Smoky Chicken and Wheat Berries with Bacon


  • 1 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup coarse kosher salt
  • 6 chicken breast halves (preferably organic) with skin and bones, wing tips attached
  • 4 cups pecan shells (from 1 1/2 pounds cracked pecans in shells)
  • 1 tablespoon icewine mixed with 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • Microgreens, watercress sprigs, or pea tendrils (for garnish; optional)

Recipe Preparation

  • Stir 8 cups water, brown sugar, and salt in large bowl. Let stand until sugar and salt dissolve, stirring occasionally. Submerge chicken in brine. Let soak in brine at room temperature 45 minutes. Drain, discarding brine. Transfer chicken to rack set over baking sheet; let chicken air-dry 30 minutes.

  • Remove grill racks from barbecue. Prepare barbecue (medium heat). Place pecan shells in disposable pan; place pan directly atop coals (for charcoal barbecue) or place directly over flames (for gas barbecue). Return grill racks to barbecue. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. When pecan shells begin to smoke, place chicken, skin side down, on grill rack. Cover and grill until chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes per side.

  • Divide Wheat Berries with Bacon among 6 plates. Place 1 chicken breast atop wheat berries on each plate. Drizzle with icewine-cider vinegar mixture. Garnish with greens and serve.

Reviews Section

Sweet Smoky Peppered Baked Bacon

Our road to this tasty baked bacon is a bit of a rocky one. I’m good at many things but I’ve never been any good at making bacon. I have no problems admitting to this either, I’ll own up to it and happily offer the bacon making to anyone else!

However, I’m not sure if it’s that I end up cooking it over too high a heat in the skillet or if it’s just cooking for too long. Whatever it is, nine times out of ten if I make it on the stove while cooking other foods, the bacon ends up burnt to a crisp. Years ago I found a solution by cooking it in the microwave using a microwave safe plate and quality paper towels. I was so happy. Perfect bacon, every time.

My eldest son is really starting to get into cooking. One morning he went into the kitchen to make breakfast and decided he wanted to make bacon, but he refused to go the microwaved bacon route.

Instead, he wanted to bake it. He also wanted to add a few things to give it a different taste. We talked about it and together we came up with the sweet smoky peppered bacon that you see here. Since then, this is the only bacon he makes and this is his favorite method.

No bacon splatters, no accidental burnt bacon. Perfectly baked bacon, that’s sweet, smoky and perfectly peppered. It literally melts in your mouth thanks to the brown sugar, smoked paprika, and freshly ground black pepper we chose to use. This stuff is delicious on it’s own when served with breakfast, but it’s also amazing in sandwiches! Try it for yourself, you might not go back to boring pan-fried or microwaved bacon.

Savory bacon and tender chicken complement the flavors of kale and tomatoes in this easy veggie-rich stew. It’s the perfect belly-warming nourishment for cool fall nights.

1. Heat a heavy-bottom stock pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until nicely browned, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, move the bacon to the sides of the pan, add the chicken and cook for about 3 minutes on each side.

2. While the bacon and chicken are browning, prepare the vegetables (mince the garlic, dice the onion and potato, and prepare the kale and tomatoes, if using fresh).

3. Remove the chicken from the pot, and add the onion and garlic to the bacon. Sauté for about 3 minutes, or until the onion is translucent. While the onion and garlic are sautéing, dice the chicken and set aside.

5. Add the potato to the pot and sauté another 2 minutes.

6. Add the chicken broth and chicken back to the pot, cover, increase heat to medium high, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook for about 10 minutes.

7. Add the kale, salt, and tomatoes, mix well, and cook covered for another 10 minutes.

8. Remove from heat, stir in the cream and season with fresh ground pepper to taste.

Source: Lani Jacobs-Banner

Tips for What to Do With Excess Ingredients: Bacon can be cooked and added to salads, sandwiches, or eaten on it's own as a snack or part of another meal. Cream can be whipped and served with fresh berries, or added to coffee or tea.

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Day 3

  • Breakfast: Prosciutto-Wrapped Avocado Egg
    Prosciutto takes eggs to a decadent level in this rich breakfast that’s loaded with healthy fats and antioxidants.
  • Lunch: Chorizo Chipotle Casserole
    Technically, this smoky chorizo casserole is a breakfast recipe … but it doesn’t have to be! Besides, who doesn’t love eggs and chorizo for dinner?
  • Dinner: Italian Sausage Stew
    Italian sausage simmers with melty butternut squash and a host of veggies, drenched in fragrant chicken broth.

Mock Meat Recipes

Some vegetarians avoid mock meat and cheese recipes, while others swear by them. If you’re in the latter category, or if you’re just interested in trying some vegetarian and vegan versions of typical dishes, take a look at these mock meat and dairy recipes.

Mock Meat Recipes

"Beef" Bourguignon
Although time-consuming, this is an easy and very delicious recipe for mock beef bourguignon made with either seitan or tempeh.

“Beef” Stew
A rich, thick stew made with seitan and lots of good veggies. It’s especially tasty served with hot French bread on a cold night.

“Beef” Stroganoff
I just love this pasta dish: a creamy sauce with mushrooms and chunks of mock meat.

Tender seitan rolled around tofu ricotta, herbs, and onions, then baked in tomato sauce. A bit complicated, but worth it!

Cheese Steak
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is famous for its cheese steak sandwiches. Now you too can get a taste of this wonderful, hearty sandwich.

Corned "Beef"
Frozen tofu absorbs marinade like a sponge and makes a firm and flavorful mock meat.

Lamb Curry
This mock lamb curry is made with seitan and is spicy and delicious.

Mock meatballs are usually made with tofu or tempeh, but this unique recipe uses eggplant and walnuts to great effect.

Meat Loaf
A healthy, delicious veggie "meat"loaf made with lentils.

Make a big batch of vegetarian mincemeat so that you can make a few pies and have some left over to serve with ice cream, custard, pudding, or crêpes. You can also can or freeze it for later.

Mushroom Meatloaf
Incredibly flavorful meatloaf-style dish made with mushrooms, rice, and lentils.

Sweet and tangy marinated tofu makes a fine fake pastrami. Serve it with quinoa or rice, or thinly slice for sandwiches.

If you miss the taste of chopped liver, give this vegetarian pâté a try. You might even be able to fool your non-veggie friends.

Red "Meat" Burgers
Red beans combined with wheat gluten make a hearty and almost disturbingly meat-like burger.

Salisbury Seitan
This vegan alternative to salisbury steak is much tastier than what I remember about that school lunch room classic.

A delicious, protein-packed, vegetarian breakfast side dish.

Taco Meat
Walnuts ground up with spices make a delicious, raw filling for tacos.

Veggie Burgers
These vegetarian/vegan burgers, made with lentils, are healthy, low-fat, and delicious.

Wheat Meat and Potatoes
The ultimate in hearty, down-home cooking: (wheat) meat and potatoes.

Mock Chicken Recipes

Almond Chicken
Crispy strips of seitan smothered in almonds and brown sauce make a great vegan alternative to the classic Chinese-American recipe, soo guy.

Breaded Chick-en Patties
This combination of chickpeas and gluten makes a terrific vegan breaded chicken.

Cashew Chicken
I was never a huge fan of Chinese food, but one dish I did like was cashew chicken. With some tinkering, I came up with a quick and easy seitan version.

Chicken Chow Mein
Mock chicken chow mein (made with seitan) doesn’t take long to prepare, but it does require quite a bit of cooking.

Chicken Milanese
Crisp, flavorful tofu served with salad is an excellent vegetarian replacement for chicken milanese.

Chick-en Nuggets and Dippers
Make a delicious vegan snack with chickpeas and gluten.

Chicken Salad
This simple tempeh salad really does resemble chicken salad. It’s great in sandwiches or atop a green salad.

Chicken Seitan
A moist, tender seitan that makes a perfect chicken substitute in just about any recipe.

Chicken Teriyaki
A mix of seasoned, roasted vegetables and seitan. Serve it with a grain or noodles for a delicious vegan meal.

Chinese Chicken Salad
A tangy dressing tossed with seitan and vegetables makes a delicious vegan alternative to Chinese chicken salad.

Southern-Fried Chicken
Crisp and delicious, you’ll want to make this again and again.

Mock Fish and Seafood Recipes

Crab Cakes
Delectable “crab” cakes made with tempeh and served with sherry sauce.

New England Clam Chowder
This is a rich and delicious vegetarian alternative to New England clam chowder.

Oven-Fried Catfish
Spicy and crisp tofu, perfect for dipping into hot sauce or barbecue sauce.

Tuna Salad
A vegetarian “tuna” salad made with chickpeas, almonds, and seeds. Tuna fish was the very last meat that I gave up, and while this doesn’t taste exactly like tuna salad, it’s close enough that I don’t miss the real thing any more.

Mock Pork Recipes

Bacon (Eggplant)
Thin slices of smoky eggplant make a delicious alternative to bacon.

Bacon (Tofu)
Crispy, chewy, greasy, salty … yes, this is vegan bacon made from tofu – and it’s amazing!

Barbecued Seitan "Ribs"
How meaty can ribs made from vegan-friendly seitan really be? Try this recipe – you might be surprised!

Chicharrones are bits of deep-fried pork belly much beloved in Latin America. This adaptation offers veg*ns the same greasy, chewy goodness.

Seitan Ham
Sweet vegan ham made from seitan.

Sweet Italian Sausage
Sweet and flavorful Italian sausage made from tempeh.

Chapter 5: A Roast in Every Pot

Herbed Chicken with Warm Spring Vegetable Salad
Spice-Rubbed Chicken with Black Bean Salad
Make It 5 Ways: Chicken In a Pot
Lemon-Herb Chicken in a Pot
Barbecue-Rubbed Chicken in a Pot
Thai-Spiced Chicken in a Pot
Pesto Chicken in a Pot
Turkey Breast with Cherry-Orange Sauce
Turkey Breast with Gravy
Roast Beef with Hearty Mushroom Gravy
Roast Beef with Warm Garden Potato Salad
Braised Brisket with Onions
Barbecued Beef Brisket
Classic Pot Roast with Carrots and Potatoes
Italian Pot Roast
Corned Beef and Cabbage Dinner
Pork Pot Roast
Cider-Braised Pork Roast
Cuban Pork Roast with Mojo Sauce
Southwestern Pork Roast
Pork Loin with Dried FIg Compote
Maple-Glazed Pork Loin
Pork Loin with Warm Spiced Chickpea Salad
Pork Loin with Fennel, Oranges, and Olives
Glazed Ham

Simple Sides
Classic Mashed Potatoes
Cilantro Rice

Talking about bringing the best of both worlds together. Maple bacon and ice cream, together at last.

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Adam and Joanne's Tips

  • When measuring your flour, before you scoop the flour into your measuring cup, fluff or stir the flour in the container (or bag) first, this aerates the flour and makes the measurement more accurate. Alternatively, you can stir the flour in the container, and then scoop it into your measuring cup. Then when the cup is full, use a straight edge to scrape away the excess flour. Doing this prevents adding too much flour to the batter, which causes the batter to be too thick.
  • Substitute for baking soda: To use baking powder instead of baking soda, leave out the vinegar or lemon juice called for in the recipe and use one tablespoon of baking powder.
  • Non-dairy milk: These blueberry pancakes can be made with or without dairy milk. So feel free to use your favorite non-dairy milk like almond, soy, cashew, oat, or hemp milk.
  • Gluten-free blueberry pancakes: Use your favorite store-bought gluten-free flour blend. We are partial to Bob’s Red Mill.
  • Vegan / egg-free pancakes: Replace the eggs with flax eggs. To make a flax egg, mix one tablespoon flaxseed meal (ground raw flaxseed) with 2 1/2 tablespoons water. Set it aside for about 5 minutes to thicken then use to replace the egg in the recipe.
  • Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA Supertracker recipe calculator to calculate approximate values.

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