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Bring on the Bacon

I love brunch. You get to eat whatever you want and you are not limited to "breakfast food" or "dinner dishes". And bacon. You can put bacon in almost any brunch dish, sweet or savory. Last weekend, we had a great brunch, featuring three different kinds of bacon. Amazing!

According to Jesse Rhodes in the Smithsonian Magazine, the word brunch first appeared in print in an 1895 Hunter's Weekly article. In "Brunch: A Plea," British author Guy Beringer suggested an alternative to the heavy, post-church Sunday meals in favor of lighter fare served late in the morning. ''Brunch is cheerful, sociable and inciting,'' Beringer says. ''It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.''

Brunch is the best meal for gathering people together. There is something about sitting together in the late morning over a mimosa and great food that lightens the mood. One my all time favorite brunches was at the beginning of my time at the Sergeant Major Academy. As international sponsors, we arrived to school early and we were paired up with an international student. I hosted brunch for international students from Ukraine, Serbia, Montenegro, Bulgaria, Poland, Croatia, Bosnia, and Macedonia. We had a wonderful time getting to know each other over brunch and developed a great friendship.

Brunch also gives me a chance to try new recipes! Anything goes! Like a Bacon, Bourbon, and Date Strata cooked on the Rec Tec! Yes, please!

Bacon, Bourbon, and Date Strata

One loaf of Brioche Bread, cut in cubes

One Pound Maple Bacon, chopped and fried

10 dates, chopped

Pecans (optional)

1/4 cup honey

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 cup milk

1/4 cup Bourbon (We used Woodford and it was amazing!)

5 eggs (Fresh duck eggs are best!)

1 cup Gruyere Cheese, grated

Toss the bread cubes, bacon, and dates in the honey. Mix cream, milk, bourbon, and eggs well and pour over the bread mixture. Sprinkle with cheese. Place in baking dish - if you smoking this on the Rec Tec, (or a lesser smoker) I recommend a foil half pan. This is great made the night before and refrigerated. We smoked it for about two hours on 225F. You could also cook in the oven at 350F for 20 minutes covered and an additional 25-30 minutes uncovered until well set. Enjoy!

So, pour me a Mimosa and bring on the brunch!

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