It's National Bacon Day!

Let's celebrate with Bacon, Bourbon and Popcorn!

In honor of National Bacon Day, Nathan Hubble from Follow That Fork and Happy Hour Collection have partnered up to share a couple of sweet & savory bacon and smoked maple recipes with you. 

 First, let me tell you a little bit about Nathan from Follow That Fork...

Nathan popped into Happy Hour Collection several months ago and purchased Hella Bitters Smoked Chili Bitters to use in a recipe he was developing. Instead of using bitters in a cocktail recipe, Nathan created a mouthwatering recipe for Smoked Chili Chocolate Ice cream. It sounds amazing doesn't it? If you think it sounds good, you need to check out the photo he took... it'll make you want to run out and buy smoked chili bitters. Check out his recipe and photos by clicking www.FollowThatFork.com While you're there, be sure to check out his other recipes and sign up to be on his email list. 

Since then, Nathan has created more recipes and stunning photos with some of the products from Happy Hour Collection. One of my favorite parts about this collaboration is that Nathan looks at the products and finds ways to incorporate them into main courses, snacks, desserts and occasionally cocktails. I focus mainly on the cocktails and techniques. We will both be sharing more photos and recipes with you in the future and I can't wait! 

Now back to BACON... 

Who doesn't love bacon?! If it's you, look the other way. Nathan and I both used bacon and Barrel Smoked Maple Syrup in our recipes. First up, Nathan's created a great recipe using bacon, Tippleman's Bourbon Barrel Smoked Maple Syrup and popcorn.
I share the recipe here but check out Follow That Fork for variations and other recipes.  

 

Smoked Maple Bacon Popcorn

by Nathan from www.followthatfork.com

Smoked Maple Bacon Popcorn  -photo by Nathan Hubble

Smoked Maple Bacon Popcorn  -photo by Nathan Hubble

Smoked Maple Bacon Popcorn

by Nathan from www.followthatfork.com

About 15 cups popped popcorn

1 cup Tippleman's Barrel Smoked Maple Syrup

1/2 cup butter

1 tsp sea salt (smoked salt if you happen to have it handy) 

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 cup Crumbled Crispy bacon  *reserve the bacon fat for the next recipe*

1/4 cup cocktail peanuts (optional)

Candy thermometer

Preheat oven to 225 degrees. In a large glass bowl*, stir together popcorn, bacon and peanuts.

Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the smoked maple syrup and salt. Using a candy thermometer bring the temp up to 240 degrees, then add baking soda. The mixture will bubble up. Carefully pour the hot candy mixture over the popcorn and stir to evenly coat. Spread into a flat layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper (if you don't have parchment paper- butter the bottom of the pan before spreading the popcorn mixture) and bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Take out the oven and let cool.  Store in an Airtight container.

 

*remember the hot candied liquid is molten! Be sure to use a glass bowl or large metal pot when mixing together the popcorn mixture with the hot candy mixture.

 

Bacon, Smoked Maple Syrup & Bourbon

Remember that bacon you cooked up? of course you do you most likely snagged a piece or two while waiting for the candy mixture to cook ;)

This next recipe is actually two recipes and includes a technique known as fat washing.  

I admit that Fat washing doesn't sound appealing, at all. "What are you doing today?"  "Oh, I'm fat washing my bourbon."  "????"

So here goes, fat washing is a technique used to impart the flavor of different fats or oils into your spirit of choice. Still not convinced? How about peanut butter fat washed vodka with chocolate liqueur for a Chocolate peanut butter martini, or maybe peanut butter bourbon in a blackberry smash (peanut butter & Jelly). Rum infused with butter or coconut oil or for the more adventurous how about pork fat in mezcal.  There are many innovative recipes out there using the fat washing technique.  Have fun creating!

For now here is an easy and tasty cocktail using bourbon, bacon and barrel smoked maple syrup. 

Smoked Maple Bacon Old Fashioned

*This is a two part recipe* 

Bacon Washed Bourbon

750 ml Bourbon (I used Four Roses small batch)  

1  1/2 oz Reserved bacon grease (about 4 strips of cooked bacon) 

Large airtight glass container (Quart size -32 oz mason jar should be large enough)

Time - it takes approximately 24 hours to fat wash the bourbon 

Cook up your bacon for the Smoked Maple Bacon Popcorn and reserve the bacon grease. 

Let's get started. First pour your bourbon into the glass container, then pour bacon grease through a fine mesh strainer into the bourbon. Put your lid on and shake for about 20 seconds. Let sit on counter for about 4 hours. Place in freezer overnight. In the morning scoop out the bacon fat and run the bacon infused bourbon through a mesh strainer, cheesecloth or coffee filter. 

Voila it's as simple as that! The bourbon takes on a smokey mild bacon flavor. See Below for Smoked Maple Bacon Old Fashioned recipe.

*optional: Try fat washing Bacon into Portside Distillery's Maple Vanilla Rum or into vodka for Bacon Bloody Mary's 

Photo by Suzuran photography

Photo by Suzuran photography

Now that you've bacon washed your bourbon, you're ready to start experimenting with smokey bacon bourbon. 

Smoked Maple and Bacon Old fashioned

2 oz Bacon washed bourbon

1/4 oz Tippleman's Bourbon Barrel Smoked Maple syrup

4-6 dashes Full Measure Aromatic bitters

Garnish with smoked maple candied bacon strip or Luxardo cherry

Large Ice ball / cube

Add ice ball to rocks glass. In mixing glass filled with ice, add bacon bourbon, Tippleman's barrel smoked maple syrup, Full Measure aromatic bitters. Stir until well mixed, about 25 seconds. Strain and pour into your rocks glass, garnish and enjoy!

Hopefully you've enjoyed our collaborative blog post.

Make sure to subscribe to Nathan's blog, Follow That Fork, for more cocktail and non-cocktail recipes. You'll be seeing a lot more from both of us in the future.  

We'd love to hear from you! If you've tried some of our recipes and would like to share just tag us on instagram 

Happy Hour Collection @happyhourcle  and  Follow That Fork @nhubble