I giggle at those shirts that say, “Vegan. Except for bacon.” Bacon really is that good, isn’t it? It’s even better when rubbed with brown sugar and maple syrup. And it’s better yet when topped with toasted pecans and called Praline Candied Bacon.
The inspiration behind this dish—pecan pralines—are decidedly Southern. The recipe is thought to have arrived with French settlers to New Orleans. The settlers used almonds along with brown sugar, milk, and butter to craft the sweet treat. Later on, chefs substituted locally grown pecans for the almonds, and pecan pralines were born.
When I was dreaming of a Southern-inspired brunch, I knew bacon had to be on the menu. But I wanted to give it a Southern spin, so Praline Candied Bacon it was! The Southern inspiration is compliments of my friend Kelley, who hails from Virginia and owns her own wedding planning business. She did the magnificent table setting for this brunch using her grandmother’s Canton Rose Medallion plates. I can’t get enough of their fun pattern and gorgeous colors!
I’ve made candied bacon before, without the pecans. And I’ve made the mistake of making too little before, and it was gone 10 minutes into the party. Oops! This recipe calls for a full pound of bacon to serve 6–8 people, which should be two slices of bacon per person. If you have bacon-loving guests, you should probably make more. 🙂
I can’t stand when packaged bacon shrivels down to tiny pieces when it’s cooked, so I chose thick cut bacon for this recipe. I found it at the Butcher Shop at Mariano’s, my local grocery store. It’s also sold in packages—just look for the words “thick cut”.
My favorite way to cook bacon is entirely hands-off. You don’t even need to flip it! I place a piece of aluminum foil on a sheet pan with low sides, then place a wire rack on top. The bacon goes directly on the rack. As it cooks, the fat drips off and onto the foil. Once it’s done, you just need to remove the foil and place the wire rack in the dishwasher. Easy clean-up! I use this USA Pan with Nonstick Cooking Rack.
For the recipe, you’ll prepare a mixture of brown sugar, maple syrup, and a dollop of Dijon mustard. The mustard adds a nice tang to the finished dish. It gets brushed on the bacon, then popped in the oven.
About 10 minutes before the bacon is finished cooking, you’ll add the finely chopped pecans. I used my food processor to chop them, though you could do it by hand. Adding them at the end ensures that the nuts don’t burn while the bacon cooks.
Kelley and I served this Praline Candied Bacon with three other Southern-inspired recipes:
Praline Candied Bacon
Yield 6–8 servings
- 1 lb thick cut bacon
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ cup very finely chopped pecans
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and top with a wire rack. Lay the bacon in a single layer on the wire rack (it can touch slightly but not overlap).
- In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, maple syrup, and Dijon mustard. Use a pastry brush to brush the half the mixture over the bacon. Flip the bacon onto the other side and brush with the remaining mixture.
- Bake the bacon for 20–25 minutes, or until the bacon is mostly cooked through. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the chopped pecans over the top, pressing gently with a spatula to adhere if necessary. Return to the oven and cook until the bacon is crisp, about 5–10 more minutes.
- Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. Serve immediately.
To cook the bacon, I use this USA Pan with Nonstick Cooking Rack.
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