Bacon Crimes Series
Edition 1: Flabby Wrapped
There is only one texture that bacon should be and that’s CRISPY! It’s one of the reasons I actually prefer thin-cut bacon over thick. When I have a straight up piece of bacon on my plate, on a burger, or anywhere for that matter, I want it to be so thin and crispy that it’s nearly impossible to pick it up without it crumbling to pieces. I want the fatty parts to melt away in my mouth and the meaty party to provide the crunch. Okay, maybe the latter is just my preference however; I do believe that 99.9% of bacon eaters prefer any and all of their bacon, crispy. I feel that many “bacon-wrapped” food items tend to be a little on the flabby side which makes me sad. The reason for this post is to bring awareness to the fact that there is a solution! It all starts with what exactly is being wrapped in bacon. Different items take different times to cook. The bacon needs time to cook AND get crispy while whatever it is wrapping typically cooks faster. I’m going to use the extreme example of bacon wrapped shrimp. Depending on size and how it is cooked (grilled, baked, sautéed, etc.) shrimp typically only takes about 3-5 minutes to cook through. If you over cook it: Rubbery chewy crustacean and that’s almost as bad as flabby bacon. Bacon on the other hand, takes much longer; especially if wrapped around something several times creating a thicker area that needs to be penetrated by heat. The solution? Par-cook the bacon! Cook the bacon until still flabby then wrap your item. This will ensure that your bacon gets to maximum crispiness without your shrimp getting to maximum grossness. Pretty simple right? Give my recipe for bacon wrapped shrimp a try and enjoy your crispy bacon, bacon eaters.
I like large shrimp for these skewers; large enough that you can call them “prawns” without feeling like you’re using a fancier word for something solely to sound fancier. These are 18/12 black tigers. (For those that are unaware, 18/12 means that there are about 18-12 each per pound) If you want to go smaller or simply can’t find the larger ones, go smaller, but know that the bacon to shrimp ratio may be off. Just cut the bacon to smaller pieces (after they are par-cooked) as necessary and don’t panic if you are left with more of one or the other. Just find a good way to use it. Extra bacon? Cook it the rest of the way and eat it. Extra Shrimp: see below.
This is about where it should be: Slightly smaller, very pliable, and almost translucent. You’ll see that there isn’t nearly as much fat rendered on the sheet pan as there would be if you cooked it until crispy. This is a good thing for many reasons. 1: The fat will render out and baste the shrimp while grilling. 2: Easier clean-up of the sheet pan. 3:….. Okay, maybe just two reasons.
I like to try my best to leave the little tails on the very end. They usually make for better presentation, but it really doesn’t matter.
You might have some extra shrimp or bacon. Chances are, it will be the shrimp due to the variation in size. Save them if you wish, sauté them up separately, or just skewer them without the bacon. You never know when you might come across one of those who, “don’t dine on swine”. I had three extra skewers worth this time.
Note on J Fae Seasoning: If you don’t have any and/or don’t feel like making any, it’s mostly chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper so just sprinkle some of that on them.
Bacon Wrapped Shrimp
Yield: about 10 skewers
About 2.5lbs 18/12 EZ Peel shrimp
2 Packages bacon, regular cut
2 T cooking oil
If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for at least 15 minutes before.
Par cook the bacon at 400 until almost translucent and still pliable (about 8-10 minutes but check often).
Meanwhile, peel your shrimp and marinate in the oil and seasoning.
When the bacon is cool enough to handle, wrap each shrimp in once piece using the skewers to secure (Put as many as you’d like on each here. I like 3 as that is plenty for just one serving).
Grill over medium high heat until bacon is crisp.
Here they are paired with a brown butter rice pilaf and a pineapple slaw:
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