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Photo by Antonio Barroro on Unsplash Sweet meats: Bacon candy?

Like most everyone who enjoys a little treat now and then, we here at ButcherBox have a bit of a sweet tooth.

It might be a bit odd to hand out candied bacon — or, pig candy as it’s known in different parts of the country — to the kiddos who come to your door on Halloween. However, it might not be a bad idea to have this treat on hand for the tired grownups trudging around your neighborhood with their costumed kin.

So let’s dig into the sweet and savory dish that is bacon candy.

These days, the traditional breakfast meat has developed a bit of a cultish following. Bacon is everywhere from the Bacon and Beer festival in Boston — which sells out very quickly each year — to bacon-themed food trucks to a featured role at almost any Bloody Mary-focused brunch.

More and more, bacon is breaking out on its own as a singular dish. This is most common of bacon in candied form. Stop into any hip (or hipster, if you see it that way) restaurant, and you might find a glass of candied bacon adorning the bar. And this phenomenon isn’t just occurring at the most trend-setting locales either; you are as likely to find candied bacon replacing the usual bowl of mixed nuts everywhere from your local steakhouse to a high-end hotel bar.

So how did this trend start?

According to author Fred Thomspon, who chronicles all sorts of culinary delights in his savory book, Bacon: The Savor the South Cookbook, the history of this delicious snack, is, unsurprisingly, a bit of a mystery.

Candied bacon is believed to have first gained popularity in Washington, D.C.’s party circuit. But, as the Thompson speculates, most likely, ‘pig candy’ was an import to the nation’s capital brought from the kitchen of some unknown Southern hostess.

The rise in the treat’s current popularity as bar food is linked, by a number of different people, to a small wine bar in California. According to lore, Lou’s on Vine in Hollywood began offering their take on ‘pig candy’ to patrons as an alternative snack, and the buzz and bacon spread from there.

After all this talk of sweet bacon, you might be wondering how you can make it on your own. Worry not, the recipe is quite simple. Many candied bacon recipes call for baking the pork with a garnish of brown sugar and/or maple syrup. Alternatives on the dish include adding some spices, most common being the inclusion of black pepper or crushed red pepper for taste.

Here is one of the more popular recipes found online at AllRecipes that can be used with ButcherBox bacon:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Mix brown sugar, rice vinegar, maple syrup, and black pepper in a small bowl.
  3. Place bacon slices on a cooling rack set over a baking sheet.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, turn slices and bake another 5 minutes.
  5. Remove bacon and brush both sides with brown sugar mixture. Return bacon to the oven and bake another 5 minutes. Repeat basting every 5 minutes until bacon is browned and crisp, about 35 minutes.

And then, enjoy!

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