Bacon Cupcakes, Bacon Cake? Why Not?

1 4- to 5-pound pork belly
Cure, as needed
1 pounds applewood chunks
2 pounds cherrywood chunks
2 cups agave nectar
½ cup ground Szechuan Buttons

Directions for the Cure:

Combine salt, sugars, bay leaves, pepper, thyme, allspice and chili flakes.

Directions for the Pork:

Submerge the pork belly in the cure for 3.5-4 days. Remove from the cure. Rinse thoroughly twice. Let the bacon air-dry uncovered in the refirgerator for 24 hours. In a smoker of grill over indirect heat, smoke the bacon using a mix of cherry and applewood chips or chunks for 6 hours. Remove from smoker and reserve in a chilled place.

Directions to Serve:

Using a meat slicer, slice bacon. Preheat a hot grill using hardwood lump charcoal. Brush or drizzle agave nectar onto slices. Grill the bacon slices for 1 minute per side or until crispy. Sprinkle evenly with Szechuan buttons and serve.

Kevin Bacon's Last Meal: Bacon Sloppy Joe's With Tangy Mexican Crema on Baguette

By Nick Suarez; tied for Second Place in the Audience Award at the Bacon Takedown

Ingredients:

12 pounds ground pork, beef and veal
8 pounds slab bacon
1 large (28 ounce) can crushed New Jersey tomatoes
2 Cans tomato Paste
8 large carrots
5 large onions
6 large shallots
4 large red bell peppers
2 cups ketchup
1 cup white wine
½ cup maple syrup
¼ cup brown sugar
½ cup Piri-Piri Pepper Sauce
⅛ cup cilantro
⅛ cup peanut bButter
Sprinkling cayenne
Sprinkling Old Bay
Sprinkling salt
Sprinkling Pepper
5 cups Mexican Crema
14 baguettes, sliced into thin slices

Directions:

1. Sear beef, pork and veal in large stock pot.

2. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 10 hours (Yes, it takes a long time!!).

3. Slice 14 Baguetttes into thin slices.

4. Put Crema in Squeeze Bottle.

5. Serve 1 Tablespoon of Sloppy Joe Mix with squirt of Crema on individual piece of Baguette.

6. Enjoy.

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