1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 lb. thick-cut, center-cut bacon
2 C. whole milk
1 C. quick cooking white corn grits
Salt and pepper to taste
5 oz. sharp white cheddar, grated
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 egg per serving (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium sized bowl, mix together brown sugar, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Dip both sides of the bacon in the sugar mixture, evenly plating the bacon, then place on a baking pan. Place the pan in the heated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the bacon is fully cooked and slightly caramelized. If pieces start to darken, remove them.
While the bacon roasts, bring the milk and 2 cups of water to a boil. Slowly pour in the grits, whisking to ensure a smooth consistency. Turn the heat down to medium-low, whisking occasionally. Simmer for 5 to 7 minutes, or until desired consistency is reached. Season with salt and pepper to taste and whisk in the cheddar and butter. The butter will add a glossy, smooth texture, only if added at the end. Divide the grits between each bowl and serve with a fried egg and the candied bacon. Extra bacon will last a few days in the refrigerator.