Bacon, The Wright Way—A Century Old Secret of Quality and Tradition
May 2023 Issue
by Lindsay Gifford
Information, Recipes and Photography
provided by Wright® Brand
Things are heating up this month. Summer is well on its way and with it comes Mother’s Day, graduation parties and backyard barbecues—all of which are better with bacon. Isn’t everything? We reached out to the experts, Wright® Brand Bacon for some of their best sizzling summer recipes.
Rich in both tradition and flavor, the bold taste of Wright Brand bacon has been savored since Roy Wright and Fay Eggleston handcrafted their first batch in 1922. It all started with a belief in a better slice of bacon. They set out to create a thicker, fuller-flavored slice of bacon, and they did it the only way they knew how: craftsmanship; commitment; and a 100-year-old proprietary, mouth-watering family recipe for curing.
In the back of their small grocery store in Vernon, Texas, Roy and Fay hand-selected every pork belly and trimmed it to perfection. They cured it, smoked each piece over real hickory wood and hand-trimmed every thick slice. When they finally tasted their handiwork, they knew their careful attention to detail had paid off; it was just Wright!
Word of their special thick-cut bacon spread, and the family business quickly grew. Through it all, the family has maintained complete control of the quality of their bacon and how it’s made. Overseeing the process from beginning to end, every piece of bacon meets their high standard of craftsmanship and care. Today, 100 years later, they still have one way of doing things—The Wright Way, with passion, pride, and hard work.
When it comes to bacon, they are obviously the experts, and we’re excited to share one of their secrets: Put away the skillet and fire up the oven! That's right. Baking bacon in the oven unlocks better flavor and texture, not to mention it's a lot easier to clean up. So preheat the oven to 350°F, spread out your bacon evenly, and bake for 15-20 minutes. Draw off the drippings with a paper towel and devour.
Ready for better bacon? Can you smell it sizzling? Well, turn the page for flavor-filled fare featuring delectable Wright® Brand Bacon. Plus, you can log onto www.wrightbrand.com for more great recipes. But don't take our word for it, grab one of their six flavors of bacon today and get sizzling this summer.
Bacon and Ale Skillet Braised Chicken Thighs
Prep Time: 40 mins | Cook Time: 1 hr
Serving Size: 6-8
8 Chicken thighs, bone-In, skin-On
12 slices Wright® Brand Applewood Smoked Bacon, cut Into ½” strips
1 lb. Pearl onions, red and/or white, peeled
2 oz Malt vinegar
2 bottles of a medium-bodied flavorful Microbrew (like an IPA)
1 Tbsp Thyme, finely chopped
1 tsp Parsley, finely chopped
Salt and finely ground black pepper, to taste
Place chicken thighs on a cookie sheet and pat down both sides with a paper towel to dry. Season both sides with salt and black pepper and leave them skin side up until you’re ready to cook. Place the cut bacon into a large (preferably cast iron) skillet over medium heat and cook the bacon to a nice crispy brown. Then remove the cooked bacon with a slotted spoon, and reserve. Place your chicken thighs, skin side down, into the skillet. Cook over medium heat until the skin is golden brown, approximately 7 minutes. Flip the chicken and cook it about 5 more minutes meat side down until golden brown. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside. Add the peeled pearl onions to the skillet and brown them gently on all sides for approximately 10 minutes.
Drain off the excess fat from your skillet and add malt vinegar, then reduce by half (approximately 1 minute or less). Using a wooden spoon, rubber spatula, or flat whisk, scrape the browned bits from the bottom of your pan. Add both bottles of beer to the skillet and bring it to a boil, scraping browned bits from the pan.
Add the crispy bacon, chicken (skin side up), and 2 teaspoons of chopped thyme back into your skillet. Then reduce the heat to a simmer and cover, leaving the lid slightly askew to allow steam to escape. Cook at a light simmer until the chicken thighs are cooked through, about 20-25 minutes or until chicken reaches 180°F.
After the chicken is cooked through, remove the lid and serve two thighs per person with a generous ladle of bacon, onions, and beer braising juices. Sprinkle with remaining thyme and parsley and serve hot.
1) If you are worried about the beer flavor being too strong, substitute 12 oz. low/no sodium chicken broth for 12 oz. (1 bottle) beer.
2) Consider complementing your dish with potatoes, polenta, or Bacon-Hazelnut Farro salad (see recipe towards end of article).
The Burger featuring Wright® Brand Bacon
Prep Time: 1 hr | Cook Time: 30 mins
Serving Size: 4
12 slices Wright® Brand Applewood Smoked Bacon
3/4 cup real Maple syrup
4 Kaiser rolls, split and toasted
2 lbs. Ground beef
4 slices Wright® Brand Applewood Smoked Bacon
8 oz American cheese (11 slices)
⅔ cup Mayonnaise
1 (7 oz) jar Pimento, drained and chopped
½ tsp ground Black pepper
½ tsp Cayenne
1 cup shredded extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, divided
3 slices Wright® Brand Applewood Smoked Bacon
2 cups mayonnaise
Preheat oven to 400°F. Then place all the bacon on a foil-lined baking sheet and cook for 18-20 minutes or until crisp. Remove the bacon from your oven and place it onto paper towels to drain any excess grease. Then, coat 12 of the bacon strips with maple syrup, keep them warm and set to the side.
Make the Bacon Pimento Cheese spread: Dice the American cheese into small cubes and place into a food processor. Add 4 strips of bacon, mayonnaise, pimentos, seasonings and ½ cup of the shredded cheddar cheese, then blend it all until it’s well incorporated. Next remove the mixture from the bowl by scraping with a spatula and pour it into another mixing bowl with the remaining cheese. Use the spatula to fold in the shredded cheese and place into a plastic container. This step can be done ahead of time and held in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Make the Bacon Mayonnaise: Take 3 strips of bacon, crumble them into small pieces and place them into a mixing bowl. Fold in the mayonnaise until incorporated well and place into a plastic container. This step can be done ahead of time and held in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Fire up your grill: Preheat your outdoor grill to medium heat. Shape the ground beef into 4-6 patties, about 1-1½ inch thick. Grill the burgers for 6-10 minutes per side or until an internal temperature of 145-165°F is reached and juices run clear. Serve the burgers up hot between the toasted Kaiser rolls with our Bacon Pimento Cheese spread and Bacon Mayonnaise. That’s a burger, the Wright Way.
Bacon Backyard Corn
Prep Time: 10 mins | Cook Time: 25 mins
Serving Size: 4
1/4 cup Honey
1/4 cup Chipotle peppers, canned, puréed
1/4 cup Butter, melted
4 Corn ears, shucked
8 slices Wright® Brand Naturally Hickory Smoked Bacon
Preheat your grill to medium heat. While the grill warms up, mix puréed chipotle peppers, honey and melted butter in a bowl to make the glaze. Cut the ears of corn in half and wrap one slice of Wright® Brand bacon around each corn cob half. Secure the bacon ends with toothpicks to make sure it doesn’t go anywhere. Spray the grill with non-stick cooking spray. Roll the wrapped corn cob halves in the honey chipotle glaze and place them on the grill. Turn the corn every 1-2 minutes and occasionally baste with the remaining glaze. It should take about 20-25 minutes for the corn to cook and the bacon to crisp up. Remove corn from the grill, season with salt (to taste), and dig in.
Prep Time: 10 mins | Cook Time: 25 mins
Serving Size: 4
3 Tbsps Butter, melted
3/4 cup Yellow onion, diced
1/3 cup Jalapeños, fresh, diced
3 Tbsps Honey
3/4 cup Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 pkg Cornbread dry mix (8.5 oz.), prepared
10 slices Wright® Brand Naturally Hickory Smoked Bacon
Place 10” cast iron skillet in the oven and preheat oven to 375˚F. While that gets hot, cook up 10 slices of bacon until crispy (to make crumbling easier). Allow the bacon to cool slightly, then crumble it into a bowl and set aside. In a small mixing bowl, combine prepared cornbread batter and cheddar cheese and set aside. In a small sauté pan over medium-low heat, cook onions and jalapeños until the onions begin to caramelize. Using oven mitts, remove hot skillet from oven. Carefully distribute bacon, onions and jalapeños across the bottom of the skillet and then pour prepared cornbread mix over sauté blend. Place the skillet back into the oven for 4 minutes, then baste cornbread with butter and return to oven. Repeat the basting procedure every 2 minutes until the cornbread is golden brown and slightly firm.
Steak Cut Heritage Cured
Slow cured thick-cut Wright® Brand Bacon skewered and grilled to crispy tender perfection, then glazed with ancho pepper honey to give the rich umami a little sweet heat.
Prep Time: 30 mins | Cook Time: 20 mins
Serving Size: 12-15 Lollipops
1 pkg (24 oz) Wright® Brand Applewood Smoked Bacon
1 Tbsp ground Ancho pepper
1 cup Clover honey
1 Tbsp prepared Adobo sauce
Prepared Sriracha seasoning, to taste
¼ cup Green onions, sliced
Preheat your oven to 325°F. Remove bacon from it’s package, leaving it stacked together. Slice stack into 1" wide blocks, then skewer each 1” stack with a wooden skewer, and place on a sheet pan with a baking rack. Roast the bacon lollipops for 30 minutes, or until the fat has rendered. While cooking the bacon, heat the honey in a small sauce pan on medium low, stirring in the adobo and ancho pepper. Hold at this temp for five minutes. After the bacon is cooked, coat generously adobo honey (like you would baste a turkey) until the outside is sticky and sweet. Remove the bacon from the pan and place on a clean plate, then chill for 20 minutes in the refrigerator.
Heat your outdoor grill to medium-high and grill the bacon for 5-10 minutes or until peak crispiness is achieved. Remembering to baste the bacon with the adobo honey while on the grill. Remove the delicious lollipops from the grill and finish them off with sriracha seasoning and green onion.
Maple-Flavored Bacon Waffles
Prep Time: 15 mins | Cook Time: 25 mins
Serving Size: 6
1 lb. Wright® Brand Naturally Hickory Smoked Maple Flavored Bacon
2 cups flour
3/4 cup Brown sugar
1 Tbsp Baking powder
1 tsp Salt
21/2 Cup Buttermilk
2/3 Cup Vegetable oil
1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
Chive, for garnish
1 tsp Baking soda
Preheat the oven to 350°F, spread out your bacon evenly on a sheet pan, and bake for 15-20 minutes. Draw off the drippings with a paper towel and reserve grease.
Preheat a waffle iron and grease with bacon fat. Whisk the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, beat eggs, buttermilk,
oil and vanilla together. Fold the wet mixture into the flour mixture. Add cooked bacon
and stir carefully. Do not over mix.
Ladle 1/3 cup of the batter into the preheated waffle iron and cook until desired texture.
Bacon Wrapped Cedar Planked Trout
Prep Time: 20 mins | Cook Time: 30 mins
Serving Size: 4
4 slices Wright® Brand Naturally Hickory Smoked Bacon, par baked until pliable
2 medium whole Trout
Lemon pepper seasoning, to taste
8 Lemon slices, thin rings
2 Tbsps Parsley sprigs
1 tsp Garlic, thin sliced
4 Rosemary sprigs
6 cloves Garlic
2 Cedar planks, soaked
Soak cedar planks for at least one hour before cooking. Preheat grill over medium heat. While the grill heats up, take a paper towel and carefully pat trout skin and flesh dry. Brush your fish with olive oil and season with lemon pepper. Carefully slice open your trout. Fill the inside with lemon slices and parsley.
On a clean work surface, lay down two strips of Wright® Brand bacon. Place stuffed trout over bacon. Top the fish with thin sliced garlic and wrap bacon around the trout. Use a rosemary sprig to pierce through the bacon and fish to hold bacon in place. Top with thin lemon slices. Place pre-soaked planks on the grill, and place bacon-wrapped trout on top. Place garlic clove in each fish’s mouth, and cook for about 25 minutes, until the bacon has crisped.
Bacon Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Smothered with Bacon Sloppy Joe
Prep Time: 10 mins | Cook Time: 35 mins
Serving Size: 4
12 slices Wright Brand Naturally Hickory Smoked Bacon, divided
1 Red bell pepper, diced
1 medium Onion, diced
1 lb. Ground beef
1 (12 oz) can Sloppy joe sauce
8 slices White bread
8 slices American cheese
Sour cream, to taste
Preheat the oven to 350°F, spread out your bacon evenly on a sheet pan, and bake for 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool slightly, then crumble bacon into a bowl, and set aside. While bacon is cooking, sauté the peppers and onions in a large skillet over medium-high heat until the onions are golden brown. Add beef to the pepper and onion mixture and stir until beef is thoroughly cooked. Add sloppy joe sauce and ¾ of the crumbled bacon to beef mixture, let simmer.
Now for the grilled cheese sandwich: Place 4 slices of bread on a work surface. Top with one slice of cheese each, and divide the remaining ¼ of crumbled bacon between each. Top with another slice of cheese and remaining bread. Brush both sides with melted butter. In a skillet over medium heat, cook each sandwich until browned on both sides. To plate: place grilled cheese sandwich and top with sloppy joe mixture and a spoonful of sour cream.
Bacon Hazelnut Farro Salad with Bourbon Bacon Vinaigrette
Prep Time: 35 mins | Cook Time: 1 hr
Serving Size: 5-6 bowls
2 cups Farro, rinsed
6 cups Water
1 Tsp Salt
1 cup Hazelnuts, peeled, toasted, roughly chopped
12 slices Wright® Brand Barrel Aged Bourbon Bacon, cut into ½” strips
1 Orange, zested, then juiced
1 cup golden Raisins, roughly chopped
1/3 cup Shallot, diced small
¼ cup Scallion greens, thinly sliced on bias
2 Tbsps Parsley, finely chopped
1¼ Thyme, stripped from branch, finely chopped
½ tsp Sage, finely chopped
6 oz Bourbon—get the good stuff
3 oz Cider vinegar
Salt and finely ground black pepper, to taste
Combine water and salt in a 2 quart pot, stir to distribute the salt and add your rinsed farro. Cover the farro pot and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat. Then, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, or until tender. (Keep in mind farro will have a good amount of chewiness when cooked right, it should never be hard.) When fully cooked, pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer to drain off excess liquid. Discard the liquid and spread the farro on a cookie sheet and leave it out to cool. Place the bacon in a skillet over medium heat. Cook uncovered until the fat has rendered out and the bacon is crispy brown. Pour the liquid fat and crisp bacon through a strainer into a medium bowl, reserving both the cooked bacon and the rendered fat.
Pour your (top-shelf) bourbon into the bacon pan and use a wooden spoon, rubber spatula, or flat whisk to scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Then place over medium low-heat. Now we can’t stress this next part enough. Alcohol is flammable, so be aware: WHEN BOURBON COMES TO A BOIL ON YOUR GAS STOVE OR COOKTOP, IT WILL CATCH FIRE – USE EXTREME CAUTION IN THIS STEP. Keep a large metal lid on hand, to cover the dish in case your flambé gets out of hand. The flames should not be large and when they subside the bourbon is done cooking. Pour the (fire-tested) reduced bourbon from the pan and reserve it for later.
Assemble the bourbon-bacon vinaigrette: In a medium mixing bowl, add 3 oz of your reserved bacon fat. Whisk in the reduced bourbon, cider vinegar, and juice from the orange, then season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Serve up the salad: In a large mixing bowl, combine cooled, cooked farro, crisped bacon, hazelnuts, golden raisins, scallions, shallots, parsley, thyme, sage and orange zest (reserve a fat pinch of each—scallions, parsley, and thyme to sprinkle over the salad after plating). Add 4 oz vinaigrette and stir well to get a nice distribution of ingredients and dressing.
Chef’s Notes: Your salad and vinaigrette can be assembled one day in advance and refrigerated (separately). Just be sure to remove the salad and vinaigrette from the refrigerator one hour before serving it up. You should dress salad just before serving. If you’re having problems finding farro, substitute wild rice, brown rice, or quinoa. Just cook it as directed on the package. Can’t find hazelnuts either? No problem, just toast whole almonds or pecans instead.