Learning how to sugar cure bacon is not as complicated as it may sound. You don’t need to revert to pioneer days and wait for months, and you don’t need fancy, expensive equipment, either. Sugar cured bacon can be made in months, weeks, days–or in less than an hour, if you start with the pre-smoked variety.
In order to sugar cure bacon, you’ll need:
- Thick-sliced smoked bacon
- Raw cane sugar
- Seasonings such as Emeril’s Essence, chipotle powder, onion powder, or rosemary
- Shallow bowl
- Parchment paper
- Cookie sheet
- Waxed paper
- Plastic freezer bags
Follow these instructions to learn the fastest way to sugar cure bacon:
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. If you like crispier bacon, adjust the temperature accordingly. You can go higher, but be watchful, as the bacon can burn. Some cooks who sugar cure bacon swear by starting with a cold oven, placing the prepared bacon inside and turning it to 400 degrees.
- Line the cookie sheet with parchment paper. If you do not line the cookie sheet, the sugar on the bacon will mix with the hot fat and create a nasty mess on even a non-stick surface.
- Mix the seasonings and sugar in a shallow bowl. You can experiment with the seasonings; Emeril’s Essence or chipotle powder work well. Use about two tablespoons of seasonings and three-fourths cup of packed sugar for every eight ounces of bacon.
- Place each slice of bacon in the seasoning mixture. Be sure you coat the bacon well, patting the seasoning and sugar into each slice.
- Place the slices of bacon in a single layer on the parchment-lined cookie sheet. Avoid overlapping the slices.
- Bake the sugared bacon 30 to 45 minutes without turning. One good thing about cooking bacon in the oven is that it does not curl up, like it does when fried on the stovetop.
- Transfer the candied bacon with tongs to a dish lined with waxed paper. Cover each layer with more waxed paper so the bacon does not stick together.
- Freeze cooled bacon wrapped in waxed paper, enclosed in plastic freezer bags. Remove as much air as possible. Sugar cured bacon may be kept in the freezer for up to three months.
- Try using a silicone mat on the cookie sheet instead of parchment paper.
- Some people substitute regular brown sugar for raw cane sugar, but it clumps and does not adhere as well.