Moist and tender chicken breasts wrapped in beef bacon, which is flavoured with brown sugar, paprika, garlic, and onion. Perfectly baked until the bacon has browned and caramelized, this main is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. There’s just one problem – there never seems to be enough!
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts have a bad reputation. I blame it on two things. Firstly, it’s almost always overcooked to the point of being dry and inedible. And, secondly, we have been bombarded with messages of chicken breasts being high in protein and super healthy. That’s all good and fine, but we still want flavour, despite trying to eat better. Beef Bacon Wrapped Chicken is the answer – well, at least to the dry and inedible issue!
I’m not about to preach that beef bacon is healthy, but it is much leaner than regular pork bacon. In terms of healthy eating, I put all of those notions aside in exchange for flavour. After all, I can’t claim health benefits when both the chicken and the bacon is coated with a brown sugar-based rub! Life is all about compromise, so it is what it is!
Right off the get-go, I should make mention that this recipe can also be prepared with regular, smoked, pork-based bacon. I would, however, suggest that you use regularly sliced bacon and not a thick cut bacon. Since pork bacon has more fat, it will take longer to caramelize. Using thick cut bacon will off-set the cooking time.
WHAT IS BEEF BACON?
Well, according to Martha Stewart, beef bacon is “the food trend we’ve all been waiting for.” And, I, for one, agree with her wholeheartedly! It is exactly what it sounds like. It’s bacon made from beef instead of pork. Just like your run-of-the-mill bacon, beef bacon is made by curing and drying smoked beef. Then, the beef is thinly sliced and is ready to be put to use. The taste is very different, even though, in most cases, the same techniques are applied to the preparation.
Whereas regular bacon tastes salty, smoky, and savoury, beef bacon tastes savoury, beefy, and smoky-sweet. When I first tried it, I immediately thought of beef jerky. The major difference is of course, the beefy taste. Despite it being leaner than pork bacon, I felt like it was heavier and filling. It certainly was a great contrast to the moist and tender chicken breasts wrapped inside it.
I source beef bacon from Ottawa Valley Meats. They source the beef locally. It’s 100% grass-fed beef, grown in a natural, free-range environment. If you’re in Ontario, you can visit them online or in person if you live in the Ottawa area. They do deliver right to your door if you’re in the delivery area! Alternatively, you can purchase beef bacon from Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods.
INGREDIENTS FOR THIS RECIPE:
- Chicken Breasts – I used four average-sized chicken breasts. Be sure to get boneless and skinless!
- Beef Bacon – I used 3 slices to wrap each chicken breast.
- Brown Sugar – This is the base of the rub. It seems like a lot, but brown sugar breaks down and dissolves in heat, so some of it will run off as it bastes the chicken.
- Spices – You will need paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, and oregano.
- Salt and Ground Black Pepper
- Olive Oil
- Parsley – For garnish.
HOW TO MAKE BEEF BACON WRAPPED CHICKEN:
I happen to think that this dish looks quite beautiful and inviting! But, it’s also very easy to make too. The first thing you want to do is to preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Do not place the chicken into the oven until it is fully preheated. Next, we need to assemble the spice rub.
In a bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, dried thyme, dried oregano, salt, and ground black pepper. Be sure to mix it well so that the seasonings are well distributed throughout the brown sugar. Next, take half of the dry rub mixture and distribute it over the entire surface of each chicken breast. Don’t be shy; get in there and gently massage the rub into the breast meat.
Next, working with one chicken breast at a time, lay one end of the breast, on a slight angle, onto a flat piece of beef bacon. Roll the chicken breast, wrapping it up in the piece of bacon. Once the bacon runs out, add another piece, roll again, and then finally, add the third piece. The entire breast should be covered, with the exception of the ends. It’s slippery and can be a little frustrating, but it doesn’t have to be perfect.
Transfer the beef bacon-wrapped chicken to a baking pan which has been greased with a bit of olive oil. Once all four chicken breasts are in the pan, evenly distribute the remaining brown sugar mixture over top, patting it down slightly so that it sticks. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and spoon the oil in the bottom of the pan evenly over the chicken. Bake for another 10 minutes.
WE ALL EAT WITH OUR EYES FIRST!
You all know this true! I remember arguing this with a friend of mine who says that we do not eat with our eyes first, but our nose. She states that when you walk into the house and you smell something homecooked, you don’t see it first. Or, what about when you drive by a factory that bakes bread? You don’t see the bread, but you do smell it! She could be on to something, but let’s just go with the old expression and leave the bickering to her and me!
The reason I bring this up is because in some cases, depending on your oven, the brand of bacon, how well you baste, etc., the brownness of the beef bacon might differ from household to household. If you like your bacon to be more crisp – especially if you opted to use regular bacon – you can certainly place the cooked chicken under the broiler for a minute or two to brown it up.
The Beef Bacon Wrapped Chicken you see in the photographs in this post were not placed under the broiler. The brown sugar caramelized just enough to give the illusion of crispiness, but the beef is still moist and tender. Beef should never be crispy, anyway! Either way, how you prefer to eat your beef bacon is completely up to you!
OTTAWA VALLEY MEATS
The beef bacon and the chicken breasts you see in the photographs is from Ottawa Valley Meats. I used two packages of the beef bacon and two packages of the chicken breasts. You can find a complete list at Ottawa Valley Meats. If you are in Ontario, be sure to take a look at the website. Ottawa Valley Meats offers seafood, beef, poultry, pork, etc. And, they deliver right to your door!
I have had other suppliers deliver meat and seafood, but they were the best! It comes in a freezer-refrigerated truck, which means the box doesn’t need to be stuffed with ice packs or dry ice. And, the food doesn’t need to be packaged into those silver cooler bags. Do you know what that means for me? Less waste! Plus, the drive is very considerate. He will wait until you answer the door rather than knock and run like some other drivers!
I think that Beef Bacon Wrapped Chicken deserves to shine on the plate. That is exactly why I would pair this dish with something mild; something that would not fight with the delicious flavours of the chicken. In any instance, I think that a green salad is always a good option for a side. But, alas, here were are heading into cooler months, and a heartier side might be the way to go!
Wanted something homey and something delicious, yet muted enough to allow the chicken to shine? How about my Herb Butter Mashed Potatoes? These Homestyle Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes would be great too! A baked potato with some sour cream would be great! Or, you can put in a little bit of extra effort and make these Roasted Hasselback Potatoes!
Just remember to keep your sides simple. Beef Bacon Wrapped Chicken is just too good to not be the only thing everyone at your table is talking about! Enjoy!
Beef Bacon Wrapped Chicken
- 4 whole chicken breasts, skinless and boneless
- 12 slices beef bacon
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
- Brush the olive oil onto a rimmed 9 x 13 baking sheet. Set aside.
- In a bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, dried thyme, dried oregano, salt, and ground black pepper.
- Next, take half of the dry rub mixture and distribute it over the entire surface of each chicken breast. Gently massage the rub into the breast meat.
- Next, working with one chicken breast at a time, lay one end of the breast, on a slight angle, onto a flat piece of beef bacon. Roll the chicken breast, wrapping it up in the piece of bacon. Once the bacon runs out, add another piece, roll again, and then finally, add the third piece. The entire breast should be covered, with the exception of the ends.
- Transfer the wrapped chicken to the prepared baking sheet.
- Evenly distribute the remaining brown sugar mixture over top, patting it down slightly so that it sticks.
- Bake for 20 minutes.
- Remove from oven and spoon the oil in the bottom of the pan evenly over the chicken.
- Bake for another 10 minutes.