Bacon-Boosted Brussels Sprouts {GF, DF}

You know you’re finally, officially an adult when Brussels Sprouts are what you REALLY, REALLY want to eat.

I’m so adult, I’ve been known to order just a side of Brussels Sprouts for dinner.  This is not a dieting thing, I just love them that much.  (Cucina Enoteca in Del Mar, California makes heavenly sprouts.  Everything else there is good too!)

It’s true, I’ve kind of grown up.   But it’s also true that Brussels Sprouts have come a long, long way in the last few years, evolving from yesteryear’s tough little balls of undercooked cabbage-y yuckiness; to the roasty, savory morsels of yumminess our whole family currently craves regularly!

After much trial, error, and tasting, here’s my favorite (super-simple) way to cook Brussels Sprouts here at home:

Bacon-Boosted Brussels Sprouts

15-20 Brussels sprouts (depending on size), roughly sliced into slivers and shards

5 tsp.-sized dollops of rendered pork drippings (for the whys and how-to’s, see below)

1 tsp. garlic, finely minced

1 tbsp. Mediterranean capers (optional)

splash (1 tsp.) sherry vinegar (optional)

kosher salt for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 375.  Cover a rimmed baking tray with a Silpat liner (or you can skip this step).  Scatter slivered sprouts on baking tray. Place dollops of rendered pork fat on sprouts (fat will melt and spread and cover sprouts as they begin to cook). Toss on garlic. Place sprouts in oven to begin roasting.

After 15 mins., use kitchen tongs to stir the Brussels sprouts, pushing the browner outside bits to the inside so that all may cook evenly.  Add the capers and just a splash of sherry vinegar, if using. Roast another 10 minutes, stirring again.  At this point, depending on how well-done you like your Brussels sprouts, check them every few minutes, removing from the oven at the moment they have the right color for you. (We like ours verging into dark brown — crispy!)

Ideal done-ness: a mix of crispy brown and tender green.

Sprinkle cooling sprouts with kosher salt — they will benefit from a mildly generous sprinkling — and let them cool for a few minutes; this will also help them crisp up.  Serve immediately.

Rendered pork fat, you say?  Yes, I say — just like your (great-?) grandma probably used, before the sugar-cereal lobby told us bacon was bad for us and we should be eating sugar-cereal instead.  When cooking bacon (ideally no nitrates/nitrites added, organically and humanely raised — just like great-grandma would have eaten), I save the panful of rendered grease by carefully pouring it into a glass jar.  It keeps in the fridge for a long time, and is indispensable for cooking up crispy, bacon-boosted (but not bacon-overpowered) Brussels sprouts.  My little jars of rendered bacon grease have been passed all around the neighborhood, and we’re a pretty healthy bunch.  Bacon-boosted, in fact.  But if you must, or even if you like, by all means substitute olive oil for the bacon fat!

Here’s my crisp-tender, super-flavorful, nutrient-packed lunch:

Sprouts: they’re what’s for lunch!

For more on Brussels Sprouts, and how we grow them in our garden (hint — effortlessly), check out my article on

Thanks, and happy sprouting —


Going back for thirds!

2 thoughts on “Bacon-Boosted Brussels Sprouts {GF, DF}

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