July 24th is National Tequila Day! In fact, July and August are filled with food holidays involving booze, including Daiquiri Day, Scotch Day, Piña Colada Day, Rum Day, and Whiskey Sour Day. It’s true, Americans love to booze it up in the summertime. While contemplating how to celebrate such a significant holiday like “Tequila Day,” I decided to try making candied tequila bacon. I’ve seen plenty of candied bourbon bacon recipes across the blogosphere, but not any recipes that use different types of alcohol.
Because tequila is one of my very favorite types of alcohol, it seemed like a good one to experiment with. For this recipe, I wanted the bacon to retain the flavor of the tequila. Most recipes for bourbon bacon use a small amount of bacon that is added right before it is cooked. This recipe involves soaking the bacon in tequila for several hours. This process tenderized the bacon, but it still held together and cooked up fine.
I added cayenne to the brown sugar, and a smattering of lime zest to give these a “Margarita” theme. They were delicious! They’d be great as an appetizer for a summer party or BBQ. They’d also be a great garnish for a margarita. I served them on skewers, displayed in Mason jars at a recent party, and they were quickly devoured. What type of “alcoholic bacon” would you most like to try?
1 lb thick-cut bacon, hickory or maple-smoked
1/4 – 1/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup tequila
Cayenne pepper to taste
Zest from 2-3 small limes
1. Remove the bacon from the package and separate into strips. Lay each strip in a shallow baking dish or bowl. Add enough tequila so that all the bacon is in the liquid. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 6-8 hours.
2. Preheat oven to 400 F. Remove bacon from fridge and discard alcohol. Pat each piece of bacon dry using a dishrag or paper towels. Rub brown sugar lightly onto both sides of each piece of bacon, and lay pieces in a large casserole dish or rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle cayenne and lime zest over each piece.
3. Bake for 10-15 minutes, checking frequently so the bacon doesn’t burn, and cook until done. Allow to cool until the bacon can be picked up with your fingers. While the bacon is still pliable, thread onto skewers. Set each skewer on a plate until it is fully cooled. Serve and enjoy!