Recipe Review: Bacon Bourbon Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprouts on CounterOur family is growing – a new baby and new or newish significant others for my nieces, including an impending wedding – and that means readjusting holiday schedules.  I’m sure you’ve been through it in your family and hope that you make it as easy as possible on those being pulled in multiple directions. Trying to make everyone happy can be exhausting and is difficult at best.

This year, our family Thanksgiving celebration was rescheduled for Black Friday, and then again for Sunday, 11/30. Rather than stress about it, I looked at it as a way to have an extremely low-key Thanksgiving day (which we sure did) and as extra time to decide what to make for our celebration!

My assignment was to bring a vegetable. And that is where the quandary began. First, the age-old question….”Does corn count as a vegetable?” Second, “Not even if it’s a holiday?”  Then the question of tradition presented itself….”Can we really have Thanksgiving dinner without Corn Pie?” And…”If not corn pie, then can we live another year without Diane Phillips’ Gulliver’s Corn?”  I’m not sure why there are dishes we only make on the holidays, but I know my family is not alone in this.  Finally…”If not a traditional dish, then what?”

The answer presented itself in the form of a cooking show.  I turned on a recent episode of Giada DiLaurentiis’ ‘giada at home‘ and the first thing she mentioned was Bacon Bourbon Brussels Sprouts.  Not only did the recipe sound fantastic, I knew Jeff had harvested a boat-load of Brussels sprouts just a few days earlier.  With the decision made, we purchased the bourbon (ok, technically we used Whiskey because Jack Daniel’s isn’t made in Kentucky, but you get the idea) and the slab bacon and waited for the 30th to arrive!

After church on Sunday morning, we set about following Giada’s recipe.  Jeff worked making the glaze while I worked on preparing the bacon and the Brussels sprouts to skewer.

Making the glaze:

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I cut the slab bacon into 3/4″ cubes and slid them into a 375 degree F oven for about 8 minutes so the fat would begin to render.  I blanched the Brussels sprouts for about 4 minutes, submerged them in an ice bath to stop the cooking, dried them with a kitchen towel, and tossed them with olive oil and kosher salt.

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I cut all the Brussels sprouts in half so that the glaze could seep in between the many layers of the veggies.  I’m pretty sure Giada did this on the show; although the recipe says to cut the Brussels sprouts in half ‘if needed.’

While I assembled the skewers, Jeff preheated the Big Green Egg (BGE).  Because we don’t have a stove top grill pan, we decided to use the BGE – and we weren’t even a bit sorry….not only did the Brussels sprouts end up with great smokey flavor; Jeff and I spent the rest of the day smelling of a camp fire, which is a scent I’m never sorry to inhale!

Skewered But Not Grilled

On the BGE

Hot Off the BGE

I’d give this recipe 4 1/2 M’s out of 5.  The flavor was wonderful, the ingredients were easy to obtain (particularly because I had a fridge full of Brussels sprouts), the instructions were straightforward (but I’m glad I had seen the episode of ‘giada at home’ because I knew to cut the Brussels sprouts in half), and there weren’t too many steps.  But I wonder if skewering is necessary.  Yes, the skewers looked nice; but they did take quite a bit of time to assemble.  This dish would certainly have been just as delicious if grilled in a grill basket and served in a plain, white bowl. And there’d be no flying Brussels sprouts at the table while trying to gracefully remove the veggies from the skewers!

4 and one half ms for bacon bourbon brussels sprouts

Overall, this recipe is a winner.  Judging by the reaction of everyone around the Thanksgiving table, I believe the Bacon Bourbon Brussels Sprouts will be a new traditional Thanksgiving dish!

What are the dishes your family only makes on Thanksgiving?