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2000s Recipes + Menus

Slab Bacon Adobo (Tocino Entreverado en Adobo)

Serves12 (as part of a large meal)
  • Active time:40 min
  • Start to finish:8 hr (includes marinating)
June 2009
Even ardent bacon lovers will be amazed at the gorgeous interplay of flavors here: salty, smoky, sweet, and sharp. Iṯs worth searching out the hard, unrefined brown loaf sugar called either piloncillo or panela—it has deep, caramel, almost winelike undertones that are echoed by the panca chiles.
  • 18 dried panca chiles (2 1/2 oz; see cooks’ note, below), wiped clean
  • 8 large garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon anise seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot smoked paprika (pimentón picante)
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 6 tablespoons guava preserves or paste, divided
  • 1/4 cup Oloroso Sherry
  • 3/4 cup grated brown loaf sugar (piloncillo or panela) or 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar, divided
  • 1 (4-lb) piece meaty slab bacon
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Heat a comal or a dry 12-inch heavy skillet (preferably cast-iron; not nonstick) over medium heat until hot. Cook chiles in batches, turning with tongs, until blackened in spots, 3 to 4 seconds per batch.
  • Cover chiles with hot water in a bowl and soak until softened, 20 minutes. Drain.
  • Blend chiles with garlic, oil, cumin, oregano, anise seeds, paprika, orange and lime juices, 2 Tbsp guava preserves, Sherry, 1/2 cup loaf sugar (or 1/3 cup brown sugar), and 1 tsp salt in a blender until smooth. Force purée through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl, discarding solids.
  • Cut bacon, skin side down, through meat but not skin, into 11/2-inch squares (in a crosshatch pattern). Transfer to a small roasting pan and rub adobo sauce all over. Marinate, skin side down, chilled, at least 6 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle.
  • Add water to roasting pan with bacon and tightly cover. Braise in oven until bacon is fork-tender, about 2 hours. Leave oven on.
  • Transfer bacon to a plate. Discard fat from pan juices and whisk in remaining 1/4 cup each of guava preserves and loaf sugar (or remaining brown sugar). Return bacon to roasting pan and baste with pan juices, then heat in oven just until top of meat looks glazed, 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Prepare grill for indirect-heat cooking over medium-hot charcoal (medium-high heat for gas); see “Grilling Procedure.”.
  • Oil grill rack, then grill bacon, skin side down, on area of grill with no coals underneath (for gas, turn off 2 burners if necessary and turn remaining burner on high), covered, until hot, about 10 minutes.
  • Cut bacon through skin to separate.
Cooks’ notes:
  • Instead of all panca chiles, you can use a mixture of dried mirasol and panca chiles or substitute ancho and guajillo chiles.
  • Bacon can be braised and glazed 1 day ahead and chilled (covered once cool). Reheat on grill or in a 350°F oven until hot.
  • For a Web-exclusive recipe using the leftover guava preserves.