Mmm…bacon, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways: Smoked, fried, baked, grilled and the list goes on. Bacon has been elevated to near cult status in recent years and appears in a range of innovative dishes both savory and sweet. Whether it’s topping a sandwich, crumbled in salad, layered in frosting or hidden in cheesy pizza, bacon makes everything better.
BARBECUED BEEF BRISKET SANDWICH WITH BACON
ChuckWagon Charlie’s Smokehouse and Saloon
The barbecued beef brisket sandwich soothes many a hungry soul. As if it wasn’t meaty enough on its own, bacon is a well-sought extra. Not that the brisket sandwich needs any improvement. No, the sandwich is a hefty tour de force in its own right, but the bacon bonus adds sublime sizzle. “Everybody loves bacon,” says Byron Kyros, owner. “We make our bacon from scratch. We get one cured, we do another.” Much extra care goes into the multi-step, two-week preparation process. The result is sugar-cured bacon goodness. Pair it with juicy brisket and a fresh ciabatta bun and you attain pure sandwich bliss. $12.95, add bacon $1.50.
Bacon can easily find its way on most any dish at Pasta Zola. With a build-your-own, made-to-order serving style, the possibilities for bacon are vast. Thinly sliced hardwood smoked and cured bacon with a scent of bourbon makes a flavorful topping for a cold salad or hot pasta. Macaroni and cheese, and pasta Alfredo are the most popular vehicles for bacon. The dry textured bacon adds meaty richness to savory sauces. Luckily for bacon pasta (or bacon salad) fans, owners Mitch and Kris Thayer expanded their family business with a new location in Chaska this fall. Pasta $4.59–$7.49, salad $2.99–$5.69, add bacon $1.99.
BACON AND EGG QUESADILLA
Floyd’s Bar and Grill
Bye-bye, boring breakfasts. Be bold and go with a bacon and egg quesadilla. Three strips of bacon set the groundwork for a deliciously memorable dish, and Mexican fixings take everything off from there. Picture grilled flour tortillas with scrambled eggs and Colby-Jack cheese. The bacon is diced into the mix. Want more? Spudsters jalapeño-infused cheesy tater tots and a side of salsa give whispers of heat. For a show-stopper brunch beverage, try the heavily garnished weekender version of the Floyd’s bloody Mary. Bacon and egg quesadilla $9, weekender bloody Mary, $8.50.
BACON BROCCOLI TOSS
What’s bright, green and has bacon all over? It’s the bacon broccoli toss! A deli salad standby for 30 years running, the salad remains a favorite today. “It’s kind of an old-fashioned recipe,” says Christi Walkowiak, assistant deli manager. Fresh broccoli, bacon crumbles, Cheddar cheese, water chestnuts, sunflower seeds and red onions make a delicious mix. Jerry’s own coleslaw dressing melds everything together. The flavorful medley of vegetables and meat has real staying power. “This is the kind of salad that could be a side or a meal in one,” says Walkowiak. Deli selections vary daily, but the bacon broccoli toss makes appearances year-round, including the colder months. $7.99 pound.
BACON MAPLE LONG JOHN
No ordinary cured meat adorns these sweet treats; Mackenthun’s own fresh smokehouse bacon goes on top. Big rectangle doughnut puffs—airy as clouds—come back to earth with a maple-bacon treatment. A drizzle of dark chocolate finishes some of the bacon maple long johns while others just have maple frosting. Think pancakes and bacon in a tidy doughnut package with no maple syrup drips, but all the flavor. The earthy sweetness of maple frosting and salty-crisp crunch of bacon make these doughnuts irresistible.
It’s up to you to decide whether to pull the bacon strips off and eat them first, or just bite into the dough, frosting and bacon altogether in one swoop. Either way, you are in for a sweet-salty sensation.
If you want to purchase some bacon separately, Mackenthun’s has eight housemade varieties available in the meat department. $1.09, bacon $7.09 pound.
LOADED BAKED POTATOES SKILLET
A big breakfast can start your day in a big way and a lot of bacon ensures a taste triumph. Generous chunks of thick honey cured bacon are prominent in the loaded baked potatoes skillet. You can’t miss the bacon even under a cloak of housemade hollandaise and a medley of baked potatoes, peppers and onions with scrambled eggs, Cheddar cheese and green onions thrown in for good measure. Lance Hamlin, owner, and Laura Martinek, partner, take pride in creating their top-selling loaded baked potato skillet from scratch. You will be enchanted by the filling, but wonderfully tasty, experience. $11.
SHRIMP, CHEESY GRITS AND SMOKEHOUSE BACON
The Prairie Tap House
Grilled shrimp, creamy grits, crispy bacon, roasted peppers and onions fuel this sultry Southern-style sustenance. A double applewood smoking gives the bacon pleasant woody notes with a touch of sweetness. Pit-spice enlivens the hefty shrimp with a zesty zydeco tune. Fresh rosemary, thyme and parsley add herb freshness. Smoked gouda cheese transforms light and fluffy grits into a surprisingly filling feast.
Available during brunch only, these bacon-studded grits will turn your weekend into a tasty party celebration. Sides of toast and fruit round off the meal. $9.95.
TURKEY BACON CHIPOTlE HOAGIE
A sprinkle of Minnesota nice spice makes the turkey bacon chipotle stand apart from Davanni’s other hoagies. Aside from the spice of the smoky chipotle, the addition of bacon ensures hoagie happiness. Affectionately known as the “TBC” the hoagie begins with premium fried bacon, thinly sliced turkey, Cheddar cheese and garlic butter. Served hot from the broiler, the TBC “is so good. It should be sinful,” says Tim Huberty, marketing director.
The freshly made hoagie gets a cool down from garden toppings, including shredded lettuce, sliced tomato and onions—plus a dousing of Davanni’s secret dressing. A good mix of contrasting flavors and temperatures makes a delectable hoagie. $4.55 half, $7.89 whole.
MISSISSIPPI SOB PIZZA
Breakfast bacon bakes right into the Mississippi SOB pizza, and that’s what the “B” stands for, folks! A wisp of heat livens up the bacon, Italian sausage and onion combination. Mozzarella, provolone and Cheddar melt into a delightfully gooey cheese blend – all on top of a hand-tossed original or thin crust. The Mississippi SOB pizza has a “spicy bite, just right,” says Troy Snell, owner. A warm, Southern-inspired technique brings out the salty-sweet bacon flavor. Made fresh to order with the finest ingredients, the Mississippi SOB is a gourmet pie sure to win friends at any meal. Medium $14.99, large $17.99, family-size $22.99.