I've servedthese with, and without the "rub". The consensus is that even though you loose the strong bacon flavor when you put the rub on it, the hot and sweet flavors of the rub really kick this old time standard up. Butt Kickin' Blacken contains neither salt nor sugar, and is available at: http://www.capnrons.com/index.html?ID=RZ_BWC
- I purchase the REAL thick bacon at Sam's Club. This way I use less pieces, but get more texture because of it's thickness. If you're using another (thinner) bacon, you'll have to adjust the cutting of the bacon appropriately.
- Work with the bacon cold, right out of the refrigerator. It will be a lot easier to cut because it will be relatively hard. If you let it warm up, it'll be too soft to be able to cut evenly.
- Cut the bacon into quarters, then each piece (lengthwise) in half. Let it sit out for at least 10 minutes before you begin wrapping the chestnuts to let it soften. If it's too cold, you won't be able to stretch the bacon around the water chestnuts.
- Wrap 1 piece of bacon around one water chestnut, and secure with a tooth pick. Be careful not to put the toothpick in too far because it will split the water chestnut. Place them in a bowl.
- Mix the rub by combining the blacken and the dark brown sugar, and mixing well. Dump it on the water chestnuts, and carefully mix it around to evenly coat all.
- It's OK to place these in a plastic bag and refrigerate overnight, but be sure to use the thicker freezer type bags otherwise the toothpicks will tear the bag up.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Place a pieces of parchment paper in a sheet pan, and place the wrapped water chestnuts on so that they don't touch.
- Bake about 15 minutes. Or, until the bacon is crisp.
- Serve while hot.
These are great! I've made them before, but used BBQ sauce instead of the cajun seasoning. BBQ afficionados can try various brands of sauce for flavor nuance. Let me tell you, these go fast at parties. Don't have to worry how you're going to keep them warm!