Skillet Bacon 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 and, of course, vanilla ice cream. You can always bake this in your oven, if needed, but cooking on your grill with apple wood infuses a layer of smoky flavor that really makes this crisp sing. If you’ve never baked on your grill, this is a really great one to start with and I will teach you!
Let’s start with your type of grill. If you are cooking on a propane or charcoal grill, you can really benefit from purchasing a small grill top smoker box (Amazon affiliate link) 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. Below is a little picture of how I set my charcoal grill up for baking and smoking this crisp. Hot coals stacked on one half with the smoker box on top and the other half no coals. The skillet goes on the side with no coals and bakes using indirect heat. You can do the same thing with propane! Turn on half of the burners and place the smoker box or pouch on top of them. You are looking for about 375 degrees F on the dome thermometer of your grill.
I make this Skillet Apple Crisp in a 12 inch cast iron pan (Amazon affiliate link). Cast iron is pretty important on a grill because it really 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. We like this skillet bacon apple crisp straight from the pan, so 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. Hope you love it as much as we do!!
I am SO HONORED to again be participating in Food Network’s Let’s Pull Up a Chair round-up! Check out all of these amazing bloggers participating in Fall Fest and sharing their apple creations!
The Lemon Bowl: Tuna Salad with Apples
Creative Culinary: Boozy Snickerdoodle Cake with Apples
The Fed Up Foodie: Green Apple Butterscotch Macadamia Nut Cookies
A Mind “Full” Mom: Salted Caramel Apple Butter
Dishin & Dishes: Chicken with Cider Sauce and Apples
Foodtastic Mom: Ketucky Apple Skillet Cake
Healthy Eats: 6 Lighter Ways to Cook and Bake with Apples
In Jennie’s Kitchen: 9 Amazing Apple Recipes
Mom Loves Baking: Chocolate Turtle Apple Slices
Taste with the Eyes: Red Lentil Penne, Apple, Walnut, Mint, and Gorgonzola Sauce
Swing Eats: Apple Roses (gluten-free)
FN Dish: Kick Off Fall with Food Network’s Favorite 5-Star Apple Desserts
- 4 lbs crisp apples peeled, cored, and cut into 1 inch pieces
- 2 Tablespoons flour
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- pinch of salt
- 4 strips bacon cut into small pieces
- 1/2 cup instant oats
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 8 Tablespoons cold salted butter cut into very small pieces
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 cup cream
- 1 Tablespoon bourbon
- pinch of salt
Preheat a 12 inch cast iron skillet to high and cook the bacon pieces until crisp. Remove the cooked bacon and drain most of the bacon fat from the pan, reserving about 1 Tablespoon in the pan.
Preheat your grill to 375 degrees and fill your smoker box with apple chips. While your grill heats, start assembling ingredients for the crisp.
In a large bowl, combine the apples, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon zest, and salt. Stir gently to combine and pour into the skillet with the bacon fat.
In another bowl, mix the bacon pieces, oats, flour and sugars. Stir in the cold butter pieces with a fork, pressing on the butter and mixing until the butter is in small pieces and the topping mixture resembles coarse sand. Sprinkle the mixture over the apples.
Place the skillet on the side of your grill without direct heat, close the lid and cook for 40-45 minutes (turning the skillet halfway through cooking) or until the apples are tender and the crisp topping is golden brown.
While your crisp bakes, prepare your salted bourbon caramel sauce. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, simmer the water and sugar together, no need to stir- just swirl the pan, until it turns a warm amber color, about 15 minutes). Turn off the heat and stir in the heavy cream. The caramel with bubble up, so stir quickly. Pour in the bourbon and salt and stir to combine. Set aside to cool slightly until the crisp is done.
When the crisp is finished, serve with vanilla ice cream and the warm salted caramel.