The first recipe was called "Millionaire's Bacon." Thick cut bacon is coated with a rub of sugar, cayenne and black pepper. The coated bacon strips are baked until they are crisp and crunchy. In this test batch the bacon was cooked until "almost burnt." All the tasters decided the extra charred bits were the most tasty. The peppery rub was applied heavily and the flavor was intense. It hit the palate strongly, but, interestingly enough, quickly faded to not burn out the taste buds.
The second recipe was for "Beer Candied Bacon." In this case the bacon is brushed with a brown sugar and stout glaze. As the meat is baked, it is repeatedly brushed with more glaze. After cooking, the bacon strips are allowed to cool and the glaze hardens into a candy-like coating. Colleen used a Dogfish Head Chicory Stout in the glaze. The recipe called for just 1/4 cup of the beer, so I enjoyed sipping on the rest of the bottle while the bacon treats cooked.
Of the two, the taste testers were unanimous in their selection of Millionaire's Bacon as the best of the two. The spicy strips provided an intense flavor treat in a crunchy, fun form. Both bacons were also tasted as condiments for a molten chocolate cake. We dipped pieces of the bacon in the hot, gooey chocolate. Again, the Millionaire's Bacon reigned supreme. The combination brought out the bacon flavor, and reined in the warm spiciness a tad.
The Millionaire's Bacon is a keeper. We are already discussing using it in the annual beer tasting we'll do this Spring for our son's school fundraiser. Of course, we'll have to taste this treat again in order to figure out the best way to use it in a beer and food pairing.