Brown Sugar-Bacon Cracker Jack

This little gem of a snack is brought to you by the letters C-I-N-C-I-N-N-A-T-I and the color RED. Inspired by the bacon-rich history and hometown team of our beloved Queen City, here begins a Porkopolis-kissed twist on a favorite summertime tradition. Make a double batch of sweet-and-salty Cracker Jack – eat the first half right on through nine innings of play just as it is, and crumble the rest over ice cream for a lineup of gourmet sundaes.

Yield: 6 cups , Prep time: 10 minutes , Cook time: 30 minutes + 1 hour



  1. Slice your bacon into lardons and cook in a sauté pan until golden brown and crispy. Strain the bacon from the fat and drain on a paper towel; reserve 1/3 cup of the bacon fat.
  2. In a small saucepot combine the brown sugar, sorghum, bacon fat, water, and salt. Whisk together over medium-high heat and cook until it reaches a temperature of 250 degrees (approximately 3-5 minutes).
  3. Remove the hot caramel from the burner and whisk in the vanilla and baking soda. Let cool for a minute and then pour over the popcorn.
  4. Using a spatula, coat the popcorn with the caramel. Add the crispy bacon and salted peanuts and stir together.
  5. Transfer the popcorn to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Place in a 250-degree oven and bake for 1 hour, tossing once every 20 minutes so everything cooks evenly.
  6. After an hour, remove from the oven and let cool. Transfer to an air-tight container and store on the countertop.

Tips + Tricks

  • If you can't find sorghum, you can substitute light or dark corn syrup.
  • Add more savory to this mix by sprinkling in some fresh cracked pepper or chopped fresh rosemary.