Candied Bacon Brussel Sprouts

I was 23 years old before I tasted a brussel sprout that I liked. Since then, it’s been off to the races. This is my all time favorite brussel sprouts recipe. It’s super fast and easy, somehow still light and not greasy, and both sweet and savory all at once.

The perfect side – sweet and savory candied brussel sprouts with bacon!

Materials

For this recipe, I definitely recommend a large 10″ or more cast iron skillet. A heavy bottom pan will also work, but won’t get you that same great sear and flavor. You’ll also need a cutting board, sharp all-purpose knife, and a spatula or tongs that are resistant to high heat. I prefer a wooden spatula, metal spatula, or metal tongs. That’s it!

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb of bacon
    • Note: I really love and prefer using hunk or rasher bacon for this over sliced, but any good bacon will do. I’ve even used cured shoulder or loin before instead of belly bacon.
  • 1 lb of brussel sprouts
  • 1/4 cup of chicken stock
    • Sub Note: In a pinch or if you like the flavor, you can use white wine instead
  • 2 tbsp of brown sugar
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Recipe

  1. Heat the cast iron skillet on the stove over medium-high heat.
  2. Cut the bacon into chunks of desired size. If using rashers, I prefer to trim a little of the fat and cut into approximately 1/2″ pieces. If using sliced, I cut into roughly 1″ pieces.
  3. Once the pan is hot, throw in the bacon. Let it cook all the way through, stirring occasionally.
  4. While the bacon is cooking, cut the ends off your brussel sprouts and slice them length wise.
  5. Once the bacon is completely cooked, remove it from the pan and place it on a plate nearby.
  6. Drain all the bacon grease except approximately 1 tbsp, enough to fully coat the bottom of your skillet.
  7. Lower the heat to medium and place your brussel sprouts in the pan cut side down, so they all look like hemispheres with the flat side down. I often do this one at a time with the tongs. [Note: Don’t overload or double up. If you have too many spouts, just do them in batches, adding a little more oil/grease in between.]
  8. Now, here’s the trick. DON’T TOUCH THEM. Let them hard sear for approximately 8 minutes in exactly one spot. This is what gives them a beautiful brown side and crispy texture.
  9. After the sear is complete, lower the heat to low-medium and add the 1/4 cup of chicken stock. The sear cooks the bottoms, but the rest of the sprout is still mostly raw. Adding the stock cooks them all the way through.
  10. Shake the skillet / stir the sprouts intermittently until almost all of the stock (all but ~2 tbsp) has evaporated. This should only take ~2-3 minutes since the skillet was extremely hot.
  11. Add the bacon back into the sprouts and stir to combine.
  12. Add the 2 tbsp of brown sugar and stir until dissolved and well combined, approximately 30 seconds.
  13. Remove from the heat and serve immediately!

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