The Top 10 Bacon Recipes of 2010

. Hey bacon fans, get your defibrillators ready because the 3rd annual list is out.  The numerous uses for bacon ceases to amaze me, so I like to celebrate the versatility of bacon with an annual top list of recipes.  Past year's lists are worth checking out:

2009 Top 10 list of Bacon recipes

2008 Top 10 list of Bacon recipes

This year's list represents simplicity and ingenuity.  The past two years I'd get messages saying I left something out of the list, so this year I decided to crowd source the top ten list.  Without further adieu, here they are in no particular order:

1. BACON WRAPPED RUMAKI -

When my friend (and same birthday buddy) Kris O'Connor told me about this recipe I wasn't sure about it.  Well, I went from slightly skeptical to thoroughly convinced in one bite.  It goes to show that you can wrap bacon around just about anything, and it'll be good. The combination of sweet, savory and sour is a artery clogging trifecta of goodness.  Try to eat just one.  Seriously, try it.

2. BACON WRAPPED CREAM CHEESE STUFFED CHICKEN

It might take you longer to say the name of this recipe out loud than it does to wolf it down.  If you're a single guy, and you'd rather do something other than cook an entire meal but you want something tasty...this is the way to go.  Leave it to our friends at CHOW to come up with this recipe, and another good use for bacon.  My favorite thing about this recipe is it sounds like it might be healthy because it's got chicken in it...but it's not.

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3. BUTTERMILK BACON PRALINES -

Submitted by Libby V. of Swirl Girls fame.  You'll need a cigarette after eating one of these gems...

Adapted from Martha Hall Foose’s “Screen Doors and Sweet Tea”

Makes 24 small pralines

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 4 slices bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled

1. In a heavy-bottomed, deep saucepan, combine the sugars, buttermilk, corn syrup, baking soda and salt over medium heat. Cook for about 20 minutes, until the mixture reaches 235 degrees F on a candy thermometer.

2. Remove from heat. Add butter, vanilla, pecans, orange zest and bacon. Beat with a wooden spoon until smooth and creamy.

3. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a silicone mat or buttered parchment paper. Let stand 30 minutes, or until cool. Store in an airtight container.

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4. CORNBREAD MADE WITH BACON FAT

If I was a caveman and just discovered the internet, this would probably be one of the first things I came across online.  It's cornbread, which by itself is delicious, but it's made with frickin' bacon grease.  Pretty popular recipe actually, but I like the one on the Homesick Texan blog.  If you're a real health freak, don't put butter on it.  But if you're not concerned with your health, slather butter AND bacon bits on top.

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5. BACON FLAVORED COTTON CANDY

You might want to order some Shake Weights off ESPN if you're going to take one of these down.  I remember hearing about this last year, but it was too late to make the list.  Not sure how to make this exactly, but there's an article and quote from Mary Constantine of KnoxNews.com...

"Yes, I said bacon-flavored cotton candy, and before you wrinkle your nose in disgust, let me tell you, it was one of the most incredible creations I have ever tasted. I don’t know the chemistry behind Brock’s magic of rendering bacon into the flavorful fairy dust, but it worked. I only wish I could have bagged some up and brought it home for all to sample."

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6. BACONTOTS

If there was ever an example of "keep it simple stupid," this is it.  Do the math: Bacon + Tots = delicious grubby little treat.

Thanks to Bacon Unwrapped for this idea.  You gotta admire someone who makes a commitment to bacon like that.

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7. SPAGHETTI ALLA CARBONARA

This was literally the first bacon-y recipe we made in 2010, but it wasn't the last time we made it.  If you're watching your carbs, use wheat pasta.  God forbid you don't want to load up on carbs when you're ingesting bacon.  Not only is the recipe easy and cheap, but it's fun to pair with wine.  What would you pair with it?  Please leave suggested pairing in the comments section.

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8. DECONSTRUCTED BLT

I love the internet!  Whoever the genius is that thought to take a BLT and turn it inside out should be given some sort of award on the same level as a Noble Peace Prize.  They take the carbs out, and dial up the most important ingredient, which is bacon.  Thank you to our friends at Not Martha for one of the coolest, and most innovative uses for bacon.  It's got tomatoes in it so it can't be all bad, can it?  Here's the recipe!

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9. HOT BACON DRESSING

You gotta get your greens in there somewhere.  Each year I like to throw in a "healthy" recipe to utilize the power of pork.  This year it's a salad dressing that's been around for a long time.  One recipe in particular that's been in my wheelhouse is the Hot Bacon Dressing recipe from Ellen Folkman of TampaBay.com

Put it on a spinach salad with a hard boiled egg or just drink it out of a glass.  Who cares?  It's got bacon and that's all you really need.  Everything else is just window dressing.

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10. INSIDE OUT BACON CHEESEBURGER SLIDERS

Yep, I said it.  If you somehow ate your way through my top ten list and made it to this recipe, you better consult with a doctor before shoving one of these babies down your gullet.  The original idea was for the Independence Day Sliders post, but we were feeling frisky, so we added bacon into the mix.  Then I turned 40 and realized my mortality.  You can't eat like this all the time unless you just really want to give your arteries the finger.  If you do try these, you'll be handsomely rewarded with savory goodness.

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So there you have it bacon brethren...the top 10 list.  By no means is this the end all list of the year, it's just the list of recipes that push the envelope to try new things.  If there's anything I missed, please leave comments and share your favorites!

HOW TO throw pizza dough

I've always wanted to know how to do that thing you see on TV and movies where someone is throwing pizza dough into the air without having it end up all over the place.  Here's a quick little step by step video showing how to do it like a pro.  I've also added one of my favorite pizza recipes with a few wine pairing suggestions:

The Lowrider Pizza

This recipe is based on a pie served at Proto's in Colorado. We took something good and made it orgasmic! How? you might ask. By adding more crisp, savory bacon.

Get yourself an unbaked pizza crust (we like the Pilsbury pizza dough at most grocery stores). In a bowl, mix together tomato sauce with about a TSP of chipotle Tabasco sauce or some other chipotle sauce. Add a little more to give the sauce a little Jackie Chan kick to your tongue if you'd like. Cover the pizza with shredded mozzarella, crisp bacon bits, small red onion slice and pineapple chunks. Don't hate on the pineapple going on the pizza, it serves a purpose which is to counter the spice of the chipotle. Bake the pizza as fast as you can, then cover the pie with chopped cilantro.

Of course, when in doubt, add some more crisp savory bacon bits. It's a simple pizza to make, but a good twist to feature the bacon.

lowrider baby, yeah!

Pizza and wine are one of the easiest wine pairings to do.  You could practially pull any red wine out to have with pizza.  Because of the spicy kick from the chipotle, I'd go for a red wine with a little more sweetness.  Jammy style, lighter wines like Quinta do Crasto from Portugal, Flora Springs Sangiovese, Cougar Crest Syrah and many Australian Shiraz will do the trick

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Top 10 Bacon Recipes of 2009

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Here it is loyal bacon fans, this year's list of crisp, savory delectables that are sure to light up your taste buds like a pinball machine.  A year ago I provided a list of the top 10 bacon recipes for 2008 that you can see updated here.  This year, bacon became the cosmic glue that wove social media sites together.  There were highlights, and there were lowlights...well, the lowlights were most likely everyone's lipid profile at the doctor.

I selected this year's recipes based on a combination of pushing the boundaries of how bacon should be used and ease of making the recipes.  So here you go in no particular order:

1. Bacon Wrapped Mashed Potatoes

That's right, I said it.  Bacon wrapped around mashed potatoes.  You may want to mow down some Lipitor and fish oil pills before taking on this dish.  It's really quite simple—make the mash potatoes, and if you're like my Mom or Paula Deen, you put a stick of butter in your potatoes.  Because I'm a real health nut, I only put a half stick of butter.  Keep the milk to a minimum because you want the potatoes to have the consistency of spackle.

Once you make the potatoes, slow cook some bacon in a pan half way.  You want to cook the bacon just enough that it starts to crisp, but you can still bend it without breaking.  Let the bacon cool on a paper towel, then weave the bacon together like fabric.  Put the bacon on a cookie sheet then put a dollop of mash potatoes in on the woven pig products.  Wrap the bacon around said potatoes, then bake until the bacon gets crispy.

If you really want to throw caution to the wind, put some cheese in there just to give your arteries the finger.

2. Bacon Candy

I didn't have to look too far for this gem.  As it turns out, this recipe was the catalyst that led to my being hired at St. Supéry winery.  Back in March, Lisa DeBruin aka winedivergirl and I were talking about bacon.  She mentioned she had a friend who had been experimenting with this recipe.  That person turned out to be LesleyKeffer who is now my boss at the winery.  See what happens when you follow your love of bacon?

The recipe is simple: Crisp, savory bacon with BBQ rub, caramel, semisweet chocolate and crystallized ginger.  Check it here.

How lucky am I to work for someone who loves bacon as much as I do?  I freakin' scored!

photo.jpg.scaled.500

3. The Bacon Smootie

My wife was none to pleased when she saw what I was putting in our blender.  I'm not going to lie, it's kinda weird. But it works.  The reason why is the chocolate, which goes with bacon quite nicely.  And chocolate also goes with raspberries, so together, the chocolate, raspberries and bacon are like the Voltron of savory flavor.  The recipe was very tasty, but gasey.  Go here to get the original recipe that started it all.

298x232-raspberry_chocolate_smoothie-298x232_raspberry_chocolate_smoothie

4. Bacon Wrapped French Toast Sticks

Contrary to popular belief, this masterpiece is NOT made with Twinkies, it's made with french toast sticks.  Of course if you really had no concern for your own well being you could substitute Twinkies, but I think the creme filling would be gross.  By using french toast sticks this actually qualifies as breakfast rather than a late night snack put together after too many bong rips.  The judges have awarded the Stonehenge concept with high marks, but the execution was lazy, so the judges had to dock them a few points because it wasn't to scale.

i2dw5nf19lgdbm9faqEUo5NJo1_500

5. The Lowrider Pizza

This recipe is based on a pie served at Proto's in Colorado.  We took something good and made it orgasmic!  How? you might ask.  By adding more crisp, savory bacon.

Get yourself an unbaked pizza crust (we like the Pilsbury pizza dough at most grocery stores).  In a bowl, mix together tomato sauce with about a TSP of chipotle Tabasco sauce or some other chipotle sauce.  Add a little more to give the sauce a little Jackie Chan kick to your tongue if you'd like.  Cover the pizza with shredded mozzarella, crisp bacon bits, small red onion slice and pineapple chunks.  Don't hate on the pineapple going on the pizza, it serves a purpose which is to counter the spice of the chipotle.  Bake the pizza as fast as you can, then cover the pie with chopped cilantro.

Of course, when in doubt, add some more crisp savory bacon bits.  It's a simple pizza to make, but a good twist to feature the bacon.

lowrider baby, yeah!

6. Bouef a la Bourguignonne

This might be one of my favorite recipes of all time for winter.  It has two of my favorite things in life— bacon and wine.  Yum!  This is a hearty dish that you slow cook all day before serving.  It requires a little foresight and preparation the day before, but when you do it right it'll all be worth it.

The recipe calls for 4OZ. of bacon, but by all means don't let that stop you from adding more :D  The meat you select is important, don't get the cheap stew meat, even though it'll be tender, get something that's tender to start with.  Tri tip is a good choice.

Get the recipe here

7. Maple Bacon Cinnamon Rolls

I nearly blew my 'O' ring when I first tried this breakfast item.  I mean, come on, it's bacon wrapped or sprinkled onto or into cinnamon rolls.  Now is probably a good time to make a public service announcement about not eating all these recipes in the same week.  Space it out.  Your doctor will thank you for it.

The recipe is available from Delicious Coma and can be found here.

photo via Delicious Coma

8. Emeril's Brussels Sprouts with Bacon (Video)

Emeril made last year's Top 10 bacon list too.  Hmmm, this guy might be onto something.  This recipe was selected because you need vegetables from time to time, and what makes vegetables better?  Yep.  You got it.

Get it here

photo via Food Network

9. Heirloom Grilled Cheese Sammich w/ Tomato Bacon Soup

Comfort food plain and simple.  It's quick and easy to make and when you think about it, what else do you need in life?  Many of the essential food groups are represented here, which is nice.  Anytime you can get vegetables in with your bacon it's a good thing.

When I saw this recipe from Rick Massa on the Food Network site, I was hooked.  You will be too which is why it's on the top ten list.

10. You Call It!

There are so many great bacon recipes, and throughout the year I've talked to many creative people online who have great uses for bacon, so we're going to crowd source the final pick of the list.  Leave a comment below and let me know which bacon recipe YOU think should be on the top ten.  See you in 2010!

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Top 10 Bacon Recipes of 2008

Uncooked streaky bacon.

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1. Slow-cooked Bacon - that's it, just bacon. The reason plain old bacon makes it to the top 10 is the "slow-cooked" part. This year I discovered a new cooking technique that changed everything. Cooking bacon on, say, medium-low for longer results in a better finished product. Try it and see the difference!

2. Chicken with Rosemary, Bacon and Balsamic - The recipe calls for pancetta, but I use bacon...sweet savory bacon. The bacon laid across the chicken keeps it moist while baking. Towards the end when you are reducing the pan drippings, I like to finish cooking the bacon separately, then dice it up and sauté with some fresh green beans. epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Chicken-with-Rosemary-Pancetta-and-Balsamic-Vinegar-4296

3. Bacon-Wrapped Dates - So simple, yet so tasty. Technically you'd want to wrap dates in Prosciutto, but it costs more and we're in a recession. So wrap some dates with bacon, stuff some manchego cheese in the date, then bake it until that sweet, savory bacon is crisp.

4. Roasted Beef Tenderloin Wrapped in Bacon - Do I need to say anything about this? I think it speaks for itself, and it's perfect for a nice bottle of your favorite red wine. epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Roasted-Beef-Tenderloin-Wrapped-in-Bacon-107705

5. Curly Endive and Apple Smoked Bacon Salad - If you're like me, you're trying to lose some pounds, so eat a salad. A salad with bacon in it. epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Curly-Endive-and-Apple-Smoked-Bacon-Salad-105099

6. Grill-Roasted Whole Fish Stuff with Fresh Herbs and Wrapped in Bacon - I have to admit, I haven't made this recipe yet so it doesn't have the Bakas Stamp of Approval. But we wanted to have a fish recipe on the list making good use of slow-cooked, crispy, savory bacon. epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Grill-Roasted-Whole-Fish-Stuffed-with-Fresh-Herbs-and-Wrapped-in-Pancetta

7. Penne Pasta with Spinach and Bacon - One of those simple, yet tasty recipes perfect for after work when you don't have the time to make a sick meal. allrecipes.com/Recipe/Penne-Pasta-with-Spinach-and-Bacon/Detail.aspx

8. Bacon and Potato Soup - What could be better to warm your spirits than a soup made with my favorite friend: savory, yummy bacon. allrecipes.com/Recipe/Bacon-and-Potato-Soup/Detail.aspx

9. Bacon-Wrapped Scallops - Emeril is to bacon what Gary Vaynerchuk is to wine 2.0. In other words, he makes good use of it. planetgreen.discovery.com/food-health/emeril-bacon-wrapped-scallops.html

10. Bacon Brownies - Oh God! I think I've found the meaning of it all. Are you kidding me? Brownies with frickin bacon in them!! thehungryengineer.com/cooking/bacon-brownies/

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Bacon and Timetravel

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Bacon.  Just close your eyes and picture some slow-cooked crisp, savory bacon.  Mmm-mmm.  If I could invent one thing, it would be an alarm clock that emits the smell of cooking bacon when it's time to get up.  That's because I love bacon.  No, I mean I LOOOOOVE bacon.  My doctor wishes I didn't love bacon so much.  You want to know how much I love bacon?  On @wefollow, I'm the #1 bacon tweeter on all of Twitter.  That's not just loving bacon, that's a frickin' commitment.  Upon my last visit to the doctor, he did a lipid profile and was shocked at the results.

After looking at my family history, I found out my last name, Bakas, is actuallly related to the Greek God of swine called Bakos.  You might not know about Bakos, but that's probably because he died of coronary disease at an early age.  Thankfully, there's turkey bacon.  But not all turkey bacons are created the same.  Oscar Meyer brand turkey bacon gets a green check.  Jenny-O brand turkey bacon tastes good, but is expensive.  But it still gets a green check mark.  Butterball tastes pretty good for turkey bacon.  Whole Foods turkey bacon smells and tastes terrible.  It gets a FAIL.

picture-1But there's more...so much more to bacon you might not know.  Throughout time, both past and present bacon has been a key piece of history.  For example, in the future, members of the Starship Enterprise had a terrible episode where everyone on board, including Captain Kirk, thought they were eating bacon but it was actually Tribble meat.  Tribble meat is highly toxic and can cause explosive diarrhea.

star_trek_chokes

Luckily, Spock showed some reason and packed a ton of Pepto.  The last thing you want, even in the future, is to be thousands of lightyears away from civilization and have a bad case of the runs.  Had the order not been mixed up, bacon would have been packed on board the Enterprise and the crisis would have been averted.  Are you starting to get the importance of bacon in history?  Let me put it in VC terms for all the investors out there:

picture-31You don't want that.  There's got a be a balance.  If you plan of having a future, you have to tenor bacon vs. turkey bacon intake.  There's other kinds of bacon you might not consider when thinking about what to eat.  There's actually some decent choices out there.  There's pancetta, Irish Bacon, Canadian Bacon, Turkey Bacon, Fakin' faux bacon made from recycled dogshit and a few others I can't even think of, but they probably come on a pizza somewhere in Europe.  There's a cool thing that happens when you combine various types of bacon.  It's somewhat like when the lions come together and form Voltron, voltronexcept for combining to form a stellar giant robot with a giant sword that he pulls out of Lord-knows-where, you get something more like this:

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Speaking of time travel.  Let's go back in time to two months ago when President Obama was trying to get Congress to pass the massive stimulus package.  Remember what the biggest critisism of the stimulus package was?  Too much pork.  That's right...too much pork.  I don't think I want to live in a world where there's such a thing as too much pork.  I told my wife to pack up the pets 'cause we're moving to Australia.  The only problem is bacon in Australia is more like Canadian bacon...there's no such thing as the bacon we know and love in America.  That might be part of the reason Australians live longer.

This whole bacon conversation started to take off on Twitter.  I started talking about bacon, sending out random tweets into the void like a prisoner in isolation babbling to myself.  For weeks it seemed my bacon tweetage was falling on deaf ears.  Then one day @tekee took the bait and tweeted back.  Then @thepicman, @winebratsf and @pugofwar... Then @kveton joined the fray and all hell broke loose--we were like the Brady Bunch, but more like the Bacon Bunch.  Now there are literally hundreds of tweeters who are down to talk about bacon any time of day.

My greatest discovery came on January 30, 2009.  Through a series of unlikely events, I was eating bacon while watching Wizard of Oz and listening to Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon.  When I did that I was able to free myself from the Matrix.

picture-21Be careful when you try this.  Make sure you're wearing a helmet....a helmet made of bacon.  As for travelling through time, I don't know about the future, but I do know the oldest woman in the world credits her longevity to bacon.  Now that's a ringing endorsment.

If you found this article useful, look under the categories and check out some of the bacon-related info I've got like the Bacon Smoothie recipe.  It's good, but gasey.  I'll continue to add useful bacon stuff here.  Please leave a comment and/or subscribe to my feed.  I'm on Twitter at @rickbakas.  Thanks for stopping by.  Cheers!

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Bacon Smoothie Recipe

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Raspberries
Image via Wikipedia

Before you have a gag reflex thinking about what the bacon smoothie might look like, take comfort knowing it's still a fruit smoothie.
The list of ingredients are:

1/2 cup yogurt
1 cup soy milk
1/4 cup acai
1/2 cup frozen raspberries and blueberries
1 TSP greens (dietary supplement)
2 strips of slow cooked, savory maple bacon
1-2 TBSP dark chocolate powder
1 TBSP Agave

Pretty simple. Just throw it all in a blender and blend it.

The reason the recipe works is the chocolate. Chocolate and bacon go together, but there still needs to be fruit. Raspberries, blueberries and acai not only go with chocolate, but they're also good for you and you need something good to offset the bacon, which is not a health food.
Play around with the amounts. I find with this recipe you can taste the raspberry, chocolate and bacon all equally, nothing overpowers the taste.

Enjoy!

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