Bacon candy and bread & butter pickles: the Secret Supper recipes
November 8th, 2010
12:30 AM ET
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In an ideal world, Eatocracy would have a table big enough to seat every one of you around it - breaking bread and sharing stories. Until that day, we can only have a handful of folks to dinner at a time, starting with our inaugural Secret Supper at as-yet-to-be-divulged Atlanta restaurant this Wednesday evening.

Over the next few months, we'll be working with chefs in cities around the US to create menus that will spark conversation about regionally-specific food culture, history and politics - and invite local eaters, farmers, activists and bloggers to join us. We hope we'll get a chance to feast with you in person, but even if we don't, there are still several ways to participate.

– On Twitter, follow @eatocracy and the hashtag #CNNsupper for real-time conversation and chronicles of the events as they unfold. The Atlanta Secret Supper kicks off at 6 p.m. EST on Wednesday, November 10th.

– On iReport, we're giving you a chance to show off your culinary skills. Our Atlanta Secret Chef has shared his/her recipes, centered around the dinner's theme: how chefs' increasingly close collaboration with farmers figures into the preservation and evolution of Southern cooking.

Your iReport assignment - use one of these recipes OR a favored one from either your family or a community cookbook (especially one that's spiral or comb bound) and document the creation of your dish. We'll feature our favorites on Eatocracy over the next few weeks. The chef's identity will be revealed on Wednesday night, but in the meantime, Chef Linton Hopkins of Restaurant Eugene says get cooking!

Candied Bacon

8 smoked bacon slices (we slice these very thin from a slab with a slicer)
4 tbsp light brown sugar
1 pinch cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 325°F
Drag bacon through brown sugar till lightly coated arrange on silpat* on sheet pan
Sprinkle remaining brown sugar and cayenne evenly over slices
Place another silpat on top and place in oven
Bake for 15 min, raise oven temp to 375°F and bake for 5 min, check and see if crisp.
Check every min until ready. Be careful because it can burn easily.

Starting low keeps the bacon flat during cooking; otherwise it would ripple.

A silpat is a silicone baking sheet. If you don't have any on hand, you can use parchment paper.

Sunchoke Relish

3 quarts sunchokes, 1/2" dice
1 quart onion, brunoise*
3 pounds red bell pepper, brunoise
½ gallon cider vinegar
3 pounds sugar
1 tbsp turmeric
3 tbsp yellow mustard seed
3 tbsp celery seed
8 ounces dry mustard
1 tbsp fresh ground black pepper

1. Clean and cut sunchokes to 1/2" dice and soak in brine (2c. salt to 1gal. water).
2. Cut vegetables and set aside.
3. Combine the dry mustard with (3/4c. flour and 1/4c. water) to make a paste.
4. Bring the spices, sugar, and vinegar to a boil (thick bottomed pot).
5. Stir in the mustard paste and cook the flour out (about 10 minutes).
6. Drain sunchokes, bell peppers, onion and place in heated sterile jars.
7. Pour the thickened vinegar mixture over the vegetables and seal the jars.
8. Process at 212°F for 25 minutes.

Sunchokes are also called Jerusalem artichokes. Brunoise is an 1/8"x1/8"x1/8" cut.

Bread & Butter Pickles
Yields around 6 quarts

2 gallons sliced pickling cucumbers
3 gallons water
2 cup salt

1. Dissolve salt into water and soak cucumbers in salt water for 24 hours. Drain and reserve.

2.5 quarts cider vinegar
2.5 quarts sugar

2. Combine and dissolve sugar over low heat (do not boil). When sugar is dissolved stir in:

2 tbsp turmeric
4 tbsp yellow mustard seed
2 tbsp celery seed
2 tbsp cracked black pepper
2 quarts thinly sliced onions
drained cucumbers

3. Stir all the ingredients gently together and bring up to a simmer. Turn off heat and ladle into hot sterilized canning jars. Wipe the rim and softly tighten top. Place jars into boiling water, making sure the top is covered and the glass jars are lifted from the bottom of the pot. Boil for ten minutes, remove the jars from the water and let cool at room temperature. May be eaten immediately but taste best when allowed to age for at least two weeks. Will keep months.

Ideally, this should be made at the height of cucurbit season - which varies around the country.

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Filed under: Buzz • iReport • Make • Pickles • Pickles • Recipes • Secret Suppers • Southern • Think • Twitter

soundoff (56 Responses)
  1. Sandra LeVin

    Sherri Irvin – I could read your writin' all the day long, (although it's only lists of things, I'm getting a real feeling for the south).
    Thank you!

    December 31, 2010 at 4:29 pm |
  2. connie brode

    very good try try them

    December 31, 2010 at 2:37 pm |
  3. George from South Louisiana

    For something bacon related, try popcorn in bacon grease.

    Everything you have is red neck related southern cooking. That is a different section of southern cooking. Try South Louisiana related foods like Gumbo, Shrimp/Crawfish etoufee or Seafood stuffed pork chops for a real slice of heaven.

    December 5, 2010 at 9:32 am |
  4. E.P.Hicks

    I am old and have lived in the deep south all my life. All this farm to table is what we all grew up with and I'm all for it. Just two comments about your quiz.
    The old traditional topping for banana pudding in the South, was and is, meringue. The vanilla wafers are in the pudding, not on the top.
    Sorghum molasses are eaten, usually mixed with pure butter, throughout the South, not ust in Appalachian region.
    Fun quiz, though and I wish I could attend the dinner!

    November 11, 2010 at 9:00 am |
  5. judi

    try infusing the maple syrup with fresh ginger before making the candied bacon

    November 10, 2010 at 2:41 pm |
  6. sally sue

    Lord have mercy is right....Home Grown ga is true to the southern taste chicken and dumplings so good give them a try...

    November 10, 2010 at 2:10 pm |
  7. Lila King

    [test comment]

    November 10, 2010 at 1:41 pm |
  8. Sherri Irvin

    Thanks Southern Bread. Chow Chow. And tater salad. Poke salet. Cornmeal mush. Toast cooked in an iron skillet. Fried green tomatoes. Soldier fudge. My father's family raised hogs and would render lard in a cast iron kettle in the front yard. No grass, of course. Just sand. Swept it with a brush broom. Good for shooting marbles. Lots of feral cats to keep the mice out of the corn crib. Fresh milk right out of the cow. Cream on top. The smokehouse. Hams. Well water. The outhouse (brrr). Yellow jackets around the pear trees. Chiggers from picking blackberries. Beggar lice. Blue tick hounds. Rabbit tobacco! Jimson weed. Snuff. Cross stitch samplers. Crocheted doilies. Linen sheets. Feather beds. Preacher cookies. Great graveyards. Pump organs. All day gospel sings in weather so hot you couldn't breath. Shaped note music. Dulcimers. Banjoes. Mandolines. Bluegrass music. The Darlin's. Andy Griffith. I love the south! Family has been here 6+ generations. All living with 5 miles of Kennesaw Mountain. The war betwixt the states just ended, you know. We lost Tara 'cause we couldn't pay the taxes. Grandpa had to shut down the dairy farm during the depression because no one could afford milk. Now there is a million dollar subdivision on the property. Pass by it every day and just say hi to the ghosts of the cows.

    November 10, 2010 at 10:42 am |
    • justpeachy

      Don't forget the grits...with lots of butter!!!

      November 10, 2010 at 1:17 pm |
  9. Dumbeaux

    Maple Syrup on bacon?? C'mon people, come on down to New Orleans, we'll show you what real candied bacon is when using Steen's Cane Syrup or Sorghum Molasses. Ain't no "meat and taters" country here by far. :-)

    November 10, 2010 at 10:15 am |
  10. Southern Bread

    Hey Sherri you left out the Chow Chow!

    November 10, 2010 at 9:53 am |
  11. Sherri Irvin

    Collards. Sweet potatoes. Hot water cornbread and buttermilk. Tea cakes. Banana pudding. Funeral food. Cracklin' cornbread. Cathead biscuits and sawmill gravy. Fried okra. Fried corn. Country fried steak and gravy. Cooking on a wood stove. Japanese fruitcake. Chocolate gravy. Dried peach pies. Homemade ice cream. Snow ice cream. Sorghum syrup. Syrup finger biscuits. Country ham. Battered bacon. Rich's Bake Shop coconut cake. Moon Pies. Peanuts in your Co-cola. Peanut butter logs. King Leo peppermint sticks. Peanut butter fudge. Sweet potato cobbler. Homemade vegetable soup. Pig ear sandwiches. Pimento cheese. Vinegar beans. Pepper sauce. Bar be cue sandwiches. Lord have mercy!

    November 9, 2010 at 11:35 pm |
    • judi

      if I were an man Id propose on the spot

      November 10, 2010 at 2:43 pm |
  12. Mike

    Oh, come on. Where's the soup beans, fried cornbread, and fried potatoes?

    November 9, 2010 at 6:14 pm |
  13. Shannon

    My guess is this is from the "angry chef" Ron Eyester from Rosebud's.

    I agree with the previous poster that 2.5 quarts of sugar must be a misprint for the bread and butter pickles.

    November 9, 2010 at 4:11 pm |
    • Pickle Lover

      This recipe is probably correct. Most bread and butter pickles have a 1:1 ratio of sugar to vinegar, as they are a sweet pickle. But I've seen some recipes with as little as 75% sugar to vinegar and some as high as 2:1 sugar to vinegar. Keep in mind we are talking about 2 GALLONS which is 32 cups of cucumbers. That is a peck (literally) of pickled cucumbers. So 10 cups of sugar to 32 cups of cucumbers is not much. If you are unsure, scale the recipe down...quarter it and test the sweetness and then adjust before you make 2 gallons of pickles.

      November 10, 2010 at 11:57 am |
  14. mattski

    mmmmm. Candied bacon. Only problem is it goes too fast. So I hang near the dish.

    November 9, 2010 at 8:31 am |
  15. Katie

    OMG, you're totally going to dine with CHef Kevin at Woodfire Grill. You are lucky people. Lucku lucky LUCKY people.

    November 8, 2010 at 8:35 pm |
  16. LP

    Cut hot dogs into fourths. Wrap 1/3 of a strip of bacon around each piece of dog and secure with a toothpick. Put on a baking sheet and bake at 325 till the bacon is almost done. Sprinkle liberally with brown sugar and return to the oven to caramelize. Yum!

    November 8, 2010 at 7:46 pm |
  17. MadCityBabe

    bacon and chocolate.............................vomit

    November 8, 2010 at 1:02 pm |
    • Jdizzle McHammerpants


      November 8, 2010 at 1:06 pm |
    • mattski

      tryyyyyyy it you'll iiiiiike it.

      November 9, 2010 at 8:32 am |
      • Sam I am

        I do not like green eggs and ham!

        November 10, 2010 at 12:06 pm |
  18. bacon man

    wrap bacon around reeses cups place in the oven preferably in cup cake baking dish two reeses in every cup for 1 peice of bacon

    November 8, 2010 at 12:45 pm |
    • gremlin


      November 8, 2010 at 1:09 pm |
  19. hj

    I wonder if you could use the same recipe for the pickles but just make some refridgerator pickles instead. I don't have the right equipment to can anything.

    November 8, 2010 at 12:29 pm |
  20. Picklicious

    I love bread and butter pickles! Absolutely necessary for making tuna salad. I've only done simple brine pickles (kept whole) in the past, but that recipe is worth a try. Is there any reason not to keep the pickles whole? The commercial ones are always sliced, but smaller cucumbers kept whole maintain a nicer texture than sliced. Do they absorb enough of the sweet brine whole?

    November 8, 2010 at 12:14 pm |
    • dali

      whole works just as well.

      November 8, 2010 at 12:59 pm |
  21. gawd

    gross. can't we as a people find compassionate pleasures and not having to kill animals for candied bacon. gawd!

    November 8, 2010 at 12:00 pm |
    • Picklicious

      The idea of candied bacon gags me, and not just because I'm vegetarian. I don't know why anyone would want to make something - intended for human consumption - that looks exactly like a popular dog treat.

      November 8, 2010 at 12:15 pm |
      • LAB

        I'm pretty sure someone didn't sit down and say "hmm, what can we make that looks like a 'popular dog treat'." It was the other way around, we made a dog treat to mimic the appearance of bacon.

        November 9, 2010 at 10:11 am |
    • Rbnlegnd101

      We can always watch MMA on the TV, but it's nice to have a snack at the same time.

      November 8, 2010 at 12:54 pm |
    • Sweetenedtea

      I'll quit eating meat when all other animals quit eating meat. That's compassion tempered with logic and fairness, no?

      November 10, 2010 at 10:08 am |
  22. Bryan in Ohio

    I've experimented different dishes with bacon for quite some time. The biggest hit, although skeptic at first, was my chocolate covered bacon strips with almond pieces. I couldn't keep enough on the table!! People loved it! That sweet & salty combination is a HUGE hit!

    November 8, 2010 at 11:54 am |
  23. BaconLuvr

    Bacon is Meat Candy.

    November 8, 2010 at 11:54 am |
  24. Ga Mtn Girl

    Another CSA "gem" just north of Atlanta – 61 Main in downtown Jasper. The farm-to-table restaurant serves sustainable fare from a handful of local farmers, many of them organic, and even serves locally roasted coffee. Monday night supper is three courses for only $12, and the restaurant also offers breakfast, lunch and dinner (weekends only for dinner). Well worth the drive–especially this time of year when autumnal leaves are at their peak.

    November 8, 2010 at 11:43 am |
  25. CM

    You could not find a better example of "how chefs' increasingly close collaboration with farmers figures into the preservation and evolution of Southern cooking" than the work of Tim Roberts at 2 Dog Cafe in Gainesville, about 45 minutes north of Atlanta, in collaboration with It Began With a Seed Farm in Lula, about 20 minutes from the restaurant. It Began With a Seed delivers absolutely farm-fresh produce every week and Tim creates magic. I think he is self-trained, and I know he is extremely creative – the "sides" menu is never the same twice. Must haves: tomato grits soup, portobello mushroom app, homemade chicken salad and a unique homemade pimiento cheese (on house made bread). Mmmm.

    Full disclosure: I am one of 40 or so shareholders in It Began with a Seed, a CSA farm, and a regular 2 Dog diner.

    November 8, 2010 at 11:18 am |
  26. leann

    is it 2.5 quarts sugar for the pickles?

    November 8, 2010 at 11:05 am |
    • Pickel Lover

      Yep...or 10 cups. Gawd I love me some bread and butter pickles. Thank goodness I can find them in the sugar free variety in my grocery store (no, they aren't as good but kill the craving) so I can enjoy them on a regular basis. mmmmm.

      November 10, 2010 at 11:28 am |
  27. bob

    yumy food

    November 8, 2010 at 10:47 am |
    • bob

      i know right

      November 8, 2010 at 10:47 am |
  28. Lorin

    Those pickles don't last months, they last years, but only if a jar of them slips behind the center post of your jelly cupboard so that no one knows it's in there until the decennial cleaning of said cupboard–then you find the perfectly edible pickles from seven summers past, and the crystallized mint-apple jelly from the same year–which is recoverable by adding a bit of water and heating up slowly–then used as a glaze on whatever meat goes on the table at Easter time–for us it was always lamb. Thanks for the memories!

    November 8, 2010 at 10:41 am |
  29. Chris

    What's it say? I can't read!

    It's bacon!!!!!!!!!!

    November 8, 2010 at 10:16 am |
    • Swerds

      I want to open the package but I don't have thumbs! It's BACON!

      November 8, 2010 at 1:56 pm |
  30. Ann-Marie

    That bread and butter pickle recipe is no secret. Everyone's grandma passed that one down to mom, and thence to us.
    BTW, it was tradition in our house to not open the first jar of pickles until Thanksgiving.

    November 8, 2010 at 10:06 am |
    • larrywi

      Bread and Butter pickles have been a favorite of mine since early childhood, when my Mother would do the canning. We always had a huge garden, and always canned as much as we could, a practice that my wife and I carried on as well. Gardening and canning, there is nothing better than enjoying home grown foods throughout teh year!

      November 8, 2010 at 10:53 am |
  31. Piggy

    mmmm bacon

    November 8, 2010 at 9:41 am |
  32. Phil, Ohio

    Old Jim Nabors show mentioned sprinkling sugar on bacon while it cooked to make it crisp.
    Thats about as far as I go using sugar on bacon cause once I fry-up the package, I end up eating all of it.

    November 8, 2010 at 9:20 am |
  33. Kare Bear

    I have been preparing 'candied bacon' for some twenty-five years! I usually use white sugar, but I have also used Maine maple syrup, it's scrumptious!

    November 8, 2010 at 9:13 am |
    • pilgrim1


      November 8, 2010 at 9:37 am |
    • Colleen

      me too Kare Bear! What's old is new again :)

      November 8, 2010 at 11:29 am |
    • flapjack

      When I have bacon, I always pure maple syrup over it. And, you are is delicious.

      November 8, 2010 at 11:39 am |
    • Tawny

      While you're at it place an order for heart disease and obesity linked with sucking up gov't taxpayer thumbs to take care of you when you can't roll out of bed without assistance...I'm a southerner but, the food is just really bad FOR you...

      November 10, 2010 at 3:47 pm |
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