Preheat oven to 400ºF. Lay bacon either directly on a baking sheet (lined with foil for easy clean up) or fit a metal rack over the foil-lined baking sheet and lay the raw bacon on the rack.
Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until bacon is to desired crispiness. Reserve 1 tablespoon of bacon grease for greasing iron skillet. Transfer cooked bacon to paper towel-lined plate and set aside.
In a large bowl whisk together cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Push dry ingredients to the sides of the bowl, so you have a well in the middle. Add maple syrup, eggs, milk, and butter. Stir to combine.
Chop 4 slices of Smithfield Bacon and add to cornbread mixture. Stir to combine. Let batter rest for 5 minutes.
Use reserved bacon grease to grease iron skillet. Alternatively grease an 8X8 baking dish. Pour cornbread batter into prepared pan.
Chop remaining 4 slices of bacon and sprinkle on top of batter. Bake for 23-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out without wet batter. Cut into wedges and serve with additional maple syrup for drizzling on top.
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Tips / Tricks / Variations For Making Bacon Cornbread
Use an 8X8 baking dish instead of an iron skillet. Grease with cooking spray or bacon grease.
To make Bacon Maple Cornbread Muffins: Line a muffin tin with liners. Fill each cup 2/3 fill. Top with chopped bacon and bake 400ºF for 15-20 minutes. Drizzle muffins with maple syrup for serving.
Give Bacon Cornbread a kick by adding fresh minced jalapeño.
To add more maple flavor add 1 teaspoon of maple extract.
Substitute equal amount of sugar or brown sugar for maple syrup
Add 1/2 cup cheddar cheese to the cornbread mixture when stirring in bacon. Top cornbread with additional 1/2 cheddar cheese before baking.