By: Adam Lapetina
Credit: Brent Hofaker/Shutterstock
If there’s one thing that America proves time and time again, it’s that there will always be a market for the wacky antics of cartoon sponges. But if it proves two things, the other one is that bacon is the best, most versatile food ever. We’ve got more of it here than most countries could ever dream of (and dream they do), and it’s one of the few foods that can survive being labeled “trendy.” Because bacon transcends trendiness. It is America’s culinary mascot.
Some places serve up a few strips with eggs. Others, though, take pork’s greatest achievement to amazing new heights. That’s why we rounded up the 21 best spots for bacon in the country.
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The Whole Bomb
This West Loop beer hall does a lot of wonderful things with bacon, including wrapping it around dates and deep-fried meatballs. But for a real assault against your ventricles, go for the Whole Bomb. A glorious mutation of meatloaf, the thing starts with 2lbs each of ground beef and pork, which is wrapped up in a 16-strip bacon weave that sits on the smoker for three hours. The 5lb log is then sliced off for sandwiches or, more ideally, is just eaten like a burrito while you weep alone in the dark.
Mount Saint Hell Yeah
Ever since the donut boom started in America, there have been bacon-topped donuts. But no place does them with quite as much gusto as Dallas’ Hypnotic Donuts, which stocks three pastries with sheer piles of pork belly, including the Mount Saint Hell Yeah, which puts the pork at the summit of a cinnamon roll.
Credit: Flickr/Edsel Little
This Ohio City spot does its own meats in-house, including pancetta, which is laid down on a pepper-coated crust before being topped with provolone and eggs. Those eggs basically fry in the grease as the pie cooks at a high temp. The result? A pizza with egg yolk and bacon juice as its sauce base.
Bacon Old Fashioned
The Patterson House
Nashville’s Patterson House is one of the city’s most beloved bars (and one of ours!), and in addition to boasting an intimate, speakeasy-esque vibe, it’s got one of the nation’s best liquid applications of bacon: the Bacon Old Fashioned, made with legendary Benton’s bacon-infused bourbon, maple syrup, and coffee pecan bitters.
Chicken & waffles with bacon
When Bacon opened in 2011, pork-minded Austinites rejoiced. This sanctuary of swine’s menu is nearly entirely bacon-based, so you can’t really go wrong. But the move here is the chicken and waffles, a mountain of poultry whose secret weapon is the thick chunks of bacon they can bake right into the batter.
The 1lb BLT
Tony’s (address and info)
Birch Run, MI
Some men achieve legend through feats of strength, or acts of extreme and selfless valor. In Birch Run, Tony achieved this status simply by making a BLT. Oh, and the “B” is in reference to an entire pound of crispy bacon, served up in an old-school family joint off of I-75. Yes, that means that people eat this thing and drive home. You’re a madman, Tony. And a legend.
Harry’s Bar & Grill (address and info)
Bacon on nachos is one of those ideas that, when you picture it, will cause a man to facepalm hard for not having thought of it before. Welp, Harry’s in Boston thought of it, and took it even further — instead of chips, they use WAFFLE FRIES. When the nachos were temporarily taken off the menu, 3,500 people signed a petition to get them reinstated. They’re that good.
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B’B’B’ Bacon Burger
San Diego, CA
No conversation about places to get bacon in America would be complete without mention of Slater’s 50/50. The place was a pioneer in creative applications of bacon, and their patties are half beef and half bacon (hence the name), so pretty much anything you get here is going to satisfy that craving of yours. But of all their menu items, the B’B’B’ Bacon Burger is the most likely to make your jaw drop (both in awe and in order to fit the damn thing in your mouth).
The Death Muffin
Diesel’s “Bacon Explosion” — a bacon-stuffed, bacon weave-wrapped sausage loaf covered with maple syrup and cayenne — already sounds pretty daunting. Add to it cheddar & a poached egg, and put it all on an English muffin, and you’ve got a menu item that totally warrants the moniker of “The Death Muffin.”
The Spicy Red Neck
New York, NY
Crif Dogs is an oasis of hefty late-night eats, where half the hot dogs on the menu are wrapped with bacon for an extra-crunchy snap that’ll rouse you from any type of stupor. The Spicy Red Neck is an especially bacon-y example — a wiener with bacon, cole slaw, chili, and jalapeños — but really, every option is a testament to their overall mastery of pork.
Bacon-wrapped meatloaf with beer gravy
The Comet Cafe
Every Sunday at the Comet Cafe in Milwaukee is Bacon Night (featuring FREE BASKETS OF BACON), but it’ll kinda feel like that’s every day if you go there for their meatloaf with beer gravy that’s served with bacon-chive mashed potatoes.
Credit: Flickr/Cara Fealy Choate
Sodolak’s Original Country Inn (address and info)
All the reasons you’re not eating chicken-fried steak are dumb, but the reasons you’re not eating chicken-fried bacon are probably dumber. This is the most American food, hands down, end of discussion. Sodolak’s is where it’s been made the longest, and nowhere else has it been so enthusiastically perfected.
Shrimp and grits with bacon
Big Bad Breakfast (address and info)
The long wait is well worth it at this college-town brunch joint (owned by the famous City Grocery folks), which features a menu full of “Big Bad Breakfast Bacon” that they expertly cure and cook in-house. One of the best — and most unequivocally Southern — applications of said bacon is their shrimp and grits, in which the bacon is cured with brown sugar.
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Bacon Loves Lobster Roll
New York, NY
If you’re an indecisive person who likes bacon, BarBacon might be the wrong place to go. The menu here doesn’t have a single dish on it without the stuff (with the exception of a few cocktails), so we recommend attempting the four-variety bacon tasting beforehand just so you can cleanse your palate of everything that isn’t pork. And when you’re done with that, you’ll probably get their Bacon Loves Lobster Roll. Just saying.
LA street dogs
Carts outside the Staples Center (address and info)
Los Angeles, CA
The street dogs, or “danger dogs,” of LA are the stuff of urban legend, and the best ones can be found outside the Staples Center. Typically, they’re wrapped in bacon, covered in veggies, and hawked from small street carts. In recent years, cops have begun cracking down on illegally operated carts, but if you can find a legit one, it’s cheap, crispy pork heaven.
Credit: Andy Kryza/Thrillist
The bacon sampler
Tails & Trotters
This Stumptown butcher shop specializes in all things pig, from house-cured ham to porkstrami and, of course, bacon, which you can watch them slice behind the deli counter. That includes pepper and applewood, plus pancetta, unsmoked strips, British back bacon, and Canadian bacon, which has way better healthcare than its American counterpart. There’s a sandwich counter, though it rarely has bacon. Lucky you, you can grab it to go — or score it online — to do wonderful things to your own sandwiches.
The Bacon Bouquet
San Francisco, CA
A truck so nice they named it twice — after bacon — Bacon Bacon was SF’s first joint to focus exclusively on pork products. Since they opened back in 2011, they’ve been honing their craft and spreading bacon-induced joy all over the Bay Area via things like their spicy belly fries (with pork belly trimmings and hot peppers) and bacon fried chicken. They’ve also been repairing relationships one Bacon Bouquet — which is exactly what you think — at a time at their brick-and-mortar cafe.
Credit: Adam Robb/Thrillist
Heart Attack Dog
Grubhouse is essentially a temple to bacon, and its been practicing its religion for a long time. Open since the 1950s, Grubhouse has been serving up bacon in endlessly creative and delicious varieties longer than most places have been in business. Some highlights are their Elvis Melt (bacon, banana, peanut butter, and “bacon powdered sugar”), and their bacon-wrapped, chili-topped Heart Attack Dog.
Pimento cheese jar
Bacon Bros. Public House (address and info)
Opened by two dudes who definitely don’t play in a folk/country band with their brother Kevin, Bacon Bros. Public House aims to please its pork-loving audience with tons of house-cured, house-smoked meats that give their Southern menu a uniquely meaty twist. Their pimento cheese jar, served with bacon jam and crackers, is just the kind of innovative fare that makes them one of Greenville’s favorite haunts.
Saloon on Calhoun (address and info)
Everything on the menu at this joint — nachos, brownies, quesadillas, chicken tenders, cheese curds, you — is positively loaded with bacon. Hell, they even have a “Bacon Happy Hour” from 4-7pm with free bacon for everyone. Get the pork wings, which are baked pork loins wrapped with bacon and deep-fried. Of course, they have normal chicken wings too. But even they contain “essence of bacon.”
Credit: Scott Gold/Thrillist
The Notorious Bacon Sundae
New Orleans, LA
Looking at the rest of this list, and seeing that — for the most part — these are all savory bacon interpretations, we knew we needed something that would cap off the hypothetical meal that is this article sweetly. Enter: the Notorious Bacon Sundae. It’s made with coffee pecan brittle ice cream & bacon caramel, and is topped with Nueske’s applewood bacon, plus the hopes and dreams of every American.
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