An iconic side dish from the Lowcountry of South Carolina, Charleston red rice has a distinct grain and gets its signature flavor and color from bacon and tomato paste. Slightly sweet with a little kick, this side dish goes with nearly any Southern entree!
Rinse the rice by putting the rice in a medium bowl and covering with an inch of cool water. Gently swirl the rice in the water with a clean hand. Drain in a fine mesh sieve and return rice to the bowl. Repeat until water is mostly clear, a total of about 4-6 times (In my experience, regular long-grain rice required about 4 rinses while Carolina gold rice required 6). On the final rinse, leave the rice in the fine mesh sieve over the bowl so it can continue draining any excess water while you're cooking the bacon, veggies, and sausage.
In a large cast iron skillet, cook bacon over medium heat. Remove bacon and drain on paper towel, leaving the bacon grease in the skillet.
Add finely diced onion, bell pepper, and smoked sausage to the pan with the bacon grease. Sauté about 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
Add tomato paste, sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, kosher salt, and pepper to the skillet and stir until everything is evenly coated in the tomato paste and spices.
Add uncooked rice to the mixture and stir until well coated. Continue cooking the dry rice over medium heat for about 3-4 minutes.
Add the water and Frank's Red Hot to the rice mixture, stir to combine, and bring to a boil. Turn off heat and crumble bacon into the pan.
Cover skillet with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before removing the foil.
Fluff rice with a fork and enjoy as a side dish with your favorite Southern entree!
Long grain white rice will yield a drier, more distinct grain than Carolina Gold rice.