Sweet and Spicy Bacon Wrapped Shrimp
December 5, 2018 by Nicole Collins
Ok, so you know how parents aren't supposed to have a favorite child?
That's how I feel with my recipes, sometimes.
Like, they're all my brain children. So, how could I love one any more than the other?
But we are human; and today, on Day 5, I'm declaring that today's recipe might just be my favorite recipe from our whole 12 Days of Appies challenge.
See how that was pretty non-committal? I said might, which means you can't hold me to anything. That's how that works, right?
Anyway, we're going to have to put in a little more effort today than we have so far all week. But, I'm telling you! The end result will be 1000% percent worth it.
Today, we're making Sweet and Spicy Bacon Wrapped Shrimp!
I know, right!
I'm a total fool for shrimp. If I was in one of those situations where I could only pick 3 things to eat for the rest of forever, shrimp would 100% be on the list. For today's recipe, we're using jumbo shrimp. You can usually swap out shrimp sizes in a recipe, but I wouldn't recommend that on this one. We need a bigger shrimp, because we have to cook these bites at a higher heat for a longer time than we'd normally cook shrimp so that our bacon can crisp up. We don't want dry, rubbery shrimp. So, we need a bigger shrimp that takes a little longer to cook and can handle the extra oven time.
Next, we make our sweet and spicy mix that gets rubbed all over the bacon before it gets wrapped around the shrimp. It's a really simple mix of brown sugar, cayenne pepper, and fresh cracked black pepper. The peppers add just the right about of subtle heat so you can taste the extra dash of spice without your mouth catching on fire.
We cut our bacon in to fours so that we only wrap the shrimp once. That helps to make sure we don't get less than crispy bacon in any bite. We secure the bacon with a toothpick that's soaked in some water to prevent burning, then we lay these babies on a well greased baking rack sitting atop a foil line baking sheet.
Using a baking rack helps the hot oven air circulate all around the shrimp, so the undersides can crisp up too. However, take note. There will be some brown sugar mix that's going to drip off of our shrimp bites, and the drippings will burn in the oven. Don't skip the step of lining your pan with foil. You'll have a literal hot mess if you don't.
My favorite thing about these bites is all of the flavors and textures happening from a total of 5 basic ingredients. The shrimp get perfectly juicy. The bacon gets perfectly crisp. The spicy brown sugar balances out the salt from the bacon in the most delicate way. And honestly, you just can't go wrong with bacon or shrimp.
Here's a list of the other delicious things we've made so far:
Day 1: Holiday Charcuterie Boxes
Day 2: Honey Goat Cheese Tartlettes
Day 3: Chicken and Donut Bites
Day 4: Sweet Chili Meatballs
Tomorrow, we're going to get cheesy! And, there may or may not be a “grate” cheese pun or two!
'Til then, let's eat!
Sweet and Spicy Bacon Wrapped Shrimp
Serves: 18-20 shrimp Print
1 lb jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined (thawed, if frozen)
5 slices bacon, cut in to fours
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
salt, to taste
Soak toothpicks in water for at least 30 mins. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. Top with a baking rack sprayed generously with cooking spray.
In a small bowl, mix brown sugar, black pepper, and cayenne pepper to combine. Pat shrimp dry, and season with a tiny pinch of salt. Take the brown sugar mix, and rub on both sides of each piece of bacon.
Wrap 1 piece of bacon around the center of each shrimp, and secure with a toothpick. Lay on prepared baking rack. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Bake for 15-18 mins until bacon has crisped and shrimp are opaque. Serve immediately.
*We only want the bacon strips to wrap around the center of the shrimp once. That's why we're cutting each strip in to fours.
*As the brown sugar mix drips off of the bacon, it's going to burn on the bottom of the pan. Do not skip the step of lining your pan with foil, or you're going to have a literal hot mess.
*Cooking the shrimp on an backing rack instead of directly on the pan helps the hot air to circulate around the shrimp so the bacon can cook evenly. Don't forget to spray the rack well, or your shrimp will stick.
*You have to soak the toothpicks first so they don't burn in the oven. Don't skip that step either!