International Bacon Day is officially observed on the Saturday before Labor Day in the US. Canada celebrates it the 2nd Sat in June and in the UK it’s in January. The way I see it, bacon is stupendous enough to warrant these multiple celebrations! To me the best bacon is thick cut, hickory smoked bacon, which cooks up straight and golden brown! How best to honor bacon? Let me offer some suggestions:
- 12 thick-sliced bacon strips (about 1 pound)
- 12 wooden skewers (12 inches)
- 6 ounces white candy coating, chopped
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 tablespoon shortening
- Optional toppings: chopped dried apple chips, apricots and crystallized ginger, finely chopped pecans and pistachios, toasted coconut, kosher salt, brown sugar, cayenne pepper and coarsely ground black pepper
- Thread each bacon strip onto a wooden skewer. Place on a rack in a large baking pan. Bake at 400° for 20-25 minutes or until crisp. Cool completely.
- In a microwave, melt candy coating; stir until smooth. Combine chocolate chips and shortening; melt in a microwave and stir until smooth.
- With pastry brushes, coat bacon on both sides with melted coatings. Top each strip as desired. Place on waxed paper-lined baking sheets. Refrigerate until firm. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: 1 dozen.
Fry up three strips of bacon. Add cooked bacon to a clean pint sized mason jar. Trim the ends of the bacon if they are too tall to fit in the jar. Or you could go hog wild and just pile in a bunch of fried up bacon scraps. Optional: add crushed black peppercorns. Fill the jar up with vodka. Cap and place in a dark cupboard for at least three weeks. At the end of the three week resting period, place the bacon vodka in the freezer to solidify the fats. Strain out the fats through a coffee filter to yield a clear filtered pale yellow bacon vodka. This makes one pint of Bacon Vodka.
If you don’t want to wait you can buy Bakon Vodka. Though last I heard it wasn’t selling well in Ohio and the Ohio Division of Liquor Control put it on sale back in May, which often means it may actually be discontinued from the state stocking list by now. So it may take a roadtrip across state lines or even mail order to get your hands on some.
Or try some Bacon Infused Bourbon
Bacon wrapped hot dogs make perfect sense, especially for your Labor Day Cookout, and you may want
to have some Baconnaise on hand, just perfect to spread on a hamburger bun. And then how about some Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies, Bacon Lollipops, and for a crunchy, savory, sweet treat you’ll want some Bacon Peanut Brittle or maybe the Bacon Cheddar Popcorn will be more to your liking.
There are entire websites devoted to bacon, and some of the most unusual bacon items you can imagine: bacon toothpicks, belts, bacon flavored coke, bacon scented air freshners and more. I’m not kidding- check out some of these and these.
I’ll leave you with a recipe combining two of my favorite flavors:
Dark Chocolate Bacon Cupcakes
- 12 slices bacon
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 cups white sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup cold, strong, brewed coffee
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble and set aside.
- In a large bowl, stir together the flour, 3/4 cup cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the center and pour in the eggs, coffee, buttermilk and oil. Stir just until blended. Mix in 3/4 of the bacon, reserving the rest for garnish. Spoon the batter into the prepared cups, dividing evenly.
- Bake in the preheated oven until the tops spring back when lightly pressed, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in the pan set over a wire rack. When cool, arrange the cupcakes on a serving platter. Frost with your favorite chocolate frosting and sprinkle reserved bacon crumbles on top. Dust with additional cocoa powder.