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Beer Candied Bacon

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When you grow up at Lake Tahoe, having a boat is almost a necessity. Heading to the beach every day in the summertime is just what you do. The problem with a boat is, it’s loads of fun for everyone …except the boat owner. My Dad was that boat owner. He was the one who had all the responsibility, and there was a lot of it. Making sure that the boat was clean and operational. Making sure everyone was safe. Making sure that he was a good enough instructor so that his little girls could get up on one ski. Making sure everyone was happy and having a great time. Then, making sure the boat came back safely, was cleaned again and ready for the next outing. I think if my Dad could have thrown that boat overboard, he would have. Nevertheless, every Father’s Day was spent on the choppy and chilly waters of breathtakingly beautiful Lake Tahoe, with Dad at the helm. Once we pulled up to a sandy beach, the day of frolicking in the sun began and my Dad could finally relax—at least for a few hours. I’ll always remember how he would reach into the cooler and pull out a bag of homemade candied bacon and these tiny little cans of beer. They were called “Little Olys”, the 7-oz cans of Olympia beer. The Little Oly, by the way, was manufactured by the Olympia Brewing Company only between 1962 and 1971, and during that time, it was my Dad’s beer of choice. Then, there was the beer-candied bacon, and with it came a major problem. There was never enough. You just couldn’t stop eating this stuff. It was the absolute perfect combination of sweet and salty with a little kick of cayenne just to keep you coming back for more. The brown sugar and beer batter was mopped onto strips of bacon and then slow cooked until it was candied to perfection. What a great Father’s Day memory. A stick of bacon in one hand and a Little Oly in the other and Dad was in hog heaven.

Beer Candied Bacon


  • 1 lb bacon, thick-cut
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup dark beer (I used Stockyard Oatmeal Stout)
  • ⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Pinch of course salt


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a bowl, combine brown sugar, beer and cayenne, whisking to form syrup.
  3. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  4. Place a wire cooling rack or oven rack on top.
  5. Arrange bacon on the rack. Cook for 10 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven and brush one side of the bacon with the beer syrup.
  7. Turn bacon over and brush the other side with syrup.
  8. Sprinkle one side of bacon strips with a few grains of course salt.
  9. Return to oven and cook for 15 minutes.
  10. Repeat process until bacon is browned and syrup is used up.
  11. Don’t burn the bacon.
  12. Cool to allow bacon to harden.

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Bacon in the oven.

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