An impressive Thanksgiving side dish need not be time intensive, nor terribly difficult. These Bacon Brussels Sprouts with maple syrup and a dash of bourbon are super easy, but a total showstopper both in flavor and presentation. They can be partially prepared in advance, and then finished in less than 15 minutes. A Thanksgiving dinner (or really any dinner) side dish winner!
Bacon and brussels sprouts and maple syrup and bourbon, oh my! These are most definitely a few of my favorite things. And if you’re reading this post, they’re probably some of yours too, which means we can totally be friends. A friend who shares her bacon is a friend for life. BFFs = Bacon. Friends. Forevah.
These Maple Bacon Brussels Sprouts with Bourbon and Pecans will be the star of your Thanksgiving side dishes. This recipe is both sweet and savory; crunchy and tender; and oh so very pretty to look at. The best part? It’s crazy easy to make.
You can blanch the sprouts in advance, which means you’ll reserve precious burner space for other side dishes (like buttery mashed potatoes, or savory rosemary turkey gravy) as you lead up to dinner. When you’re ready for go-time, they take only 15 minutes to finish. And even if you make them start to finish, they’re ready in just about 30 minutes.
Fast and easy and bacon? I think we’re done here my friends.
VIDEO: WATCH HOW TO MAKE MAPLE BACON BRUSSELS SPROUTS
How to Make Maple Bacon Brussels Sprouts
When selecting brussels sprouts at your local farmer’s market or grocery store, aim for sprouts of mostly uniform size so that they cook evenly. The only thing worse than a mushy sprout is an undercooked sprout, and uniformity from the start will make for perfectly cooked bacon brussels sprouts.
The road to bacony maple bourbon bliss starts with a hot and steamy blanch session (ooh la la!). You’ll trim the brussels sprouts, halve them, and then dunk them into some boiling water for about 4 or 5 minutes (maybe 6 if they’re on the bigger side).You’ll know they’re ready once you can piece the flesh with the tip of sharp knife, but still meet a little resistance.
If you’re preparing the brussels sprouts in advance, go ahead and drain them really well, then spread them out onto a paper towel or kitchen towel to get nice and dry. Wrap them up tight in either tupperware or a ziplock bag and tuck them into the fridge. They’ll keep for about 24 hours. Once you’re ready to finish the dish, the blanched brussels sprouts can go straight from the fridge to the pan.
I bust out my big 12″ cast iron skillet for this recipe. You want ample room for the sprouts to move around in the pan. If you’re scaling this recipe up, you might want to do this in two batches to ensure maximum crispiness.
You’ll render the bacon, then add the brussels sprouts and pecans to the bacon fat. Toss those guys around for a few minutes to get their crisp on. Deglaze with the bourbon, then stir in the maple syrup and heat until it’s just slightly thickened, and voila! Sweet, salty, decadent bacon sprouts with maple bourbon glaze. Your belly will be SO HAPPY.
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- 1 ½ lb brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
- 1 tbsp sea or kosher salt
- 4 strips bacon, diced
- ½ c pecans, coarsely chopped
- 1 tsp ground mustard
- 2 oz bourbon
- ¼ c pure maple syrup
- kosher salt
- cracked black pepper
- Fill a large pot with enough water to fully submerge the brussels sprouts, and place over high heat. Bring to a boil and add a tablespoon of salt.
- While the water is coming to a boil, prepare the brussels sprouts. Trim the ends, then peel away the tough outer layer of leaves. Slice the brussels sprouts in half lengthwise. Add the brussels sprouts to the boiling water and blanch 4-5 minutes, until tender but still bright green and vibrant. Strain, then run under cold running water to stop the cooking process. Shake to release as much moisture as possible, then set aside to air dry.
- Heat a 12” cast iron skillet over high heat. Add the bacon and cook until the fat renders and the bacon is crisp, 7-8 minutes. Add the blanched brussels sprouts and pecans to the pan, then sprinkle with the ground mustard. Sear over high heat, stirring frequently, until the sprouts are crisp, about 5 minutes.
- Add the bourbon to the pan and deglaze, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan; continue cooking until the bourbon has evaporated, about 1 minute. Add the maple syrup and cook 1 minute more, until slightly thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.
After you've blanched the brussels sprouts, drain them well, then spread onto a paper towel or kitchen towel to thoroughly dry. Place them into a tupperware container or ziplock bag and place into the fridge, where they'll keep for about 24 hours. When you're ready to serve, start with Step 3. The blanched brussels sprouts can go straight from the fridge to the pan.