50 Plates of Bacon

By Zagat Staff  |  July 29, 2013

While the bacon meme may have reached its apex a few years ago, chefs all over the country know that utilizing the smoky ingredient in their dishes is a sure-fire way to the hearts of hungry diners. We're rounded up 50 of the most unique bacon dishes from around the U.S. in the slide show. Check out all the bacon love and let us know your favorite dish in the comments.

  • Thrice-Cooked Bacon at Mission Chinese Food in San Francisco, CA, and New York, NY

    Chef Danny Bowien recently showed Jimmy Fallon how to make this dish with bacon, chewy Shanghainese rice cakes, tofu skin, bitter melon, fermented black beans and chile oil live on Late Night, vivid evidence of how iconic this dish has become. There, Bowien explained that the bacon is first braised in ham stock and is then frozen, steamed and skillet-fried. When MCF opened in San Francisco in July 2010, the heat level on the dish merited two flame icons on the menu. It’s since been dialed back to just one flame, but still packs a respectably buzzy punch of heat.

    Photo: Tamara Palmer

  • Clam, Ramp and Bacon Chowder at OAK at Fourteenth in Boulder, CO

    With a one-of-a-kind, oak-fired oven, chef and owner Steven Redzikowski has brought new American cuisine to the forefront of this Boulder restaurant. Speaking of America, what screams U.S.A. more than a healthy dose of bacon. Enter, the ultimate seasonal chowder chock-full of not only tender belly bacon, but also fresh Manila clams, green garlic and Toniolli olive oil. “Normally it’s a gut bomb, but this is a lighter version of it,” said the chef, who uses milk (instead of cream) and preserved lemon, and makes each bowl with two tablespoons of rendered bacon.

  • Chocolate Chip Bacon Cookie at Frank in Austin, TX

    Sure, anyone can have chocolate-covered bacon, but Frank’s team Daniel Northcutt and Geoff Peveto, aka the “Purveyors of Pork and Its Tasty Friends,” have made this delicacy even more sinful by adding it to cookie dough and baking perfect, warm and decadent circles of yum. You can even get your cookie topped with coffee ice cream and candied bacon crumbles. “We love bacon and we love chocolate,” said Northcutt. “And now we also make bacon waffles, bacon cookies, candied bacon and more. After all, Frank is the Church of Pork.”

    Photo by Michael Mallard

  • Maple Bacon Manhattan at The Southern in Chicago, IL

    Just when you though a Manhattan cocktail couldn’t get any finer, the team at The Southern had to go and add a dash of bacon and maple syrup to the mixture. Enter, the Maple Bacon Manhattan, a drink so popular, they haven’t dared to take it off their menu since it debuted three years ago. Inside this meaty drink, you find a house-infused bacon bourbon using Jim Beam, and North Country smoked bacon, which gets garnished with a thick slice of pork and sweetened with 100% pure maple syrup.

  • Oyster and Bacon Sandwich at Cochon in New Orleans, LA

    Chef Donald Link knows his oysters and the South knows its pork, so it was only a matter of time before the two should be forced together in a glorious, decadent and umami-rich sandwich. Not only do the flavors marry well, but the sandwich gets an extra level of smokiness from being in their wood-burning oven.

    Photo via Flickr/Megg

  • Bacon Oyster Pad Thai at Talde in Brooklyn, NY

    Well, if pad Thai is the most popular Thai dish in America and bacon is the U.S.’s answer to salt, it was only fitting that the two would meet. The man behind this genius idea is none other than Dale Talde, Top Chef alum and owner of Talde and Pork Slope. “We started out working with the idea that pad Thai is a great hangover brunch dish, and from there we added bacon and fried oysters to create a perfect blend of sweet and salty, with plenty of starch,” said the chef. “Pad Thai is the Thai equivalent of a greasy cheeseburger.” And, we all know how well bacon goes on cheeseburgers.

  • Sweet-and-Sour Shrimp Stuffed With Bacon at Sidney Street Cafe in St. Louis, MO

    Behind a century-old storefront in the historical Benton Park, you can find chef Kevin Nashan dishing out seasonal American fare. On the bacon end, Nashan stuffs bacon-sausage into the heads of grilled shrimp and then coats them with a sweet-and-sour glaze. “The bacon sausage adds as a vehicle so you can eat the head, which is the most flavorful part of the shrimp,” said Nashan. Grab this appetizer at their elegant antique bar, and pair it with a cocktail like the Smoky Grove, which, with Laphroig Scotch and two types of vermouth, compliments the dish nicely.

  • BLT Benedict at Roost in Greenville, SC

    Sure, anyone can do a regular ol’ BLT sandwich, but have you ever had a BLT Benedict? At the local and seasonal restaurant Roost, chef Trevor Higgins has created this gem using heirloom tomatoes, Bibb lettuce, smoky smoked bacon and a bright hollandaise sauce. All that comes atop two beautifully poached eggs. Now you may be wondering, is it breakfast or is it lunch? In the end, this dish is the epitome of brunch.

  • Bacon Waffle at Fig in Santa Monica, CA

    Brunch is a balance of salty and sweet, and the brunch-only bacon waffle at Fig at the Fairmont Hotel in Santa Monica is the perfect culmination of both. But this is no mere bacon-on-the-side breakfast: chef Ray Garcia layers whole strips of bacon inside the waffle so the smoky ends jut out, then chunks of caramelized bacon are added to the sauce, a blend of Trockenbeerenauslese (an aromatic dessert wine) and maple syrup. And then, there’s a generous scoop of bacon ice cream on top, which melts into the syrup over every nook and cranny of that golden waffle. It’s bacon bliss.

    Photo: Lesley Balla

  • Bacon Maple Ice Cream at The Ice Cream Store in Rehoboth Beach, DE

    What could be more appropriate for the hot days of summer than a cool, meaty cone of bacon maple ice cream? Lucky for you, The Ice Cream Store in Rehoboth Beach makes one with African vanilla ice cream that gets churned with chunks of bacon. But wait, it gets better: this particular flavor also gets made with Jack Daniels, so you get a sweet bourbon kick to go with that smoky bacon goodness.

  • Stuffed Tomato With Bacon at The Refinery in Tampa, FL

    Sometimes in a dish there is bacon singing its pork praises, but then other times, this smoky, fatty meat is the glue that holds ingredients together, as it does in chef Greg Baker’s stuffed tomato dish at The Refinery. “Often overused, the bacon in this dish is not the star,” said the three-time James Beard semifinalist. “Rather, it acts as a bridge between the savory flavor of the veal sweetbreads, the sweetness of the butternut squash, the peppery crunch of the kohlrabi, and the sweet acidity of the tomato.” While you might not see the bacon clear as day, the flavor illuminates each bite.

  • Duck Confit Cinnamon Roll With Bacon Frosting From Comme Ça at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, NV

    Combing the sweet, cinnamon-tinged glory of a sticky bun and the rich, smoky goodness of bacon, executive chef Bryan Howard has created the Duck Confit Cinnamon Roll, a baked treat topped with bacon frosting. "The dish just made sense since duck and cinnamon are a true marriage in flavor,” said executive chef Bryan Howard. “We wanted a fun brunch item that tended to the needs of those who love the salty and the sweet together, so we used the bacon fat and chopped bacon into the frosting to elevate the dish, adding a great smoky, savory element." With flavors like that, it makes the bright glitz of Las Vegas pale in comparison.

  • B.L.T. Kale Salad at Sweet Chick in Brooklyn, NY

    If every salad was this good, chances are we would crave them more. With creamy preserved lemon vinaigrette coating each fresh leaf of Lacinato kale and bright cherry tomatoes, this mixture just gets better with the addition of thick-cut, house-cured bacon that they plop on top. After a few bites, you realize you have eaten a savory garden, and darn it if you don’t want to do it again. Of course, you might be wondering where the bread part of the BLT is. Well, worry not. For another bacon-fueled treat, they serve the same bacon cooked into a cheddar waffles.

  • Bacon and Peanut Butter-Nutella Sandwich App Bites at Toasted Oak in Novi, MI 

    The inspiration behind this bar bite came from street food and Elvis’ beloved combination of peanut butter and bacon. The team at Toasted Oak takes a bite-size peanut butter and Nutella sandwich, wraps it in bacon and then deep-fries it. Each mouthful hits you first with the crispiness and saltiness of the bacon, which yields to the creamy sweetness of the peanut butter and chocolate-hazelnut spread.

  • Sage-Fried Chicken With Bacon Waffles at Hash House A Go Go in Chicago, IL

    Chef Andy Beardslee prides himself on his nuanced takes on traditional diner fare, like this wacky yet delicious plate of fried chicken and waffles. Whole pieces of bacon are baked into the waffles by layering them into the waffle iron during the cooking process. The waffles are topped with chicken that’s fried with a generous amount of sage, then plated with a hot maple syrup reduction and fried leeks. The savory-sweet combination has been a staple on the restaurant’s breakfast, lunch and dinner menus since it opened about a year ago.

  • Corn Crème Brûlée With Candied Bacon at Tilth in Seattle, WA

    Every summer, chef-owner Maria Hines brings this classic savory dessert back to the menu at Tilth, due to popular demand. Hines is a savory chef by trade, and she doesn’t restrain her instinct to weave savory elements, like bacon, into her dessert menu. “The meaty saltiness of the bacon helps balance the rich, sweet flavor of the corn brûlée,” she says.

  • Hang Over ’Za at Coppa in Boston, MA

    Nothing cures a hangover quite like bacon and eggs... except maybe pizza. At Boston’s Coppa restaurant, you don’t have to choose - chefs Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonette have combined all three to create the ultimate morning-after meal. The Hang Over ’Za is a Sunday brunch favorite at this pork-heavy Italian spot, a wood-fired pizza topped with bacon, sausage, prosciutto, potatoes, mozzarella, scallions and two over-easy farm eggs... in other words, everything you need to feel like new again. P.S. it’s big enough to share with all of your still-drunk friends too.

  • Bacon-Wrapped Quail Legs With Duck Sausage Stuffing and Lingonberry Compote at Firelake Grill in Bloomington, MN

    A true meat threesome, chef Paul Lynch’s quail legs are stuffed with duck sausage, wrapped in bacon, rubbed in homemade barbecue spice and smoked for 20 minutes over the open flame. The legs are then finished on the grill to create a crisped bacon exterior. Lynch says that the flavors of all three meats complement each other, but you can still differentiate them in every bite. The sweet compote cuts through all the fatty meatiness to make one of the more popular small plates on Firelake’s menu.

  • The 6 AM Special at Lola Bistro in Cleveland, OH

    Michael Symon has fun with favorites from the breakfast table, French toast and bacon, in this boundary-defying dessert. A housemade, butter-rich piece of brioche French toast is piled over caramelized diced apples, along with a quenelle of maple ice cream that’s made with bacon fat and chunks of actual bacon. Porky, creamy, sweet and salty - this dessert is wrong in all the right ways.

  • Bacon Caramel Popcorn at Holeman & Finch in Atlanta, GA

    Chef Linton Hopkins tosses caramel-coated popcorn with kernel-size hunks of salty bacon - a cocktail companion, propelling drinkers with its seductive, sneaky saltiness - to finish every last crumb. Hopkins, on the bacon in the dish: “It’s like John Bonham to Led Zeppelin: it brings deep, bluesy, funky force-of-nature rhythm to the dish. Bacon adds salty, smoky, chewy depth and low savory tones against the sweet high tones of the caramelized crunch.” Couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

  • Coca Flatbread With Bacon Marmalade, Beef Short Rib and Horseradish at Mercat a la Planxa in Chicago, IL

    Jose Garces caramelizes bacon with Spanish white onions, then adds balsamic vinegar and molasses to make syrupy, savory bacon marmalade. Garces slathers this flatbread with the combination before piling on shredded short-rib bits and dollops of horseradish. “The bacon marmalade creates a nice salty-sweet base for the dish,” he says. Garces goes on to call this particular flatbread a “fan favorite”: his diners won’t let him take it off the menu.

  • Chawan-Mushi With Favas, Morels, Bacon, Scallions and Truffle at Smallwares in Portland, OR

    Chef-owner Johanna Ware uses the fat from Benton’s bacon, which is “really strong and smoky,” to sauté morels, shallots, Serrano chile and garlic together. “A little of this bacon flavor goes a long way,” she says. The kitchen then deglazes the pan with Jim Beam and heavy cream before adding blanched fava beans. Spoonfuls of this bacon-fat-infused vegetable mixture are then dropped over the pillowy classic Japanese-style chawan-mushi custard. The finishing touch? Garlic scallions and in-season Oregon white spring truffles shaved over the top.

  • Black Pig Meat Co. Bacon at American Cut in Atlantic City, NJ

    Iron Chef Marc Forgione takes bacon to a whole new level at American Cut, his steakhouse in Atlantic City’s Revel casino. The free-range, hormone- and antibiotic-free meat comes from Black Pig Meat Company in Sonoma County, California, where it’s cured with brown sugar for up to 21 days and then smoked over applewood for 12 hours. Once it gets to American Cut, the thick-cut slices are marinated for another 24 hours, then grilled in Forgione’s special steak sauce and finished with a charred red onion vinaigrette before being served in the restaurant. All in all, it’s a 22.5-day process from farm to table - makes you feel a little better about paying $17 for two slices of bacon, no?

  • Bloody Homer at The Icehouse in Minneapolis, MN

    If Homer Simpson ever took a break from beer to drink Bloody Marys, he would be proud of this creation by barman Johnny Michaels. No only does it consist of bacon-infused vodka, a smoky and spicy tomato juice, and bacon powder on the rim, but it’s garnished with an adorable, freshly baked donut with tomato-based icing, and: a big slab of bacon. Plus, they serve it in a Duff beer glass so you can truly feel like you have just stepped into Moe’s bar.

  • Bacon Maple Apple Donut at Dynamo Donut in San Francisco, CA

    This porcine hole-y wonder was invented before bacon and desserts were the common bedfellows they are today. Generous chunks of apple inside the dough and a maple glaze offer a flavor reminiscent of mixing bacon with your pancakes and syrup. Shards of crispy bacon are dressed on top to keep the proceedings decidedly meaty. And if you needed any more incentive to splurge on this sinker, know this: it’s sautéed in bacon fat too.

    Photo: Tamara Palmer

  • Bacon-Artichoke and Sweetbread Brochette at Arrows in Ogunquit, ME

    Chef/partners Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier recently competed on Top Chef Masters, but they also run one of the most highly regarded restaurants in Maine. Their bacon-artichoke and sweetbread brochette is a fine example of how the duo puts a creative spin on a classic preparation by grilling the smoky pork product and skewering it with seared sweetbreads and briny artichoke. The appetizer is served atop creamy green sauce, which adds the perfect tangy finish to every bite.

  • Dátiles: Pavelka's Point Bacon-Wrapped, Chèvre-Stuffed Dates With Garlic Confit Purée at Devotay in Iowa City, IA

    Chef Kurt Friese is the man behind this local favorite serving up playful takes on some classic tapas dishes. One of the eatery’s most popular small bites are the dátiles - bacon-wrapped dates, grilled and stuffed with goat cheese and garlic confit. The smoky swine balances out the sweet date and spicy garlic to make the perfect tapas-sized bite.

  • Bucatini Carbonara at Cafe Martorano in Las Vegas, NV, and Fort Lauderdale, FL

    This classic Italian dish is a staple at Cafe Martorano’s multiple locations. The salty pancetta (Italian bacon) sets up the flavor base for the creamy egg and Caciocavallo cheese sauce that’s layered throughout. A spicy grind of black pepper breaks up the fatty rich sauce and makes for well-rounded bites of pasta, but it’s the pancetta that truly makes the flavors in this dish sing.

  • Proof Bison Burger at Proof on Main in Louisville, KY

    This restaurant, located in Louisville’s 21c Museum Hotel, sources all of its ingredients from local Ohio River Valley purveyors - including the applewood-smoked bacon, which is featured prominently throughout the menu on everything from braised greens to grilled cheese. It’s also one of the key ingredients in the restaurant’s signature dish, a bison burger topped with gooey Tillamook cheddar, applewood-smoked bacon and homemade “jezebel sauce.” Between the juicy beef, sharp cheese, crispy bacon and spicy-sweet apple and horseradish jelly, it’s basically a party for your tastebuds - no wonder it’s such a popular order.

  • Bacon-Bourbon Popcorn Balls at Eat Bar in Arlington, VA

    Forget that fake-butter-drizzled movie theater popcorn. At Eat Bar in Arlington, Virginia, chef Nate Waugaman serves up a much better option - popcorn balls covered in bourbon caramel and sea salt and tossed with chunks of Benton bacon. The tantalizing bar bite is the perfect accompaniment to the restaurant’s infused bourbons and Scotch-and-honey-syrup cocktail.

  • Twice-Baked Potato With Bacon, Green Onion and Cheese at Canlis in Seattle, WA

    At Seattle fine-dining classic Canlis, this twice-baked potato side dish has been a tradition among the owners, the Canlis family, for four generations. Russet potatoes are baked with bacon, green onion and cream cheese, then broiled so the Romano cheese on top gets bubbly and crisp. Making it fancier still: this is probably the only twice-baked potato you’ll ever eat from an individual Staub cocotte.

  • Bacon Shell Taco at PYT in Philadelphia, PA

    How can you make the tastiest taco in the world? Skip the boring tortilla (flour, corn, soft, hard, whatever) and make the shell out of pure bacon. At PYT in Philadelphia’s Northern Liberties neighborhood, chef Kim Malcolm threads strips of bacon together, then lays the woven mat in a special mold for a quick deep-fry. What emerges is a salty, crispy wrapper made of pork belly, ready to be stuffed with meat, salsa, guacamole and cheese. If you’re looking to get one, arrive early, because only 20 are available each day.

    Photo by Danya Henninger

  • Texas Hold-Em at Hot Diggity in Philadelphia, PA

    An East Coast-style Sabrett’s hot dog gets a Lone Star twist at Hot Diggity on South Street in Philadelphia. A slice of bacon is wrapped around the wiener from top to bottom, and the combo is dropped in the deep-fryer to seal the meat together. Toppings of shredded cheese, hot sauce, sweet BBQ sauce and onions complete the totally loaded frank.

  • Dátiles con Beicon at Boqueria in Washington, DC

    At DC’s Boqueria, chef Marc Vidal serves up a tapas dish that’s part savory, part sweet and overall a bacon lover’s dream. The dátiles con beicon features three dates that have been stuffed with almonds and Valdeon cheese, then wrapped in - you guessed it - bacon. Perfect for soaking up a couple of flights of cava.

  • LA Street Dog at Fritzi Dog in Los Angeles, CA

    Everyone who’s been around a large music venue, theater or park around Los Angeles has probably eaten, or at least smelled, the bacon-wrapped hot dogs sold at makeshift little street carts. They’re also affectionately known as Danger Dogs, because scarfing one down can feel like a rite of passage. If this particular street-food item seems too hardcore, you can try chef Neal Fraser’s upscale version at his newish hot doggery in the historical Original Farmers Market at Third and Fairfax. The franks and buns are all custom-made by Fritzi, and this one’s a classic beef and pork stadium dog topped with a strip or two of thick-cut bacon, ketchup, mayo, onions and jalapeño. It doesn’t quite have the danger of a street dog, but should satisfy cravings nonetheless.

  • Bacon With Maple Cotton Candy at Kayne Prime in Nashville, TN

    At this modern Nashville steakhouse, part of the popular M Street Group, chef Robert Grace makes his own bacon in-house and spices it up with a black-peppercorn cure. To give it a modern twist, maple cotton candy rests atop the smoky swine making for a fun and playful appetizer.

  • Prawns With Polenta, Bacon and Tarragon at The Modern Hotel and Bar in Boise, ID

    This former Travelodge-turned-boutique hotel is churning out some seriously amazing plates thanks to chef Michael Bowers. His starter dish featuring prawns, creamy polenta, crispy bacon and tarragon may not put bacon at the center of the dish, but it's certainly one of the highlights.

  • Three Little Pigs Burger at Lucky 13 in Salt Lake City, UT

    They take bacon seriously at this Utah roadhouse famed for their gourmet burgers, many of which are topped with their house-smoked bacon. Case in point: the Three Litlte Pigs burger, currently back on the menu by popular demand, combines ground wild boar, mixed with house wild-game seasoning, is topped with grilled Black Forest ham, house-smoked bacon, melted cheddar and served on a fresh baked bun. 

  • Hangover Burger at The Barley House in Concord, NH

    Local favorite The Barley House in Concord is an upscale tavern that features the house-cured bacon in an array of dishes. But perhaps the ultimate indulgence is their Hangover Burger, which combines peppercorn charred beef, a potato cake, cheddar cheese, a fried egg, bacon and buffalo sauce. 

  • Bacon on a Stick at Dempsey's Brew Pub and Restaurant in Baltimore, MD

    This Baltimore bar loves bacon so much, it's serving it up in unadulterated form - simply, on a stick. Slow-smoked Hungarian bacon dipped in an Old Bay maple glaze and is served in a six-pack of beer bottles. An all-American bacon dish if we've ever seen one.

  • Shrimp and Grits at Big Bad Breakfast in Oxford, MS

    At this Oxford breakfast and lunch spot from famed chef John Currence, the bacon is cured in Tabasco and brown sugar and used in any number of dishes. One of the standouts is its use in the shrimp and grits, a traditional take on the Southern staple featuring tomatoes with grits, red-eye gravy and two eggs cooked to order.

  • Ravioli With Bacon Dashi at Pago in Salt Lake City, UT

    At Scott Evan's Salt Lake City farm-to-table spot, Pago, he combines ricotta ravioli with peas and sugar snap peas and serves it in a bacon dashi. This is taking the flavor of bacon to new heights of umami greatness.

  • Duck Poppers at Borgne in New Orleans, LA

    A must-try bacon dish from Down South is the duck poppers from Borgne, John Besh's newest restaurant in New Orleans. Offered on both the lunch and dinner menus, the poppers are made from duck and jalapeño slices and a bit of cream cheese, wrapped in bacon and drizzled with cane syrup. Yes, please.

  • Duck Fat Muffin Bread at Sorella in NYC

    At Sorella, guests can enjoy a new riff on the signature duck fat English muffin bread, now made with Bacon Fat. The recently debuted pork rillettes on bacon fat English muffin bread features a housemade English muffin inspired by an original James Beard recipe, lightly fried in bacon fat and topped with pickled red onion and crispy pig ears.

  • Free Bacon at Comet Cafe in Milwaukee, WI

    This casual cafe in Milwaukee puts bacon on, well, pretty much everything. There's a bacon meatloaf that's served on a bed of pork, stuffed and wrapped with the stuff. But the most fun time to get your hands greasy is on Mother's and Father's days, when they give away free baskets like the above (what better way to say "I love you"). With all these crispy strips slinging around, it's no wonder this joint is known for their hangover brunches

  • Chocolate-dipped bacon at Beckett's Table in Phoenix, AZ

    The s'mores on the dessert menu at Beckett's in Phoenix are a house favorite - can you say chocolate-dipped bacon? The dish contains all the standards - marshmallow, graham cracker and caramel - and it's amped up by the addition of whipped peanut butter and thick, chocolate-covered slabs of bacon that are laid on top of the dish. We think this is an excellent option for dessert, especially at breakfast.

  • Vermont Maple Bacon Scones at August First in Burlington, VT

    August First bakery and cafe in Burlington, Vermont, has a seasonal offering that pairs bacon smoked in-state with some gloriously sweet sap courtesy of Talcott Family Farms, an in-state tree-tapper. The maple syrup combines with the bacon to make this a breakfast party in your mouth.

  • Clams Casino at The Black Pearl in Newport, RI

    RI lays claim to the recipe for clams casino (roasted clams on the half shell with bacon and breadcrumbs), which was apparently conceived in a Narragansett casino before it subsequently burnt down. While the old-school dish may be harder to find on menus, a number of Rhode Island eateries like Newport's waterfront spot The Black Pearl are still doing the dish proud.

  • Classic BLT at Lonesome Dove Western Bistro in Fort Worth, TX

    Chef-owner and occasional TV star Tim Love serves a delicious twist on the classic BLT sandwich by incorporating two kinds of bacon: his house-smoked lamb bacon and applewood smoked bacon. Can you say, double bacon amazingness? The smoky, savory sandwich is rounded out with layers of butter lettuce and fresh tomato.

  • Bacon-Wrapped North Georgia Trout at JCT. Kitchen & Bar in Atlanta, GA

    Chef Ford Fry puts a swiney spin on fish at his Atlanta restaurant, JCT. Kitchen & Bar, by offering a Benton's bacon-wrapped North Georgia Trout. The dish is served with crushed potatoes, crème fraîche and brown-butter vinaigrette.