Roasted Garlic Cloves with Bacon
October 16, 2013
Roasted garlic is one of those simple tips for taking a common ingredient to a whole new level of flavor. Less pungent than fresh garlic, the soft smoky flavor of roasted garlic is a perfect addition to mashed potatoes, grilled root vegetables, steaks, soups and more. But of course VIP blogger John Dawson of PatioDaddioBBQ didn’t leave it there, adding his unique twist to create these barbecued garlic cloves.
I absolutely love roasted garlic. It always amazes me how roasting completely mellows and sweetens what is otherwise so harsh and pungent. Given that, and my proclivity to try to find a way to cook most anything over coals, it’s really not a surprise that I dreamed this up.
Garlic and bacon is one of those magical pairings like peanut butter and chocolate. Pork fat and garlic are also made for each other. So how can this not be a good thing, right? The pork fat renders into the garlic as it roasts and the subtle smokiness adds another dimension of flavor.
3 heads Garlic
2 slices Bacon, sliced thick
3 tsp of your favorite BBQ seasoning
Use medium-large heads of fresh garlic. How do you know if garlic is fresh? Check the picture and it will be obvious. You want good tight white skin, firm cloves, and no gray or black spots.
Slice about 1/2-inch of the bottom (root end) of the head off and discard. Be very careful as it will take some effort to cut. You also want to be sure to leave the cloves as intact as possible. If some pop out, just put them back as best you can.
For each head make a snake about a foot long out of rolled heavy-duty foil. I use wide 18″ foil, torn about a foot long. Form the snake around the uncut end of the head. This foil “nest” will hold the heads upright and act as insulation.
Sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon of the seasoning on the cut end of each head. Cut each slice of bacon into thirds and put two of the one third slices on each head. Sprinkle the bacon on each head with another 1/2 teaspoon of seasoning.
Start your fire and prepare for indirect cooking at medium-high heat. Put the nested heads on the indirect portion of your grill/smoker and cook for 1 1/2 hours at about 300º. Remove the garlic from the cooker, mince the bacon, squeeze out the cloves and mash the bacon and garlic into a paste. Refrigerate in a well-sealed container.
You now have some very unique and delicious garlic, but what can you do with it? Well, just use it in just about anything where you’d use standard roasted garlic.
Last night I mixed the whole three head batch, some hot sauce and some of my rub into a 16 ounce tub of sour cream. It made a great dip. Today I used some of the dip to make some killer guacamole. The same dip would be great in mashed potatoes. Be creative and enjoy the bacony garlicky goodness.