Bacon Spread // The Bacon Jams // Philadelphia, PA
Leave it to this Philly-based team of food scientists, chefs, and engineers to crack one of life’s eternal quests: spreadable bacon. OK, we admit, this is one of those food “inventions” that, well, gilds the lily. Or rather, butters the pork. A fatty strip of crispy pig is pretty damn close to perfection. Still, this spread moves it one step closer. It’s simple: bacon — a half pound in each jar — sugar, onions and vinegar. And it’s best used simply, spread on a burger or the morning’s toast.
Bourbon Bacon Caramel Corn // Liddabit Sweets // Brooklyn, NY
In baseball, tradition rules, and most are sacred — the pinstripes, the anthem, the seventh-inning stretch. And yet how cracker jacks became the timeless stadium candy they are today, we’ll never know — is it their stale, molar-sticking bite or the useless “toy” stuffed in every box? Let’s upgrade. Started at the Brooklyn Flea by two culinary school buddies, Liddabit is now anything but little: a confectionary powerhouse of candies, caramels, even a cookbook. Who better to breathe new life into that tired snack? Their version covers all the bases: salty, sweet, boozy, bacon-y, it’s barbecue in a box, no toy needed.
Applewood Bacon Jerky // Chef’s Cut // New York, NY
While T-ballers stuff their cheeks with bubblegum and old-timers chew tobacco (both with the tooth decay to prove it), we’d rather something manlier — and meatier. And because the only thing worse than wads of gum and tobacco juice on the dugout bench is a cast-iron skillet splattering grease, here’s bacon ready to eat: hand-cut, uncured, and applewood-smoked until thin and crispy. Snack solo, or top a cheesedog — pop in the broiler for extra crunch.
Bodacious Bacon Beer Brittle // Stacey’s Sweet Spot // Moneta, VA
Her bona fides are fine and French — a professional chocolatier degree from the Ecolé Chocolat — but Stacey’s brittle is anything but. Fine Dominican cocoa nibs take a down-home southern turn with smoky local bacon, crunchy North Carolina pecans, hot habaneros, and a splash of roasty porter from the Sweet Spot’s neighbors at Parkway Brewing. For the lazy pitmaster’s dessert: An entire grilled-up meal, meat-to-nuts, covered in chocolate.
Baconluxious Chocolate Bar // Chuao Chocolatier // Carlsbad, CA
South American chocolatiers transplanted to Southern California, these brothers marry the quality beans of their home country (Chuao is the world-class chocolate-growing region of Venezuela) to American tastes. By which we mean, simply, bacon. Or, more specifically (this is SoCal, after all, where nothing’s that simple): Bacon, smoked sea salt, and maple syrup. Oh yeah, and good, ethically sourced cocoa from the motherland.
Organic Apple Raisin Oatmeal // Farm To Table Foods // Brooklyn, NY
Some cereals tempt by excess: in a bowl of yogurt and honey, seeds and nuts, powders and fruits, chia-this and coconut-that, the granola is garnish at best. Here, grain reclaims the throne. But your bowl is far from boring: all-organic oats, rye, wheat, spelt, barley, and flax rattle and hum in farm-grown glory. A dash of apples and raisins gives just enough natural sweetness; a topping of bacon turns granola into gold.
Pure Hickory Syrup // Hickoryworks // Trafalgar, IN
A Florida family staking a claim in the Indiana wilderness stumbled onto this here old-school syrup on the advice of a wood-gathering neighbor. Turns out, they were homesteading the motherlode: a forest of shagbark hickory. Hand-harvested bark, soaked, distilled, sweetened, and aged, becomes a sugary sauce with a spiced-up kick (imagine the tang of hickory smoke, flavorized). That means it holds up better than other woody syrups in richer, creamier contexts — such as, say, a bacon-bedecked bowl of oatmeal.
Smoked Pepper Bacon // Broadbent’s Hams // Kuttawa, KY
Made with a hundred-year old recipe so simple it can’t be much of a secret, Broadbent’s famous bacon is rubbed full of cracked pepper, dry cured, and hickory smoked for an extra campfire touch. On the trail, a humble skilletful is a feast for a king, but at home your options grow. Why channel any old royal when you can summon the King himself? Nut-buttered bread, sliced banana, bacon (and more bacon), fried until gooey. Cue the campfire sing-a-long.
Country Ham // Father’s Country Ham // Bremen, KY
Stop for breakfast south of the Mason Dixon and you’ll find no fancy pour-overs, sizzling moka pots, or frou-frou latte art — it’s coffee, black, and country ham, hot. Bremen’s has made their dry-cured southern-style prosciutto the same way since 1840. They like theirs soaked in red eye gravy: browned bacon bits simmered in a half mug of joe and splash of water. Serve with biscuits made for sopping, and hold the ‘spro.
Pork Clouds // Bacon’s Heir // Atlanta, GA
You say your beloved underdogs will win when pigs fly? Get ready for liftoff. These are the fluffiest, crunchiest *chicarrones* we’ve ever seen — the porky puffs practically float on air. The Georgian maker’s method is a Wonka-like secret, but involves kettle-cooking hand-seasoned salt-cured pig skin in good-for-you virgin olive oil — no goopy, deep-fat fryers here. So even if your team stays grounded, you can gorge away your suffering guilt-free. There’s always next game.
Bacon Spread // Skillet Street Food // Seattle, WA
Bring home the best of Seattle chef Josh Henderson’s Airstream lunch cart. This scrumptious spread produced epic sandwiches, blocks-long lines, and turned a little truck into an empire — now it’ll revolutionize your mid-morning snack. Spreadable bacon? Goes with anything, naturally. But our favorite use is as the smoky-sweet bedrock to a smashed avocado on toast. Just make sure to pop the jar in the microwave for a few seconds before assembly, to make for easier spreading.
Maplewood Smoked Bacon // Broadbent’s // Kuttawa, KY
Broadbent’s century-old masters of Kentucky-style country ham — that’s salt-cured, aged, and lightly smoked, Yankee boy — obviously know a thing or two about good bacon. These salty, smoky, sweetly spiced slices, hand-rubbed with Broadbent’s secret dry cure, aren’t as show-stopping as a traditional hog leg centerpiece, but make for more manageable munchies, especially post-feast. Add to your turkey sandwich, and use the good-as-gold grease to caramelize some leftover Brussels sprouts.
Herb Pancetta // Aux Délices des Bois // New York, NY
If a little bacon makes any dish a five-star meal, French bacon turns it downright Michelin-approved. This unsmoked, read-to-eat pancetta is salty, fatty, and perfumed with thyme and rosemary — perfect for mixing into soups and sauces, or adding some Parisian swagger to your burgers and BLTs.
Vosges Haut Chocolate // Mo’s Uncured Bacon Caramel Toffee // Chicago, IL
Ask any top pastry chef in the country what the secret to elevating good chocolate is and they’ll most likely say salt. Which explains why Katrina Markoff isn’t just another hack pandering to the bacon craze sweeping the country after all. The graduate of Le Cordon Bleu Paris offers refuge from gutless chocolate to craft what can described as a baconized Skor bar, melty, crunchy, salty, meaty. The only thing that rivals devouring this bar straight up is crumbling it over ice cream with red head peanut brittle and crispy Broadbent’s to complete a Sundae fit for bacon folklore.
The Redhead // Bacon Peanut Brittle // New York, NY
Red hair occurs naturally on approximately 1–2% of the human population. So we can be almost certain that Louisiana native Meg Grace is the only redhead making Bacon Peanut Brittle, but we’re dead certain it’s the best around. Owner of, well, The Redhead, an East village watering hole serving up southern comfort food, Meg’s bar snack reached cult status and she began bagging it up a couple years back. Peanuts, natural cured bacon, cayenne, maple syrup, thyme. Planters? you’ve had a good run.
Stu’s Kitchen // Stu’s Bloody Mary // Chicago, IL
Like most truly revolutionary ideas, Stu’s Bloody Mary Mix was conceived over a booze-infused brunch, where two college buddies decided to take a stand after yet another flavorless Bloody Mary. Luckily, Stu was a Cordon Bleu trained chef who sweated in the kitchen of Alinea (the 15th best restaurant in the world right now) and Rudi had sweated out enough Bloody Mary’s to spot a good one. With the help of Stu’s see how we gave the Bloody Mary the Bacon treatment complete with the overkill Bacon Salt Rim (mantry.com/recipes)
Empire Mayonnaise Co. // Bacon Mayo // Brooklyn, NY
Chefs, In-N-Out Burger, annoyingly good home cooks. Their burgers are great for two reasons: 1) Quality fresh ground beef (2) A secret sauce. Empire Bacon Mayo, could be the Morgan Freeman of burger condiments, subtly and artfully upgrading a collection of ingredients from good to great by being deceptively good in the supporting role. Chef Sam Mason and designer Elizabeth Valleau emulsified to give mayo the royal treatment using non-GMO oils and local, pasture-raised eggs. Visit mantry.com/recipes to see how we took a run at a Bacon Burger sure to be a crowd pleaser.
Broadbent’s // Dry Cured Bacon // Kuttawa, KY
A still sunrise, a mug of strong coffee and the aroma of bacon crisping in cast iron might as well be an American pastime and Broadbent’s has been woven into many such moments since starting out in 1909. The proof is in the pork, with over 14 Kentucky State Fair Championships including a Grand Champion Ham that was auctioned off to charity for 1.6 million in 2010. Unlike traditional bacon, Broadbent’s is dry-cured the old-fashioned way with every slab of pork belly being hand rubbed with a special cure. The result is a bacon salty in nature that plays perfectly layered between gooey brie, pear and spiced beer jelly on crusty bread.
Ovenly Bacon Caramel Corn // Brooklyn, NY
Smoky bacon from the pasture-raised hogs of award-winning Benton’s Country Hams is tossed with organic popcorn and smothered in a Brooklyn Brewery Pennant Ale caramel. The greatest thing in caramel corn since the worst thing, Cracker Jack last year debuting their caffeinated popcorn aptly named “Cracker Jack’d”.
Birch Syrup Caramel // Kahiltna Birchworks // Palmer, Alaska
In some Birch Syrup equivalent of Hall and Oates the duo Dulce and Michael East have been cranking out smooth, silky goodness for over 23 years. This stuff is rare. Of the 3000 gallons of syrup being slanged worldwide, Kahiltna Birchworks accounts for half. This is probably because trees have to be hand-tapped in the freezing wilderness and it takes 100 gallons of evaporated sap to produce 1 gallon of syrup. Spoon some warm over coffee ice cream with a sprinkle of Alderwood salt and you too will be makin’ dreams come true.
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