Coffee Rubbed Bacon

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In my thirty-something years on this blessed earth, I have never, I repeat never, been a coffee-drinker. I didn’t pick up the habit in college. Nor did I partake in grad school. Even law school couldn’t shake my resolve. Then when I practiced law and worked crazy hours, I still didn’t drink it. Now, lest you think I am one of those peculiar creatures who can get by without caffeine, rest assured I am not. Diet Coke was always my poison of choice.

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But recently, I’ve read some credible and very disturbing things about aspartame, and some studies done regarding diet sodas in general. It chilled my bones to the core. I quit cold turkey a few weeks ago. So for about a week following that, I tried to subsist on no caffeine. Hoo-boy. That did NOT work.

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Thus, it is with very great reluctance that I have started drinking a morning cup o’ joe. Now, it wasn’t any odd personal principles that kept me away from coffee – it’s that I find it very off-putting. I sincerely dislike both its taste and smell. But, we do what we must to function in the real world, so coffee it is. Every morning I brew myself a cup, and upon taking the mug out of the coffee maker, I usually groan, “ohhhh, it smells like coffee!” And then I take a sip and whine, “Ewwww, it tastes like coffee.” Matt looks up from what he’s doing with a bemused look, shakes his head and returns to whatever he was doing.

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Slowly I am getting used to it. And I am functioning much better with the caffeine, thankfully. And since this switch hasn’t killed me, I decided to be really brave, and do something previously unthinkable: take bacon, one of my favorite flavors on earth, and smother it with well, coffee.

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It wasn’t terrible! That’s quite an understatement; actually, it was strangely addicting. The flavor combination was sweet, salty and bitter, and they all worked in complete harmony together. I really and truly loved it! And if I loved it, that means you will too, no matter who you are and no matter where you fall on the coffee spectrum.

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Source: slightly adapted from Joy the Baker Cookbook by Joy Wilson

Ingredients:
8 slices uncooked bacon
1/4 cup freshly ground coffee
1/4 tsp chili powder
2 tbs brown sugar
2 tbs molasses
1 tbs water

Directions:
Layer cascading bacon slices atop one another so the fat is on top. Place bacon on top of parchment paper.
In a small bowl, mix together ground coffee, chili powder, brown sugar, molasses and water. Spread the mixture on top of the bacon slices, pressing in with the back of a spoon. Wrap the bacon in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator. Let sit at least 2 hours, and up to overnight.
When ready to bake, place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375 F. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper and place a rimmed cooling rack on top. Lay the bacon slices on the cooling rack in a single layer. If you prefer, you can wipe off some of the coffee rub.
Bake until the bacon is browned and crispy, 17 to 20 minutes. Remove from the oven. Let cool on the pan for 5 minutes. Remove with tongs and serve immediately.

6 responses to “Coffee Rubbed Bacon

  1. In my 40-something years of being on this earth, coffee has been a regular part of my day (even as a child). Yet, I’ve always been nervous about incorporating into my cooking. Not sure why, but I think this recipe is a good starting point for me. Thanks for helping to lead me from the culinary dark ages. 🙂

    • Texan New Yorker

      Thanks! Did you by any chance grow up in Louisiana? I ask because my mom did, and she told me that it’s customary there to give little children, even infants, coffee by mixing a little bit into their formula or milk.

      The bacon was excellent and not overly coffee flavor, if that makes sense. Do you like coffee ice cream? I think that may be my next cooking with coffee venture, now that I’m getting more tolerant of the taste.

  2. I made it through college without becoming a coffee drinker, then took my first job and was expected to go for coffee at the neighboring farms to help the farmers practice their English. I didn’t want to insult any of my hosts, and I soon figured that if I filled up my cup with milk and poured a little bit of tea in it for color, I could get it down. I became the crazy American who drank really weak tea.

    I still love tea, and that is my staple caffeine source, though I have a nasty Coke Zero habit that I drastically decreased but have not shaken. Cold turkey–oh the headaches! Caffeine causes your blood vessels to constrict, and if your body is used to a dose of caffeine at a certain time of day, say, morning, and doesn’t get it you have a rebound vasodilation effect. And there’s not much extra space in your head for the enlarged vessels, therefore the headaches.

    I’m told if you taper they do go away, but I’ve never done it myself.

    So–bacon, YUM! Coffee–um, how ’bout I swap out some brown sugar instead??

    • Texan New Yorker

      Oh the headaches is correct!!! And major fatigue. Plus some crankiness. It wasn’t pretty.

      Your first job sounds so neat! I can definitely imagine not wanting to insult anyone in such a setting.

      I actually would recommend using the coffee as written. It’s not an overly coffee taste, it really blends with the other flavors and becomes something unique. There’s definitely undertones of coffee, but it’s really good.

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