No matter which coast your team hails from, bacon is a sure-fire crowd pleaser. And if you want to go the extra mile to impress your guests, try my Spicy Caramel Bacon Popcorn recipe. Save some for me!
1 Lemon juice
1 Lime juice
2 oz Vodka (freeze Vodka overnight)
6 oz Premade Bloody Mary Mix (Freshies is my favorite)
1 dash Tabasco Sauce
2 tsp Prepared horseradish
2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
1 pinch Celery salt or Old Bay seasoning
1 pinch Freshly ground black pepper
Pour some celery sate or Old Bay seasoning in a small plate. Squeeze lemon or lime juice into a small bowl and dip the glass rim into the juice. Roll the outer edge on the glass in the salt or seasoning until fully coated. For extra zing use Tabasco sauce instead of the lemon or lime juice. Add the remaining ingredients into a shaker and fill with ice. Shake gently and strain into the prepared glass.
Garnish with celery stalk (with the leaves on) and a strip of candied bacon (see recipe below) or a bamboo skewer of olives, tiny grape tomatoes and a lime wedge.
½ cup packed light brown sugar
1½ tsp chile powder
20 slices of thick-cut bacon
Preheat the oven to 400°. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with foil. In a small bowl, whisk the brown sugar with the chile powder. Arrange the bacon strips on the foil and coat the tops with the chile sugar. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until caramelized and almost crisp. Transfer the bacon to a rack set over a sheet of foil to cool completely.
Spicy Caramel Bacon Popcorn
5-6 slices of bacon
Nonstick cooking spray
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ cup popcorn kernels
1½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 cup almonds
3½ cups brown sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment and lay bacon side-by-side. Transfer baking sheet to hot oven and cook bacon for 15 minutes, and until crispy and brown. Remove and place on paper towels to drain. When cool, cut into dice-sized pieces.
Lightly coat two large heatproof rubber spatulas and a large mixing bowl with nonstick cooking spray. In a large saucepan or pot with a lid, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the popcorn kernels, cover, and keep the saucepan moving until all of the kernels have popped, about 4 minutes. Transfer the popped popcorn to the large prepared bowl, removing any unpopped kernels and adding almonds.
In a small bowl, whisk together the baking soda and cayenne pepper. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, butter, salt, and 1/2 cup water. Cook over high heat, without stirring, until the mixture becomes a light golden-yellow caramel, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and carefully whisk in the baking soda mixture (the mixture will bubble up). Quickly fold in bacon bits. Pour the caramel over the popcorn and toss, like a salad, until all of the popcorn is evenly coated with the caramel.
Pour the popcorn onto a large baking pan and quickly flatten and separate it into small pieces while it is still warm. Cool to room temperature, about 15 minutes. Once it is cool, store it in a well-sealed airtight container.
Caramel popcorn will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.