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Southern Bacon Cornbread

As you may know, cornbread is a staple in the South. I have very vivid memories of eating my Papa Blackburn's cornbread as a kid; he would make a cornbread laced with fresh corn kernels, chopped peppers, and cheese. It was not until I was older that I realized it was a Mexican Corn Bread recipe and not just something my Papa made......ahhhh......to be young and naive again.
This recipe is a spin on this memory. Instead of peppers, I opt for crispy bacon. However, I will say that you must still have a hot cast iron skillet for baking. You cannot get the texture without this essential tool! The addition of the bacon really does make this an all-in-one meal, even though we still just enjoyed it as the bread with Sunday dinner. My husband already has plans for Fall tailgating, camping trips, and future meals. I think that I will turn this into individual cornbreads or corn muffins. Oh, the possibilities!
6 Ounces Bacon
2 Ears Corn
2 1/2 Cups Self-Rising Corn Meal Mix
1/2 Cup Sugar
2 Eggs, Beaten
1 1/2 Cups Whole Milk
3/4 Cup Shredded Cheese Blend

1. Heat a large (10-inch) cast iron skillet over medium heat. Cook the strips of bacon until crisp. Remove to paper towels to drain.
2. While the bacon is cooking, Use a very sharp knife to carefully remove the kernels from the corn cobs. Place the kernels in a large mixing bowl.
3. Add the corn meal mix and sugar to the corn. Stir to combine.
4. Whisk together the eggs and milk. Slowly stream into the corn meal mixture.
5. Add the shredded cheese. Stir until combined.
Note: I like to use a blend of cheddar and pepper jack, however, you can choose your favorite cheeses. 
6. Once the bacon is crisp and drained, chop into bite size pieces. Stir into the cornbread mixture.
7. Carefully stream 3 Tablespoons of the hot bacon grease into the cornbread batter. Stir.
8. Pour the batter into the hot skillet. Place in a 350 degree oven and bake for 45 minutes or until cooked throughout and browned on top.
Note: Oven times may vary. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean and golden on top.

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