Pedro Avila, chef of David Burke Prime in Mashantucket, CT, slowly bakes thick-cut bacon, bastes it with syrup, and slides each strip onto a skewer. The bacon achieves a melt-in-your-mouth texture, while developing a smoky, sweet, and spicy kick from the maple-and-black pepper glaze. These slabs of bacon are usually offered as an appetizer—served hanging from a clothesline—at most Craveable Hospitality Group restaurants, but Avila sets this bacon recipe apart by presenting it on a stick with a cherry-bourbon barbecue sauce. Rushing the cooking process at a higher temperature thwarts the deep, luscious caramelization, but the total amount of time should not exceed 1 hour and 30 minutes.
David Burke Prime’s Candied Bacon Lollipops
- Yields: 16 lollipops
- Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Combine all ingredients except the bacon in a pot. Cook over low heat until reduced by 20 percent.
Preheat the oven to 300°F, and set up a sheet pan with a wire drain rack on top.
Slice bacon by hand into approximately ⅝-inch thick pieces.
Lay bacon in a single layer on wire racks, with ½-inch space in between each slice.
Cook bacon for 8 minutes.
Remove from oven and pour off all rendered fat. Brush bacon with glaze in an even layer. Return to oven for 10 minutes.
Pull out of oven, flip over each slice and glaze again. Return to oven for 10 minutes. Repeat this process 4 times, every 10 minutes.
Reduce heat to 250°F and repeat glazing process two more times. Bacon should be just cooked. Not dark in color or crispy, but nicely glazed. Cool at room temperature.
Smoked Cherry-Bourbon BBQ Sauce
- Yields: ⅔ cup
- Total Time: 25 minutes
In a pan, melt the butter until bubbling. Add chopped sweet onion and cook until soft. Add garlic until soft and butter begins to brown. Add canned tomato sauce, ketchup, mustard powder, lemon juice, cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce. Mix all ingredients together.
Bring to a full boil. Add brown sugar and mix until incorporated thoroughly. Add cherries and let the sauce cook for 10 minutes, or until the cherries are fully softened in the sauce.
Using an immersion blender, blend the sauce for 3 to 5 seconds. Mix a handful of additional cherries into the sauce. The extra non-smashed cherries will create a chunky BBQ sauce.
Continue cooking at a rolling boil for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, or until thickened.