Smoked Bacon Bourbon Apple Crisp


This recipe includes Smoked Bacon Bourbon Apple Crisp  – in lots of easy to follow steps with pictures and ingredients. If you are looking for good food – try this Bourbon Apple Crisp Recipe! The Thanksgiving holiday is over, but definitely not the desire to eat delicious food!

Try this savory Bacon Apple Crisp Recipe, which takes advantage of the bounty of fall flavors. Stay warm with a wine pairing! While there are some negative aspects to consuming too much bacon, the health benefits of bacon outweigh the bad and can be incredible!

Smoked Bacon Bourbon Apple Crisp

Bacon-Apple Crisp


  • Yield: Serves 6 to 8
  • Method: Smoke-roasting/indirect grilling
  • Equipment: Weber One-Touch Kettle grill; apple wood chips; 10-inch cast iron skillet


For the filling:

  • 2 strips smoky bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slivers
  • 3 pounds crisp sweet apples, such as Honey Crisps or Galas
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar (or to taste—light or dark, it doesn’t matter)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch or all-purpose white flour
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons rye whiskey

For the topping:

  • 1/2 cup crushed ginger cookies or granola
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose white flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (icy cold—almost frozen)
  • Vanilla ice cream for serving


Step 1: Set up your grill for smoke-roasting/indirect grilling and preheat to 400 degrees.

Step 2: Make the filling: Fry the bacon in the skillet over medium heat until crisp and golden brown, 4 minutes, stirring with a slotted spoon. Transfer the bacon to a large mixing bowl. Pour the bacon fat into a jar and reserve for a later use. Don’t wipe out or wash the skillet.

Step 3: Peel and core the apples and cut into 1-inch pieces. Place in the mixing bowl with the bacon. Stir in the sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in the whiskey. Taste the mixture for sweetness, adding sugar as needed. Spoon the filling into the skillet.

Step 4: Make the topping: Place the crushed cookies, flour, white and brown sugar, salt, and butter in a food processor. Grind to a coarse powder, running the processor in short bursts. (The butter should remain in pea-size pieces.) Don’t over-process: the mixture should remain loose and crumbly. Sprinkle the mixture over the apples.

Step 5: Place the crisp in the grill or smoker away from direct heat. Toss soaked apple wood chips on the coals. Close the lid. Smoke-roast the crisp until the topping is browned and bubbling, the apples are soft (they should be easy to pierce with a skewer), and the filling is thick, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Step 6: Serve the crisp warm directly from the skillet. Top with vanilla ice cream.

Bourbon Apple Crisp Recipe

This Skillet Bacon Apple Crisp is the ultimate apple crisp. Bacon and a salted bourbon caramel beautifully compliment the tart apples in the crisp. By cooking this apple crisp in a skillet, it comes out perfectly cooked with the serving dish built right in!

Homemade Apple Crisp

This recipe rose to fame when I cooked it during the finale episode of Food Network’s show BBQ Brawl. I was a finalist and competing for the title of Master of ‘Cue. When the judges asked for a dessert to serve with our whole hog, I knew exactly what to make! While I didn’t win the episode, this homemade apple crisp with bacon stole the show. Michael Symon finished his entire bowl, and World Champion pitmaster Chris Lilly asked for seconds. It actually WON the dessert challenge, so I feel like you need to get it on your next BBQ menu, ASAP!

Apple crisp is a early fall staple in our house. The weather is absolutely perfect for grilling in the evenings, and this sweet apple dessert just makes everything feel and smell like autumn.

Tender, crisp apples, cinnamon, and nutmeg bubble away under a buttery crust laced with bacon and brown sugar. The whole thing is topped with a salted bourbon caramel that will knock your socks off. Serve with a side of vanilla ice cream, and this homemade apple crisp just can’t be beat. You can always bake this in your oven, if needed, but cooking on your grill with apple wood infuses the dessert with a layer of smoky flavor that really makes this apple crisp sing. If you’ve never baked dessert on your grill, this is apple crisp recipe is a great place to start!

Skillet Apple Crisp

I make this apple crisp in a 12 inch cast iron skillet . Cast iron is pretty important on a grill because it helps distribute the temperature evenly. Even still, make sure to turn your crisp halfway through cooking since you’ll have higher heat on one side. In addition to allowing the apple crisp to cook evenly, baking in a cast iron skillet allows you to serve straight from the pan.

If you are cooking on a propane or charcoal grill, you can really benefit from purchasing a small grill top smoker box and wood chips. These are fairly inexpensive and allow you to add real wood smoke flavor to your foods without worrying about tending a wood fire. If you don’t want to get a smoker box, you can get a similar effect with a foil pouch filled with wood chips and punctured all around to allow the smoke to escape.

Quick tip: I usually prep everything in the afternoon and then put the crisp on the hot grill while we are sitting down to dinner. The smell of it cooking is enough to get my kids to eat every single veggie on their plate so they can have a bowl full of dessert. This dessert is a family favorite, and we hope you love it as much as we do!

Arial view of Skillet Bacon Apple Crisp served on a white plate.

How to Make Apple Crisp

Making an apple crisp in a skillet is delicious and fairly easy. Simply follow these step-by-step directions, and you’re well on your way to eating the best apple crisp of your life!

  1. HEAT YOUR SKILLET AND GRILL – Preheat a 12″ cast iron skillet on High heat. Preheat your grill to 375 degrees F. I used apple chips for this apple crisp.
  2. COOK THE BACON – Place the bacon pieces in the skillet and cook them until they are crisp. Remove the bacon and drain the majority of the bacon fat, leaving approximately 1 Tablespoon of bacon fat still in the skillet.
  3. MIX THE APPLE FILLING – In a large bowl, combine the apples, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon zest, and salt. Stir gently. Pour the apple filling into the skillet with the bacon fat.
  4. MAKE THE APPLE CRISP TOPPING – In another bowl mix the ingredients for the topping (bacon pieces, oats, flour and sugars). Stir in cold butter pieces with a fork. Press on the butter and mix until the butter breaks down into small pieces. The crisp topping should look like coarse sand. Sprinkle the apple crisp topping over the apple filling.
  5. COOK THE APPLE CRISP – Place your skillet on the indirect side of the grill, close the lid, and cook for 40-45 minutes. Turn the skillet halfway through cooking. Cook until the apples are tender and the crisp is golden brown.
  6. PREP THE SALTED BOURBON CARAMEL – In a medium saucepan over medium heat, simmer water and sugar for 15 minutes until it turns a warm amber color. Turn off the heat and add heavy cream, stirring frequently. Add in the bourbon and salt, and stir to combine. Set aside to cool.
  7. ASSEMBLE AND ENJOY – When the crisp has finished cooking, top it with the salted caramel, and serve with a side of vanilla ice cream.

Bacon Apple Crisp Recipe

Smoked Bacon-Bourbon Apple Crisp Recipe

What you need to know

  • Yield: Serves 8
  • Method: Smoke-roasting
  • Prep time: 30 minutes
  • Smoking time: 45 minutes to 1 hour
  • Fuel: Apple wood, of course—enough for 1 hour of smoking (see chart on page 6)
  • Gear: A 10-inch cast-iron skillet

What else: You can cook this crisp low and slow in a traditional smoker, but you’ll get a crisper topping if you work at higher heat. This is a good dish to smoke-roast on a charcoal grill.

For years, I’ve been smoke-roasting blueberry and raspberry crumbles. I even smoked a crumble made with cactus pears on my Primal Grill TV show taped in the Sonoran Desert in Arizona. Here’s the smoked version of an American classic—apple pie—and it was inspired by a restaurant in my summer stomping grounds, the Outermost Inn on Martha’s Vineyard. “I think apple pie should step on the dark side,” says its one-time chef and the recipe’s creator, Michael Winkelman. “Give me bacon. Give me whiskey. Give me smoke. Give me a dessert that means business.” I give you Winkelman’s smoked apple crisp.

Smoked Bacon-Bourbon Apple Crisp – ingredients

For the filling:

  • 2 strips artisanal bacon, like Nueske’s or the Made-from-Scratch Bacon on page 113, cut crosswise into ¼-inch slivers
  • 3 pounds crisp, sweet apples like Honeycrisps or Galas
  • 1/3 cup packed light or dark brown sugar, or to taste
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons bourbon

For the topping:

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces and placed in the freezer until icy cold
  • 1/2 cup crushed gingersnap cookies or granola
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light or dark brown sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • Smoked Ice Cream (page 240; use vanilla) or regular vanilla ice cream, for serving (optional)

Smoked Bacon-Bourbon Apple Crisp – method

  1. Set up your grill for indirect grilling and preheat to 400°F.
  2. Make the filling: Fry the bacon in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat, stirring with a slotted spoon, until crisp and golden brown, 4 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a large bowl. Pour off and reserve the bacon fat for another use. Don’t wipe out or wash the skillet.
  3. Peel and core the apples and cut them into 1-inch pieces. Add them to the bacon. Stir in the sugar, flour, lemon zest, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in the bourbon. Taste the mixture for sweetness, adding sugar as needed. Spoon the filling into the skillet.
  4. Make the topping: Place the butter, cookie crumbs, flour, white and brown sugars, and salt in a food processor. Grind to a coarse mixture, running the processor in short bursts. Don’t overprocess; the mixture should remain loose and crumbly like sand. Sprinkle the topping over the apples.
  5. Place the crisp on the grill or smoker rack away from the heat. Add the wood to the coals and cover the grill. Smoke-roast the crisp until the topping is browned and bubbling, the apples are soft (they should be easy to pierce with a skewer), and the filling is thick, 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  6. Serve the crisp hot off the grill or smoker. Extra points for topping it with Smoked Ice Cream.

How To Make Smoked Bourbon Apple Crisp

Nothing says “fall” like apples. From Granny Smith and Gala to Red Delicious and Fuji, apples are in abundance this time of year and the recipe possibilities are endless. But, we never fail to go back to the old trusty recipes we grew up on.

One of our favorites is apple crisp like grandma used to make. Served warm with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream, this old-fashioned recipe is tough to beat!

The funny thing about apple crisp is that there aren’t many variations to the recipe. If you scour the internet you’ll find that most bloggers and recipe sites share very similar apple crisp recipes. Most commonly the dish is made up of layers of sliced apples that have been tossed with a butter, flour, and sugar mixture then topped with an oatmeal streusel before baking. It creates its own caramel-y sauce and crunchy topping as it bakes and is often served topped with ice cream or whipping cream.

We thought that apple crisp couldn’t get any better. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” as the saying goes. But, we were wrong. We took some advice from a grilling guru and smoked our most recent apple crisp and added a splash of bourbon. Our lives will never be the same. Smoked Bourbon Apple Crisp has forever changed the way that we will eat dessert. The smoked flavor pairs perfectly with apples and left us wondering why we hadn’t thought of smoking crisp before.




  • 3 pounds apples, peeled and cut into 1-inch thick wedges (we prefer Granny Smith or Fuji apples)
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons bourbon
  • 1Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup salted butter, cold and cut into small cubes
  • 3/4 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans


  • Preheat smoker to 325°F.
  • In a large bowl, toss together apples, brown sugar, bourbon, lemon juice vanilla and cinnamon.
    Pour the filling into a large cast-iron skillet.
  • Stir together brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  • Stir in oats and pecans. Spread topping mixture on top of the apples.
  • Place apple crisp in the smoker and smoke for 1 hour, or until apples are tender and topping is golden brown and crisp.
  • Remove from smoker and serve.

Health Benefits Of Bacon

1. Bacon is packed with useful nutrients

As a rule, meat is full of the valuable nutrients that the body needs and doesn’t naturally produce. That’s why predators can survive on an all-meat diet and not have to consume the occasional handful of Brazil nuts to up their selenium intake.

Bacon contains the following essential minerals and vitamins that are part of a healthy diet:


Out of a 100-gram portion of your standard supermarket cooked bacon, 37 grams is animal protein. Protein is a crucial building block in almost every cell in your body. 

While it might be most commonly associated with muscle gain, your hair and nails are made almost entirely of protein, and your body uses it to manufacture everything from enzymes to new red blood cells.


Bacon contains a whole range of B-vitamins, such as B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, and B12. 

B-vitamins are vital to a lot of the most complex operations in your body, and B-vitamin deficiency can result in reduced function in the heart, liver, kidney, and brain.

Many B-vitamins, such as Niacin (B3) Pyridoxine (B6), Biotin (B7), are all involved in the breaking down of fats and carbohydrates during the digestion process. 

Others, such as Thiamin (B1) and Folate (B9), are essential parts of complex processes such as  DNA replication, cell division, and the creation of neurotransmitters. 


Selenium is an essential mineral and antioxidant that can help to reduce your risk of cancer and heart disease, boost your immune system, and keep your brain and thyroid gland healthy.

Because of its anti-inflammatory properties and its ability to reduce oxidative stress on the lungs, studies have suggested that selenium might reduce the need for repeated doses of the potentially harmful corticosteroid medications that are used to treat Asthma. 


Phosphorus might seem like an odd thing for the body to need, but it actually makes up 1% of your total body weight and is used in the formation of bones and teeth.


Pork, and by extension, bacon, contains small amounts of iron, magnesium, zinc, and potassium. These metals are used in a range of vital processes, from the creation of red blood cells and the transmission of oxygen to the regulation of muscle and nerve function.

2. Bacon is a source of Omega 3s

Omega 3 is a fatty acid that is most commonly associated with oily fish, such as mackerel, flaxseed, and nuts.

A healthy intake of Omega 3 can help to reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke, reduce the symptoms of Rheumatoid arthritis, and even help with depression.

Bacon is a source of Omega 3 oils. However, modern pig feeding practices have significantly upped the content of unhealthy Omega 6 in pork compared to Omega 3. 

“Bacon is high in saturated fat and cholesterol, which are not as harmful as previously believed. Also, the typical serving size of bacon is small.”

So, if you are looking for a healthy source of Omega 3, best to stick to fish oil and enjoy the Omega 3 content of bacon as an ancillary benefit to your favorite pancake topper.

3. Eating bacon can actually boost your mood 

This sounds like a stretch until you remember how good it feels to eat bacon!

There is actually some science behind this. Studies have indicated that common mental disorders, such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder, might be exacerbated or even caused by a deficiency in amino acids.

A lack of neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, noradrenaline, and γ-aminobutyric acid is a common symptom of clinical depression.

Your body uses amino acids to create these, so amino acid-rich foods, like bacon, can help to treat the symptoms of depression as part of the broader program of treatment.

Of course, bacon isn’t a cure-all for mental disorders, and its beneficial properties only really work as part of a balanced diet.

4. Bacon can help with food cravings

Bacon can help you overcome your food cravings because it is high in fat.

No, really, stay with us.

The amount of fat on bacon is the thing most people worry is negatively affecting their health. In reality, around half of the fats in bacon are monounsaturated and contain a high percentage of “heart-healthy” oleic acid.

The presence of this high level of fat, coupled with lots of protein, in a traditionally small-serving food, can help you to feel full after eating it, cutting down on the urge to overeat.

As part of a high-fat, low-carb diet, bacon’s ability to make you feel full and satisfied while eating a relatively small meal, packed with fats and protein, can actually make it the healthy choice. 

5. Bacon is a source of choline – which is good for the brain

Phosphatidylcholine or choline is an essential nutrient, which means you absorb it as part of your diet, as opposed to creating it naturally. Choline is traditionally found in meat and eggs. 

A new study by the University of Eastern Finland has suggested that choline’s use in the production of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine might give it an essential role in reducing the cognitive decline associated with aging and in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

The study of around 2,500 Finnish men indicated that “the risk of dementia was 28% lower in men with the highest intake of dietary phosphatidylcholine when compared to men with the lowest intake.”

In addition to preventing Alzheimer’s, dementia, and aged-based cognitive decline, a healthy intake of choline, through foods like bacon, could also contribute to better memory, faster cognition speeds, and keep your brain healthier for longer.

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