I once cured an especially bad hangover with a meal of candied bacon. Some might argue that it was the gallon of water I drank, or the roasted sweet potato that made up the rest of the meal, but I know I was saved by the candied bacon. With the first bite of candied bacon comes the shattering sound that only extremely crispy bacon can deliver, and if you’ve ever eaten bacon before, you know how good that sound makes you feel. As that piece of bacon sat on my tongue, the caramelized coating began to melt. The sugar jumpstarted my lagging brain, and its seasoning began to wake my whiskey-clogged tastebuds. Halfway through my second piece, I just felt better. I try to avoid getting hungover at all costs now, but when those moments come around, you won’t find me chugging coconut water or a bloody mary. I’ll be near my oven, awaiting a batch of candied bacon with bated breath.
Mix ¼ cup brown sugar with 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon low-sodium rice vinegar, and lots of freshly ground black pepper. If you like heat, add a fat pinch of cayenne. The mixture’s consistency will resemble wet beachy sand.
Preheat to oven to 375ºF and lay 12-15 strips of bacon (Pro tip: this method works for for every type of bacon, meat or otherwise. No one should have to suffer through an candied bacon-less existence) on a greased wire rack. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or foil and place the rack on top of the baking sheet. Spoon the brown sugar mixture liberally over the exposed side of the bacon. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the sugar is caramelized and the bacon is charred.
Though I find candied bacon to be perfectly delightful when swapped in for the plain version for any breakfast dish, why not use it as an excuse to get a little adventurous? Break up candied bacon over the top of a frying pancake and eliminate the need for syrup. A shard of salty-sweet bacon also complements a banana muffin (both in a flavor and presentation). Don’t be afraid to lay a slice atop a thick Long John doughnut, either.