At Keystone Festivals, we have been running the Bacon and Bourbon Festival for ten years now, and we’d like to think we are pretty much bacon experts and are here to introduce you to some bacon pairings you wouldn’t believe.
We have seen our amazing vendors make hundreds of delicious recipes and keep coming back year after year with incredible menu items and unique ideas. Our bacon purveyors Berkwood Farms, Wuennecke’s City Meat Market, and Godshall’s always bring the most incredible bacon.
So, this year, we wanted to bring you our ultimate guide to bacon, starting with an explanation of all the different kinds of bacon and ending with some fun bacon pairings and recipes you may have never thought of!
Bacon Comes in Many Different Shapes and Sizes
To us, every kind of bacon (yes, even turkey bacon) is fantastic. We classify bacon in three different categories, peppery, maple, or smoked bacon.
- Peppery bacon has always got a little kick to it and can pair well with foods it balances with like chocolate, creamy soup or cheesy potatoes, and even fruit.
- Maple bacon is the breakfast lovers’ dream. We like maple bacon with traditional breakfast foods like pancakes, but it can also be great on desserts or citrusy foods to break up the sweet.
- Last but not least is smoked bacon. Hickory or Applewood smoked bacon is the creme de la creme of tastiness. The smoky flavor adds something irreplaceable! Other meats and seafood pair well with this type of bacon, but honestly, it can stand alone too!
Alright, here are our top 10 bacon pairings you may have never thought of:
- Peanut Butter & Bacon
- Cocktails and Bacon
- Caramel Bacon Popcorn
- Bacon-Wrapped Peaches
- Rose & A BLT
- Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette
- Apple Sliced Bacon Turnovers
- Pork Belly & IPA
- Bacon and Crab
- Last but not least, Bacon and Bourbon (duh!)
Pairing #1: Peanut Butter & Bacon
Elvis was right when he fell in love with bacon and peanut butter. Something about the salty bacon with the slight sweetness and creaminess of peanut butter is delicious. Check out this sweet and spicy peanut butter-bacon sandwich recipe and make sure to keep an eye out for bacon and peanut butter pairings at Keystone’s Bacon and Bourbon festival!
Bacon Pairing #2: Cocktails and Bacon
To shake things up, we are sharing this tasty “Bacon Me Angry” cocktail with hard cider, bacon-infused vodka to get you jazzed about all the forms of bacon we will have this summer!
Pairing #3: Caramel Bacon Popcorn
Bacon fat is a required element of this recipe! That can only mean it will be tastier than expected. The saltiness of the popcorn with the sweetness of the caramel and that luxurious bacon makes this caramel bacon popcorn a must eat!
Pairing #4: Bacon-Wrapped Peaches
Colorado peach lovers, this one is for you! Our Colorado Palisade peaches pair perfectly wrapped in bacon. The addition of scallions makes this recipe a savory masterpiece!
Colorado peach season starts in June, so Bacon and Bourbon on June 27-28th is the PERFECT time to make this recipe at home.
Pairing #5: Rose & a BLT
Making a perfect BLT is a thing of absolute beauty, but then pair it with a refreshing rose, and you have heaven on a plate. We recommend a dry rose, with a little bit of sharpness, crisp raspberry, and blackberry flavors to cut through the creamy mayo and bacon grease. Give it a try, it’s incredible– we promise!
Bacon Pairing #6: Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Vinaigrette
Some may say that using bacon in a salad dressing is insanity, but it adds a richness that will make anyone want to eat salad. This simple spinach salad with a warm bacon vinaigrette is our healthy suggestion for you for after your Colorado mountain adventures. We love a tasty salad post hiking or mountain biking!
Pairing #7: Apple Sliced Bacon Turnovers
Now, bacon and chocolate or maple syrup are popular ways to eat bacon for dessert! We even have bacon donuts and ice cream at our Bacon and Bourbon Festival in Keystone, CO, but a turnover with bacon in it is new to us! This recipe for Apple Sliced Bacon Turnovers from Godshall’s is making our mouths water!
Bacon Pairing #8: Pork Belly Bacon & IPA
Pork belly is basically the king of bacon like we discussed earlier. And, as Coloradoans (and all people) are on an IPA kick, what could be better than a tender piece of grilled pork belly with your favorite New Belgium IPA? That’s the pairing, perfect and straightforward: Beer and Bacon.
Pairing #9: Bacon and Crab Quesadillas
This recipe features turkey bacon, but honestly, we think any bacon would go well in this “paradise on a plate,” as Godshall’s calls it. Bacon Crab Avocado Quesadillas truly bring together everything delicious in the world– seafood, cheese, bacon, and avos! It doesn’t hurt that this recipe is easy as well!
Bacon Pairing #10: Last but not least, Bacon and Bourbon (duh)
Bourbon and bacon is a classic pairing because of their complementary flavors– smoky bacon and barrel-finished oak flavors of the bourbon are a natural fit. But, you can always be sure to choose a slice of bacon that doesn’t overpower your bourbon, and therefore, we recommend high proof bourbons with intense bacon (like applewood smoked flavors).
Our classy and smoky bourbon cocktail is a Smoked Bacon Rye Sour. This is a cocktail you have to work for with home-smoked lemons, bacon-infused rye and maple syrup.
And in case you’re curious, we will be featuring Bird Dog Whiskey, Breckenridge Distillery, Tincup Mountain Whiskey, Infinium Spirits- Templeton Rye Whiskey, Rebel Yell, Yellowstone, and Minor Case this year at our Colorado summer festival.
Thanks for reading our best bacon pairings! We can’t wait to celebrate all things bacon (and bourbon) at the 10th Annual Bacon and Bourbon Festival this summer in Colorado!