Americans are still in love with bacon

Pork belly sizzles as finger food, in sandwiches, with cocktails


Nancy Kruse, Nation's Restaurant News 

Oct 01, 2019


The English novelist and travel writer Fanny Trollope registered astonishment that Americans consume “an extraordinary quantity of bacon,” an observation that appeared in her “Domestic Manners of the Americans” in 1832. It’s hard to imagine what she would think of Americans’ continuing — and increasing — love for sizzling pork belly nearly two centuries later. That irresistible blend of savory and salty has made bacon our number-one favorite meat, according to researchers at Datassential.


Over-the-top finger foods. Many restaurateurs are continuing to cash in on bacon’s enduring popularity. There’s Million Dollar Bacon on offer at Florida-based breakfast chain First Watch: four slices of hardwood-smoked bacon baked with brown sugar, black pepper, cayenne and finished with a drizzle of maple syrup; and  Dallas-based sports barTwin Peaks, which ups the ante considerably with its Billionaire’s Bacon made with brown sugar, red chili flakes, black pepper, smoked paprika and cayenne.


While sweet heat is a natural pairing for bacon, other chefs are leaning into the fat factor to counterbalance the burn.  For example, the grilled bacon appetizer at Quality Meats in New York City pairs peanut butter with jalapeńo, and the applewood smoked bacon on the Munchies menu at two-unit Uncle Jack’s Meat House marries bacon with homemade peanut butter and a chipotle-maple glaze.


Still other restaurateurs rely on creative presentation to teach an old pig new tricks. In answer to patron demand, Logan’s Roadhouse has brought back its popular Bacon on a Stick starter, in which bacon slices are threaded on sticks and arranged in an aluminum bucket along with crispy fried onion rings for a hands-on, down-home presentation. Three-unit Bacon Social House operates in Denver and Minneapolis and wins praise for its bacon-forward items like the signature bacon flight appetizer that offers six flavors of the “best bacon available in the US,” and is served with a pair of shears for sharing.


Show-stopping sandwich toppers ...