Bacon-wrapped chicken is nothing new. It's not remotely original, but when you coat the bacon-wrapped chicken in a mixture of brown sugar and chipotle powder before you bake it, it suddenly becomes a lot more interesting. It also becomes a crowd-pleaser ... and who doesn't love making a crowd-pleasing dish?
I found a version of the recipe on Pinterest, but since I made it without referencing that recipe, I'm calling this one my own. Whether grilled or baked, it's incredibly tasty and everyone in the family loves it (which around here, is a huge bonus!). We even had a few young men (missionaries from my church) over for dinner and they loved it. One went so far as to say it was one of the best meals he'd had in his almost two years as a missionary!
Candied Bacon-Wrapped Chicken
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed and cut half (long-ways)
8 strips of bacon (or more)
3/4 cup brown sugar
Chipotle powder and/or sweet and smoky rub to taste
1. Heat oven to 400.
2. Pat the chicken dry after cutting it. Sprinkle with garlic powder (not garlic salt).
3. Wrap each piece of chicken in raw bacon. If the piece won't wrap around twice completely, make sure the exposed area of chicken is facing up.
4. In bowl, mix brown sugar and chipotle powder/rub together. Carefully roll each bacon-wrapped piece of chicken in the brown sugar mixture, pressing the brown sugar onto the chicken on all sides.
5. Bake for 40 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and the fat renders out of the bacon (bacon should be slightly crisp on top). Or, grill until chicken is cooked through.
Substitution Suggestions: If you would rather deal with chicken tenders and avoid trimming your chicken, you absolutely can. You'll just need to dial down the amount of time your chicken bakes.
I supposed you could use turkey bacon, but the fat from the pork bacon helps keep the chicken moist.
And, you could probably use chile powder instead of chipotle, but I much prefer the smokiness of the chipotle to the flavor of chile powder. I have a sweet and smoky rub by McCormick that works really well. I probably added about a tablespoon into my brown sugar.
Lessons Learned: You can definitely omit the chipotle, but I like the hint of heat that it gives to the chicken. If you want to really punch up the heat, sprinkle the chipotle directly onto the chicken before wrapping it in bacon.
We like to use the drippings from the pan for extra flavor on each bite. If you grill it, you obviously won't get the drippings, but you will get a delectable char on it, which makes up for the lack of drippings.