I’ve been a part of the Republic of Bacon family long enough now that I am finally starting to consider myself a bacon expert. I feel comfortably asserting my bacon knowledge in most conversations, and and consider myself very well informed when it comes to cutting-edge bacon news. My bacon cooking skills have improved mightily, and I am up-to-date on all the current bacon trends, from the still-burgeoning world of bacon desserts to the ever more ridiculous sphere of bacon contests. Bur every once in a while I still come across something that I was not expecting at all, something entirely new.
Before today, I have never really considered the connection between bacon and cola. Sure, I had heard rumours of some chefs using cola to cook with pork products, but that was about it. But as soon as I started doing a bit of digging, I found that the bacon and cola rabbit hole was actually quite deep, and these two products were far more closely tied than I could have anticipated.
Cooking with Bacon and Cola
It turns out that cooking with cola, especially when it comes to pork products, is not just an odd novelty but something that is totally delicious. When cooked down, the flavour of cola becomes sweeter and intensified, pairing naturally with pork the way that brown sugar or maple syrup would. This recipe for cherry cola braised bacon, for example, pairs a thick slab of bacon with the cola. The drink softens and tenderizes the meat and imparts a wonderful flavour, and we like how this recipe makes use of cherry jam and dried cherry to further intensity the flavour.
The most traditional pairing of pork and cola, however, is using it to cook a ham. For instance, this recipe calls for you to boil the ham in cola for two and a half hours, until the meat is super tender and sweetened. It’s finished with a glaze made from the cola cooking liquid, as well as some mustard and sugar and cloves. I was skeptical at first, but now I can’t wait to try this for the next holiday dinner I cook!
Because the cola helps to break down and tenderize the meat as it cooks or marinates, recipes that call for cola often employ long, slow cooking processes. This results in the most tender, buttery dish that you can imagine, all with a hint of tantalizing sweetness. One of the best we have come across is this slow cooker or crock pot recipe that calls for bacon, cola, and roast beef. Not only is the beef cooked in cola, but delicious bacon drippings and crumbled bacon add even more flavour. Who wants to come over for Sunday dinner?