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.
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.
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).
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.
Using a spatula, coat the popcorn with the caramel. Add the crispy bacon and salted peanuts and stir together.
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.
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.