Bacon the gateway meat (and recipe for sriracha brown sugar bacon)
“Eat two pieces of bacon and call me in the morning.” Although the doctor didn’t officially write this on the prescription pad, these were his post-tonsillectomy instructions for my wife. We had heard that having one’s tonsils out as an adult was quite a bit more of an ordeal that it is for children but after several occurrences of strep, our doctor recommended this as the course of action for my wife. Healing seemed to be taking its own sweet time and the level of pain was nearly unbearable. Bacon was the doctor’s proposed remedy, mentioning something about nitrates, and crispy bacon edges scraping at the wounds.
I don’t know about you, but if I had a doctor actually insist that I eat bacon, I’d be as happy as…well…a middle-aged man in a bacon store. My wife didn’t have quite the same reaction. She had been a full-scale vegetarian for the previous decade, eating absolutely nothing with a face. We stopped by the store on the way home to “fill her prescription” but she remained un-persuaded. I told her that since we had bacon in the house anyway, I was fixing a BLT for myself. As I had hoped, sizzle and smell proved to be irresistible seducers.
After a couple days of bacon therapy, she was well on her way to a full recovery; but I began to note a change in her behavior over those next few weeks. Although she continued to live her veggie-patty lifestyle, I would catch her stealing lustful glances at my cheeseburgers and it wasn’t long before she began ordering fish and then chicken when we ate out. She eventually found her way completely back to the land of meat eaters but now considers herself an ethical carnivore, eating only animals that meet her definition of being humanly raised and free of antibiotics and growth hormones.
Now that we have kids, our family of four eats a well-balanced diet. Many of our meals are meatless, we eat far more poultry than red meat, and we buy our chicken, beef, and pork from local farmers, including our bacon. My favorite bacon supplier is Chef Chris Eley of Goose the Market in Indianapolis. Chris is to the bacon lover what Jerry Garcia was to the Deadheads. He has made an art out of the practice of bacon making, procuring his meat from Indiana’s finest pork purveyors, and smoking and curing it to perfection. His bacon is available daily in his store and he also offers a Bacon-of- the-Month Club.
I love bacon in many forms – with eggs, in a sandwich, atop baked beans. I have even had some amazing bacon ice cream. My most recent bacon obsession is a sweet and spice version I make with Sriracha, a Thai hot sauce named after the seaside city where it was first produced. Sriracha has a consistency much closer to ketchup then Tabasco and besides sun-ripened chili peppers, it includes vinegar, garlic, sugar, and salt. The heat from Sriracha is certainly warm but not overwhelmingly so. I love it on scrambled eggs and also use it to flavor stews and soups. Just about anywhere you might use a splash or two of Tabasco, Sriracha will work.
My latest bacon obsession includes Sriracha and brown sugar. The result is an explosive combination of sweet, salty, spicy flavors combined with the fatty goodness of the bacon. If I could put a warning on this bacon, I would. Eat at your own risk, vegetarians, for this might be the very bacon that will push you over the meat cliff.
Bacon with Sriracha and Brown Sugar
- 8 strips of bacon (thick cut is best)
- Brown Sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put a baking rack on a baking sheet and arrange the eight strips of bacon on the rack. Squeeze a thin ribbon of Sriracha down the center of each strip of bacon. Use a pastry brush to spread coat the entire top surface of the bacon with the hot sauce. Sprinkle the top of each piece of bacon with a generous portion of brown sugar. Place in the oven and cook to your desired bacon doneness. I like mine fairly well done which takes about 25 minutes.