Remember bacon mania? A few years ago, it seemed that the cured meat was everywhere. Chefs were adding it to nearly every dish on their menus. People were even attending bacon tests and buying bacon-themed novelty products.
The bacon fad may have cooled slightly, but it seems to have permanently changed our eating habits. Recently, the United States started producing more pork than beef, Bloomberg reported. Much of that pig meat is shipped abroad, but we’re still eating a lot of the stuff ourselves. If you’re one of the many Americans who don’t think bacon is just for breakfast, take a look at these 10 bacon recipes which prove you can enjoy the savory flavors of bacon all day long.
1. Homemade Savory Bacon
Sure, you could head to the butcher shop to get some fresh-sliced bacon, but why not try making your own at home? Curing your own pork is easier than you may realize, though it does require some patience (the meat will need to chill in your refrigerator for at least a week). When buying the pork belly, ask your butcher to trim off the skin, or you can do it yourself using a thin fillet knife. Pink curing salt (which is different from pink-colored Himalayan salt) can be found at specialty retailers or online. This recipe from The Washington Post should make about 40 thin slices.
- 2½ pounds skinless pork belly
- 2 tablespoons kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves, or substitute 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, rinsed and dried
- ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground allspice
- ¼ teaspoon chipotle powder
- ½ teaspoon pink curing salt (optional)
Directions: Rinse the belly and dry it thoroughly. Trim it so that it forms a long rectangle. (Reserve/freeze the excess pieces to add to beans or greens.)
Combine the kosher salt, black pepper, thyme, cayenne pepper, allspice, chipotle powder, and pink salt, if using, in a gallon-size zip-top bag. Add the pork belly and seal, pressing out as much air as possible. Massage to distribute the curing mix evenly. Refrigerate for 7 days; turn the bag over once a day.
Rinse the cure from the meat, and pat the meat dry with paper towels. Let the meat air-dry in the refrigerator for 8 to 24 hours.
Prepare the grill for indirect heat. If using a gas grill, turn the heat to high. Drain the chips and put them in a smoker box or foil packet poked with a few fork holes to release the smoke; set it between the grate and the briquettes, close to the flame. When you see smoke, reduce the heat to medium-high (450 degrees Fahrenheit). Turn off the burners on one side.
If using a charcoal grill, light the charcoal or briquettes; when the briquettes are ready, distribute them on one side of the grill. For a medium-hot fire, you should be able to hold your hand 6 inches above the coals for 4 or 5 seconds. Scatter the wood chips over the coals. Have ready a spray water bottle for taming any flames.
Place the pork belly on the indirect-heat side of the grill. Close the lid and cook/smoke for 1 hour. Slide an instant-read thermometer into one side of the belly; when the bacon is done, its internal temperature should register 150 degrees Fahrenheit. If it is below that, smoke for about 30 more minutes, but don’t worry about the exact internal temperature of the meat; you are just giving it smoke for flavor.
Transfer the slab of bacon to a cutting board; once it has cooled completely, wrap it in aluminum foil and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 1 week. Before using, set the bacon in the freezer for about 10 minutes; chilled bacon is easier to slice.
Fry thin slices in a skillet over medium heat for about 4 minutes per side, until crisp. Drain on a paper-towel-lined plate.
2. Make-Ahead Bacon and Cheddar Breakfast Burritos
Bacon may be the perfect breakfast food, but on a busy morning you might not have time for a cooked-to-order meal. These make-ahead breakfast burritos allow you to enjoy the savory bacon-and-eggs combo with a minimal effort. Just make a big batch on a lazy Sunday, freeze them, and pop in the microwave when you’re ready to eat. This recipe from Organize Yourself Skinny makes 15 burritos.
- 18 large eggs
- 1 cup salsa
- ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon granulated garlic
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 10 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 15 flour tortillas
Directions: Crack eggs into a large bowl and whisk until blended. Stir in the salsa, Greek yogurt, onion powder, granulated garlic, salt, and pepper.
Place a large skillet over low to medium heat. Pour the egg mixture into the pan and cook until the eggs are set, stirring constantly. Add the cheese and cooked bacon to the pan, then stir to combine.
Remove pan from heat and let eggs cool slightly.
Scoop up 1/3 cup of egg mixture and place it on a tortilla. Fold in the sides, then roll up. Wrap the assembled burrito in plastic wrap or foil. Repeat with the remaining egg mixture and tortillas.
Refrigerate burritos for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to eat, heat the burritos in a 350-degree Fahrenheit oven for 20 minutes, or microwave on high for 2 to 3 minutes (if microwaving, remove foil wrapping and place a cup of water in the microwave to keep the tortilla from drying out).
3. Bacon Waffles
For an indulgent weekend breakfast, try these homemade bacon waffles from Trisha Yearwood, via the Food Network. The recipe involves an easy hack: cooking bacon in the waffle maker at the same time as the waffles, which simplifies both prep and cleanup. This recipe makes six waffles.
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- Kosher salt
- 2 large eggs, separated
- 1½ cups milk
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 6 slices bacon, cut in half
- Maple syrup, for serving
Directions: Spray a waffle iron with nonstick cooking spray and preheat it.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and ½ teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Beat the egg whites in a second medium bowl until stiff.
Beat the egg yolks with the milk and butter in a large bowl. Add the flour mixture, stirring until just blended. Fold in the beaten egg whites.
Place 2 halves of a bacon slice in each waffle grid and close the cover. Cook for 1 minute and then add a scant ½ cup batter to each waffle grid. Bake until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Serve with maple syrup.
4. Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp
Serve these bacon-wrapped shrimp at your next party and you’ll have guests clamoring for the recipe. These tasty bacon appetizers are coated in a spicy sriracha and maple glaze and take only 10 minutes to prepare (plus cooking time). Recipe from Inspired Taste.
- 10 pieces thinly sliced bacon
- 20 extra-large shrimp (about 1 pound)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon sriracha
- Juice of half a lemon
- Sliced green onion for garnish
- 20 wooden skewers
Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
Soak the wooden skewers in a bowl of warm water. Set aside.
Place the sliced bacon in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes and remove from oven and transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain. (Bacon will be floppy and only partially cooked.) Pour off any fat that’s accumulated on the baking sheet. Leave the oven on.
As the bacon cooks, peel and devein the shrimp. Leave the tails on. Sprinkle with salt.
In a small bowl, combine the maple syrup and sriracha.
Use a brush to coat both sides of the bacon with the maple-sriracha glaze. Cut each slice of bacon in half crosswise. Then, wrap each shrimp with a half slice of bacon and secure with a skewer.
Place prepared shrimp onto the baking sheet. Once you’ve assembled all the shrimp skewers, brush with any remaining glaze.
Place the shrimp in the oven and bake for 5 minutes. Turn the oven to the broil setting and cook for 4-6 minutes more, until the bacon is crispy. Remove pan from the oven and squeeze the juice of half a lemon over the shrimp. Transfer shrimp to a serving platter, garnish with some sliced green onions, and serve.
5. Bacon Beer Cheese Soup
A bowl of rich beer cheese soup is a comforting dish that’s sure to warm you on a cold night, and it’s even better when it includes savory bacon. Even better, you can prepare this delicious soup in less than a half hour. Recipe from Delish.
- ½ pound bacon
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup whole milk
- 8 ounces lager
- 3 cups shredded Cheddar
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Bread, for serving
Directions: In a large skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until crisp, 6 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to let drain, then crumble.
Heat skillet with bacon fat over medium heat. Add onion and cook until soft, 6 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add flour and whisk until golden, 3 minutes.
Add broth, milk, and beer and let simmer, 15 minutes. Add cheese and stir until melted. Season generously with salt and pepper. Stir in most of the crumbled bacon.
Ladle soup into bowls and top with remaining bacon. Serve with bread.
6. Perfect BLT
Bacon often appears as a garnish on sandwiches, where it can easily be overshadowed by other meats and various ingredients. We suggest getting back to basics with a simple yet iconic BLT. To make the perfect BLT, don’t feel like you need to gussy up your sandwich with fancy condiments or extra toppings. Instead, stick with the basics: bacon, lettuce, tomato, bread, and mayo. Because this sandwich is so simple, make sure you pick quality ingredients, like thick-cut bacon, bakery-fresh bread, and perfectly ripe tomatoes. Recipe from Joy the Baker.
- 2 slices of bread
- Iceberg lettuce
- 4 to 5 slices bacon
Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the bacon in a single layer on the sheet.
Bake the bacon in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer bacon to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain.
Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Dip both sides of bread in the bacon fat on the baking sheet. Transfer to the skillet and toast, turning at least once, until browned on both sides.
Remove bread from pan and spread some mayonnaise on each piece. Place the cooked bacon on one slice of bread, then top with tomatoes. Season the tomatoes with salt and pepper. Top with iceberg lettuce and the second slice of bread, then serve.
7. Ultimate Bacon Cheeseburger
This bacon-licious burger is only for true lovers of cured pork. Not only is the burger topped with strips of woven bacon, but it’s also garnished with bacon mayonnaise and onions cooked in bacon fat. Want a little more bacon flavor with your bacon? The buns and burger are also cooked in bacon grease. Recipe from Serious Eats.
- 12 slices thick-cut, naturally smoked bacon
- 6 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon ketchup
- 1 tablespoon spicy brown or dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 24 ounces (1½ pounds) freshly ground beef chuck
- Kosher salt
- 4 soft hamburger rolls
- 4 slices American or cheddar cheese
- 1 medium onion, finely sliced (about ¾ cup)
- 12 dill pickle chips
Directions: Adjust oven rack to center and bottom positions, place a 12-inch cast-iron skillet on the bottom rack, and preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Meanwhile, line a rimmed baking sheet with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Place six slices of bacon on baking sheet side to side running perpendicular to the edge of the counter. Fold down the top halves of 1st, 3rd, and 5th slices. Place a slice of bacon across the top of the folds, running perpendicular to the first 6 slices, then unfold the bacon so that the new slice is woven over and under every other slice. Fold down the 2nd, 4th, and 6th slices and lay another slice of bacon across the top of the fold. Unfold the slices. Repeat until all 12 slices of bacon have been laid on the baking sheet in an interwoven pattern. Place baking sheet in oven and cook until bacon is crisp, about 25 minutes.
While bacon cooks, combine mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, relish, and 1 teaspoon black pepper in a medium bowl. Stir to combine. Form ground beef into 4 (6-ounce) patties slightly wider than the buns. Press the center of each patty to make a slight indentation with your fingertips. Season liberally with salt and pepper on all sides. Set aside.
When bacon is cooked, remove baking sheet from oven and set broiler to high. Pour off excess bacon fat into a small bowl and set aside. Transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate, being careful not to break it. Allow to drain for 30 seconds, then transfer to cutting board. Cut the bacon weave into four smaller squares and set aside.
Pour 2 tablespoons of rendered bacon fat into mayonnaise mixture and stir to combine. Brush hamburger rolls on inside surfaces with bacon fat and place on a broiler pan or baking sheet brushed-side up.
Remove cast-iron skillet from oven using oven mitts or a folded kitchen towel. Place over medium-high heat. Add remaining bacon fat to skillet. Add burger patties and cook, turning occasionally, until well-crusted and center of each burger registers 120 degrees Fahrenheit on an instant read thermometer. Top with cheese and continue cooking until cheese is melted and burgers register 125 degrees Fahrenheit for medium rare or 135 degrees Fahrenheit for medium. Transfer to a large plate.
Add onions to skillet and cook, stirring frequently, until softened and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and transfer to a bowl.
Place burger buns under broiler while onions cook and broil until golden brown and toasted, about 2 minutes.
Spread mayonnaise mixture on both sides of burger buns. Place 3 pickles on each bottom bun. Top with a burger patty, a pile of onions, and a square of bacon weave. Close buns and serve.
8. Spaghetti with Bacon Meatballs
Traditional meatballs get an unexpected upgrade in this recipe from Real Simple, which involves incorporating bacon into the meat mixture. The result is sure to be a hit at the dinner table. This recipe calls for pairing the meatballs with spaghetti and marinara sauce, but you can use them for appetizers or in other dishes as well.
- 1 small onion, very coarsely chopped
- 3 slices bacon, very coarsely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- ¼ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 1 pound ground beef chuck
- ½ cup grated Parmesan (2 ounces), plus more, shaved, for serving
- 3 tablespoons bread crumbs
- 1 large egg
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 12 ounces spaghetti (¾ box)
- 3 cups marinara sauce
Directions: Heat broiler. Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. In a food processor, combine the onion, bacon, garlic, and parsley; pulse until finely chopped, 10 to 15 times. Transfer to a medium bowl, add the beef, Parmesan, bread crumbs, egg, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper, and mix gently to combine.
Form the beef mixture into 16 meatballs (about 2 tablespoons each) and place on a foil-lined broiler-proof rimmed baking sheet. Broil, turning once, until cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes.
Cook the pasta according to the package directions.
Heat the marinara sauce in a large skillet over medium heat, 2 to 3 minutes; add the meatballs and toss gently to coat. Serve over the pasta and sprinkle with the shaved Parmesan.
9. Brussels Sprouts with Bacon
Bacon adds some much-needed flair to a boring side dish in this 15-minute, five-ingredient recipe from Rachael Ray (via the Food Network). It may be just the thing to convince people to finally eat their veggies.
- 3 slices bacon, chopped
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 1½ pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed, small sprouts left whole, larger sprouts halved
- Salt and pepper, to your taste
- 1 cup chicken broth
Directions: Brown bacon in a medium skillet over medium high heat. Remove bacon to a paper-towel-lined plate. Add extra-virgin olive oil to the pan, 1 turn. Add shallots to the pan and sauté 1 to 2 minutes. Add Brussels sprouts and coat in oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Cook Brussels sprouts 2 to 3 minutes to begin to soften, then add broth. Bring broth to a bubble, cover and reduce heat to medium low. Cook 10 minutes, until tender. Transfer sprouts to a serving dish with a slotted spoon and top with cooked bacon bits.
10. Bacon Brownies
Bacon adds a savory note to sweet dessert recipes, like these brownies, which include pieces of crumbled maple bacon. For an extra kick, add a few tablespoons of bourbon to the batter. Recipe from A Cookie Named Desire.
- 8 slices of bacon
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 9½ ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
- ½ cup Dutch process or natural cocoa powder
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons bourbon
Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
Brush both sides of the bacon with the maple syrup, then place in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until crispy.
Remove baking sheet from oven and blot bacon with a paper towel to remove excess grease. Add 2 ounces of chocolate chips to a microwave-safe dish and heat at 50% power in 30-second increments until melted. Crumble 3 to 4 of the bacon slices into ½-inch slices and then dip the pieces in the melted chocolate. Return to the baking sheet and let harden. Set aside.
Reduce oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line an 8-by-8-inch baking dish with parchment paper.
Combine the butter, sugar, and 7 ounces of chocolate chips in a double boiler. Heat until chocolate is melted. Stir to combine and set aside to cool.
Once the chocolate has cooled, add the eggs, vanilla, and bourbon. Stir until combined. Add the cocoa powder and flour. Stir until there are no lumps in the batter. Fold in the chocolate-bacon bits.
Pour the batter into the baking pan. Crumble up the remaining bacon slices. Sprinkle on top of the brownie batter, along with the remaining ½ ounce of chocolate chips, gently pressing into the batter.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool before slicing.