There’s never enough B in my BLT, but the problem isn’t solved by simply adding more bacon. It’s the size, thickness, and shape. The bacon strips are thin and insubstantial; they never quite scratch that chunky, meat patty itch. Luckily, this is a problem that can be solved with a waffle iron and a plan.
Weave or twist the bacon
Table of Contents
The trick to making a good bacon patty is making it thick enough so the meat can be more of a presence in your sandwich, but without making it so thick that it doesn’t cook well in the center. The best way to do this is to wrap or weave your meat in some fashion, like a basket weave, or start with the TikTok twisty bacon. I found the twist method to be easier, but the basket weave works if you’re patient enough.
To basket weave your bacon, lay four pieces side by side, then weave the other four pieces alternating over and under the first four to make a square. I had wide strips of bacon so I cut my strips in half lengthwise, and again widthwise to make a smaller, tighter square. You can adjust the size, and how many rows and columns you need to best fit your sandwich bread. Keep in mind that the bacon will shrink, so make the woven slab about an inch larger than the bread.
To make a spiral patty, use the TikTok twist to start, and then spiral it. I used four strips of bacon in total. Start twisting the bacon until the whole strip looks like a meat candy cane. Pick one end to be the center and start wrapping the rest of the twisted bacon around the center to make a round patty. Tuck the end of that piece and the end of the new piece underneath, and continue winding the next twisted piece around. Use as many pieces of bacon as you need until you have a spiral patty about an inch wider than your bread.
These are just two ways to make your bacon into a patty, but you can get creative and use different shapes. The goal is to make a slab of bacon that’s thicker and more cohesive than the normal single bacon strip BLT approach. Try a long braid that you spiral around like the twisted bacon patty, or something even more intricate. I’d love to see a houndstooth bacon patty if such is possible.
Waffle your bacon
Regardless of your chosen pattern, the meat must enter the loving embrace of the waffle iron. This step is of the utmost importance. Once the woven or twisted meat starts cooking, it will shrink and try to undo itself. The waffle iron is the best tool in your kitchen to keep this from happening. The two plates cook at high heat and make direct contact with both sides of the patty, which presses the strands firmly together and prevents unraveling, and the grooves of the waffle iron provide outlets for the rendering fat to run off, creating a crispy, well-cooked finish. It’s also lightning fast.
Once your waffle iron has preheated, use a pair of tongs to place the raw bacon patty into the center of the waffle iron. You may need to carefully scooch the patty off of the tongs and onto the iron. Close the lid and gently press down for the first couple minutes of cooking. The meat will steam vigorously while the water evaporates. (Use a kitchen towel to protect your hand.) After about five minutes, there will be significantly less steam. Check on the bacon. If you like it crispier, continue cooking for another five minutes, peeking in on it occasionally. When you’re satisfied, use the tongs to lift the patty out. Dab it on a paper towel and cool on a wire rack.
Waffle your bacon with confidence:
I did a bacon patty test in the conventional oven too, and while the basket weave stayed put, the twisted patty completely unraveled and both were pretty chewy. The rendering fat didn’t have many exit points out of the patty, so the middle and top side never really got crispy. I’m not a huge fan of “flabby” bacon, I’m in the crispy-chewy camp, so oven baking doesn’t cut it. If you don’t have a waffle iron (you should consider buying one; they’re a lot of fun), you could still do this in the oven, just bake it on a wire rack so the fat can drip off. The basket weave will work as-is, and the twisted spiral will need a couple toothpicks poked horizontally through the strands to hold the shape. Bake at 350°F for 20-30 minutes.
Cool the bacon patty completely before nestling it amongst its old friends lettuce, tomato, and mayo. Sandwich it between a couple slices of white bread and you’ve got a new-school BLT that finally makes bacon the salty, meaty focal point it deserves to be.