On the Food Network they have a show called The Best Thing I Ever Ate. They interview chefs from the network (and occasionally other "personalities") who talk about their favorite food in a particular category and then get to eat it. I find this show inspirational. You may already know this if you've read about my dining experience at my friend's traditional Chinese wedding. Well, today I continue my tales of food revelry.
I love breakfast. Really. In fact, at my house we eat breakfast for dinner at least once a month...usually twice. I always fiddle with the pancake recipe, adding random things and trying out new variations. Breakfast can never go wrong. (Except for the caramel pancakes. Those were a bad idea and we all nearly broke teeth.)
Now...I have eaten many lovely breakfast concoctions. My mom makes awesome French toast (her bread pudding...not so awesome...another story, another time). I will drive three hours to The Pancake House just for a cinnamon roll. They are ridiculous. I will pay an extra wad of cash for a second glass of fresh squeezed orange juice at The Griddle just to savor it. But there is one breakfast food that beats out all the rest...I like to call it crack bacon. It's that good.
I was first introduced to crack bacon about a year ago. Collin and I had been informed of a spectacular brunch a few miles from our house so we decided to give it a try. (Yes Tony, I said brunch. You now know my horrid secret.) This Sunday brunch was located at Brick 29 - a fantastic little bistro that also makes a ridiculously good mushroom bisque and a dreamy mimosa. Now...brunch naysayers...I say to you ZIP IT. This glowing pile of magnificence yielded quite possibly the best bacony treat I have ever set my tongue upon. It was sticky, gooey and spicy. Yup...spicy. I required a refill on my mimosa. But it was just so darned awesome that I couldn't stop. In fact, no person that we have had accompany us to Brick 29 has ever been able to resist it's peppery loveliness. Ever. It's that good. Everyone gets refills. Have I said that it's that good?
I was making the bed one Saturday morning a few months ago watching...what else? the Food Network. My show finished (Pioneer Woman - I love her) and on came the Neelys. Now, I will preface how much I wanted their black pepper bacon recipe by telling you that the Neelys make me physically ill to watch. Sure, they're good cooks, but no man should ever be that lovey dovey with his wife on national television. Can you say whipped? I know I could've probably just gotten it off the internet and saved myself the torture, but I needed to see what it looked like too.
The next day I tried it out with some slight modifications. Maple syrup, mustard seed and red pepper flakes baked in the oven. It was close, but no cigar. It wasn't sticky enough and the mustard was just weird. Plus I had added too much red pepper and my family was burdened with burning mouths for hours afterwards. Sorry about that guys.
But I could not be stopped. A few weeks later I was trolling the interwebs and came across a recipe from Katie Lee Joel...not to be confused with Alexa Ray Joel (Billy Joel's daughter who sings the slightly funky, but irresistable Notice Me -- it's a guilty pleasure song). Brilliance. Brown sugar. Why had I not thought of that?
So off I went again. The next night...breakfast for dinner baby! Vanilla nectarine and cinnamon pear pancakes, eggs and attempt #2 at crack bacon. Guess what?!?! Success!!! It was freaking awesome! Now it's not identical to Brick 29, but it is a fantastic substitute. We will be eating it frequently. And guess what?!? I'm going to share it with you. I'm so generous.
Spray your broiler pan with nonstick spray and preheat the oven to 350F. Then get out the following ingredients:
1 lb. bacon
2 c. brown sugar + additional ~1 c.
1 tbsp. red pepper flakes
Honey to drizzle
Mix the 2 c. brown sugar and red pepper in a ziploc bag. Drop in the bacon - a couple of strips at a time - and shake until coated. (This is much cleaner than hand coating, but you can get all hands on if you want.) Place each coated slice onto the broiler pan. Drizzle the slices in honey...you really can't put a wrong amount on.
Place in the oven and set a timer for 25 minutes. After every 5 minutes sprinkle some additional brown sugar over the bubbly loveliness.
If you're feeling extra bold, you can also flip the strips before adding additional sugar. I'm lazy, but it still turned out awesome.
Enjoy. You're welcome. Darian made sure to let me know "this is heaven" after his first piece. Voila...crack bacon. The best breakfast food I ever ate.