There’s a pretty big football game coming up this weekend. You may have heard of it. In fact, here in North Carolina, you’re probably excited about it as the “hometown” team is playing in this big game. I’m talking, of course, about the Super Bowl.
I will be the first to admit, I’m really not a football fan. I am, however, a fan of any excuse for a party. I am also a fan of parties where snack foods are typically the menu of choice. Even as a kid, I always wanted us to have gatherings where we made things like pigs in a blanket, those little ham biscuits with the poppy seeds on top, and chips and dips.
The Super Bowl is a perfect excuse to have a party and serve such foods. For the past several years, my husband and I have celebrated at a good friend’s house for the Super Bowl. Our friend typically makes chili and hot wings, both great Super Bowl foods, and we usually bring some additional snacks as well.
I contacted him last week to see if he was planning to have his annual gathering for the big game. He said he was and he made a special request for what he wanted me to bring for the party. This item he requested is perhaps the most quintessential football party food, it’s called pig candy.
Pig candy is a most delightful concoction that I learned about from one of my favorite authors, Jill Connor Browne, author of the “Sweet Potato Queens Big Ass Cookbook (And Financial Planner).” I have spoken about the merits of this book before and will continue to do so. In fact, if you don’t own a copy of this book yet, I’d recommend you stop whatever you’re doing and run out and get one right now. Not only is the book hilarious, but it is full of delicious recipes.
So back to the pig candy. Pig candy is simply candied bacon. Since first learning of pig candy in the cookbook I have seen multiple recipes for it. The most basic incarnation of pig candy involves coating bacon in brown sugar and baking it in the oven. I also have done it by adding in a little bit of crushed pecans or you can always kick it up a little more with a dash of cayenne pepper.
Pig candy is salty and sweet and chewy and, well, it’s bacon. How much yummier can you get?
So here’s how I make my pig candy.
Start with a pound of your favorite brand of regular bacon then cut it into about one inch pieces. Roll each bacon piece in dark brown sugar until well coated. The Sweet Potato Queen suggests using dark brown sugar and I always follow her advice. I have done it with light brown sugar once when I ran out of dark and it turned out just fine though. Once you’ve coated the bacon piece in the sugar, place it on a cooking rack on a foil-lined pan. Once you’ve got all the bacon coated in brown sugar, bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, depending on how done you like your bacon.
If you want to jazz it up some, try adding finely crushed pecans to the brown sugar before rolling the bacon, or simply sprinkle a little bit of crushed pecans on top of each bacon piece. Or, if you like a little spice, add a pinch of cayenne to the brown sugar and mix it up well before rolling the bacon in the sugar.
If you’re going to (or hosting) a Super Bowl party this weekend and you make this, I promise you will be the hero of the party!
Kitsey Burns Harrison is a reporter for The Yadkin Ripple and The Elkin Tribune, here she shares her musings on food, life and love. She can be reached at 336-518-3049 or on Twitter @RippleReporterK.