth preparing at least once a month for a special treat.
Maple Cured Bacon
Bacon and More Bacon....
If I was to include all the fantastic bacon recipes that we've tried, I'd have to create a new website devoted 100% to bacon candy. That would be right next to the site that highlights the craziest bacon concoctions out there.
To keep things interesting, please share in the comments below the most interesting, or the tastiest bacon dish you've ever had. Let's see how many maple cured bacon cooking ideas we can generate!
© 2010 Stephanie Hicks
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