For entertaining, we like DIY food bars. Guests help themselves, and you only need to get involved when a plate or bowl needs to be refilled.
Cocktails, Hors D’Oeuvre & Appetizers
Whether for a casual New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day, you can create a memorable experience for bacon lovers.
RECIPE #1: BACON BLOODY MARY
The easiest route to a Bacon Bloody Mary is to garnish a regular Bloody Mary with a strip of bacon. (You can do this with any savory cocktail, from bourbon on the rocks to a Martini.)
Or, you could go whole hog with bacon vodka, bacon Bloody Bary mix and a bacon salt rim, as they do at Bacon Bourbon USA.
We also have recipe for a BLT Bloody Mary, courtesy of the Hotel Jerome in Aspen.
You can serve plain bacon, and showcase the difference between applewood- and hickory-smoked varieties.
You can also enhance bacon with herbs, spices and sweeteners, not to mention chocolate. The next two recipes are from Smithfield.
Smithfield even has ready-to-print labels to distinguish what you’re serving.
Ingredients For 12 Servings
1. PREHEAT the oven to 375°F. Line 2 baking pans with parchment paper. Remove the bacon from the package and space evenly on the pan, without overlapping slices.
2. PLACE the pans in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, rotating them halfway through. While the bacon is cooking, combine the honey, bourbon and maple syrup.
3. REMOVE the pans from the oven and carefully drain off the grease (you may wish to reserve it in a jar for cooking greens, eggs, etc.).
4. BRUSH the bacon with the bourbon/maple syrup/honey mixture. Return the pans to the oven and bake for 3-5 minutes. Let the bacon cool slightly and then serve immediately.
RECIPE #3: SEA SALT CARMEL BACON OR SALTED CHOCOLATE BACON
Like chocolate-covered bacon, this recipe from Smithfield qualifies as dessert!
You can substitute chocolate sauce to make a chocolate bacon variation.
Ingredients For 12 Servings
1. PREHEAT the oven to 375°F. Line 2 baking pans with nonstick foil. Remove bacon from package and space evenly without overlapping slices.
2. PLACE the pans in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Rotate the pans halfway and continue baking until crisp, about 20 minutes. Remove the pans from the oven. Using tongs, place the strips on a clean parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Let cool slightly.
3. HEAT the caramel in the microwave for 10 seconds. Drizzle the bacon with the caramel and sprinkle with sea salt. Return to the oven and bake 2 minutes. Let sit 5 minutes. Using tongs, remove to cooling rack. Cool 5 minutes before serving.
Ingredients For 12 Biscuits
1. PREHEAT the oven to 450°F. In a small bowl, toss together the cheese, green onions and bacon with 1 tablespoon of flour. Set aside.
2. WHISK together the flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl. Use a pastry cutter or two forks to cut in the butter. Add the milk, stirring in just enough to bring the ingredients together and make a soft dough. Gently fold in the cheese mixture.
3. TURN the dough onto a floured surface and knead for 1 minute. Pat or roll out the dough to a thickness of ½ or ¾ inch. Cut into rounds with a 2 ½ inch round biscuit cutter.
4. PLACE the biscuits on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown on top. Ideally serve warm, although they’re delicious at room temperature, too.
This sweet-and-savory jam from Smithfield is delicious on biscuits, and also scores as a condiment on sandwiches, with eggs, and with grilled meats, poultry and fish/seafood.
Ingredients For 9 Servings
1. COOK the bacon in large, heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-low heat until just crisp, turning as needed. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towels until cooled.
2. DRAIN all but 2 tablespoons of bacon fat from the pan. Increase the heat to medium and cook the onions for 8-10 minutes or until soft and translucent.
3. ADD the preserves and sugar to the pan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until hot and the sugar has dissolved. Add in the vinegar, cloves, salt and pepper and cook for 8-10 minutes or until thickened and syrupy, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile finely chop bacon while jam is reducing. Add bacon and thyme to pan and stir to combine, cooking until to your desired consistency. Let the jam cool. You can store in airtight jars for up to two weeks.
TIP: For a smoother, less chunky jam, pulse the cooled bacon jam in a food processor until it is the desired smoothness.
This pie crust top from Smithfield may be the best-tasting lattice ever.
Rome or Gala)
 Bacon apple pie (photo courtesy Smithfield).  Bacon chocolate chip cookies from David Venable | QVC. Here’s the recipe.  Maple bacon bourbon ice cream. Here’s the recipe from from Cherry Tea Cakes.  And then there’s the Bacon Clothesline (photo courtesy David Burke | Fabrick Restaurant).
1. HEAT the oven to 425°F. Place the pie crust in a 9-inch pie plate and crimp the edges.
2. TOSS together the apples and orange juice in a large bowl. Add the cranberries, walnuts and fresh ginger and mix well.
3. STIR together the flour, ½ cup brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in small bowl. Add to the apples and toss until the slices are evenly coated. Pour the mixture into the prepared pie crust.
4. WEAVE the bacon slices together over top of pie, leaving 1-inch spaces between the slices (4 slices by 4 slices); tuck the ends of the strips under the apples as needed. Sprinkle the remaining 3 tablespoons of brown sugar over the top of the bacon slices.
5. BAKE the pie in a 425°F oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350°F and bake for approximately 50 minutes, until the bacon is browned and crisp. Cover the edges of the crust with foil if it starts to get too dark.
6. LET the pie stand for 15 minutes before slicing. This pie is best served warm because of the bacon. Cover and refrigerate any leftovers.