25
Sep
10

Baconalia Review: Praline Bacon with Goose Island Nightstalker Beer

Praline Bacon with Goose Island Nightstalker Beer

 

There’s a shirt out there that proclaims “Bacon is Meat Candy.”  I do not have this shirt, but I do have a recipe for meat candy.  This is it.  Oh my gosh.  This.  Is.  It.  I matched dessert beer with my meat candy and my sweet tooth was sated.    

Praline bacon is wicked easy to make.  It has three ingredients: pecans, brown sugar, and bacon.  While I use a lot of Hormel Black Label bacon, I wanted my bacon to be at least as thick as its candy coating, so opted for sturdier bacon.  I went with the thick cut applewood smoked bacon from my local Trader Joe’s.  The applewood smoked aspect is pretty subtle – especially with the coating – but adds a nuance of, “huh, something about this is extra good.”  Using thicker bacon also made this easier to handle.  Praline bacon CAN be prepared ahead of time and is somewhat shelf stable, although it is best warm.  (Shelf-stable claim based on the fact that mailed some to a friend and he did not get sick after consuming it.)    

   

I adapted this recipe slightly from one by my old friend Alton Brown.  I love AB’s recipes, but sometimes find his processes to be a little too piddly and resulting in too many dirty dishes.  I don’t own a kitchen scale, so I asked the internet for a dry measurement for 1.5 oz of pecans.  That was inconclusive, so I estimated out one-quarter of the pecans from my six-ounce bag.  Math has practical applications; stay in school.  Either I am an amazing estimator or the recipe isn’t that finicky, but that worked out just fine.  It took me significantly more pulses than fifteen to get a fine texture, but I eventually got there.  My resulting powder was slightly moist from the nuts and brown sugar and the particles were similarly sized.  Since B-Day is pretty hectic in the kitchen, I prepared the coating early in the morning and sealed it in a Tupperware until I needed it.    

Like everything else I prepared these in the oven at 400F.  As per Alt’s recipe, I started with naked bacon in the oven.  Unlike Alt, I did not put together some sort of fancy pan contraption.  (Aside: AB really likes to create contraptions.)  Instead, like everything else I used a broiler pan.  The broiler pan worked well for me, which is probably why I am so dedicated to them for my bacon-based projects.  I do not recall how long it took my naked bacon to be ready for its coating, but I doubt it was the 30-35 minutes in the original recipe.  I would suggest checking after twenty-ish minutes; it’s ready for coating when the fat is coming bubbling out and is in the least appetizing appearance state.  Bowtied Brown doesn’t mention if he coated both sides of his bacon, but I sure did.  BE CAREFUL when you coat, as you kind of have to smoosh the mixture into the strips of bacon and the strips and pan are hot.  I used a spoon to sprinkle a generous amount over the strips.  Once they were all sprinkled up, I went back and smooshed the mix into each strip with the back of my spoon.  I flipped the strips with a fork and repeated the process.   Your pan is going to get pretty messy; accept that now and plan to soak it later.   

Once the bacon is fully coated, return it to the oven, still at 400F.  If you want crunchy praline bacon, you’ll need to leave it in a little longer than if you want your bacon candy to be a bit chewier.  Flip it midway through – let’s say after 5-10 minutes – to help both sides cook up evenly.  Upon removal from the oven, let the bacon sit on the pan to firm up for a few minutes.  It will scald your face if you try to eat it anyway, and its candy nature will only cause further upset.  It’s okay though: this is totally worth the wait.  I made one batch of this “sticky” and one batch “crunchy.”  Both were devoured.    

I paired this bacon with Goose Island Nightstalker beer, which is a rich, chocolate-y imperial stout or a dessert-in-a-bottle.  Its ABV is 11.7%, but it is so smooth you’d never notice – or at least not until you try to stand-up.  My concept for this pairing was “chocolate-covered candy.”  This beer is quite thick and coats the mouth.  The hot candy and cold beer was a fun juxtaposition, adding to the sensory party.  There was just enough of a hops presence in the beer to keep the pairing from being overly sweet; the smooth maltiness of the beer helped simmer the stickiness of the candy as well.  This beer is pretty heavy and I don’t think you can buy it in anything smaller than a 22oz bomber.  While I think it’s a great beer to buy, 22oz of this beer would be too much for me – I consider it a sipping beer.  Whatever, beer is for sharing anyway.   

A bunch of my friends reported that this was their favorite pairing.  Of sweet bacons, this was the definite winner. 

Recipe: 

Ingredients  

2.5 oz or 6T brown sugar 

1.5 oz pecans (whole/halved/pieces – doesn’t matter as they get pulverized) 

approx 1lb thick-cut bacon 

Directions: 

Heat oven to 400F, place bacon in oven on broiler pan.  (Note: you could wait for the oven to preheat, but I don’t always bother with that.) 

Put pecans into a food processor and pulverize until bitsy.  Add brown sugar to food processor and pulse until the two are combined and a fine powder. 

After 20-30 minutes, bacon will be bubbly, and partially cooked.  Remove from oven.   

Smoosh brown sugar-pecan mix into both sides of each strip of bacon 

Return to oven with opposite side of each strip of bacon up. 

After 5-10 minutes, flip bacon over.  Return to oven for additional 5-7 minutes of cook time. 

Let cool on pan for 5-10 minutes.   Ideally serve warm.

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1 Response to “Baconalia Review: Praline Bacon with Goose Island Nightstalker Beer”


  1. November 23, 2010 at 12:33 am

    Thanks for sharing that recipe. Two of my favorites are together. I think I’m gonna really love this so much.

    Lastly, it’s so good to have it like it’s already a heavy meal.


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