July 9th, 2014
11:45 AM ET
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(Travel + Leisure) Talk about pigs: Americans ate 1.1 billion bacon servings during the 12-month period ending April 2014, about 6 percent more than the previous year, according to market research firm the NPD Group.

We’re not just eating more bacon, we’re also making better bacon (consider the proliferation of artisanal bacons and chefs curing their own bacon in house) and finding creative ways to enjoy it. There’s bacon butter, bacon soda, bacon-infused booze, and bacon ice cream, to name a few inspired iterations.

New York’s BarBacon is entirely devoted to porky provisions, especially the country’s best bacons, which can be paired with flights of craft beer or bourbon. You can get your bacon to go, as at Bacon Bacon, a popular food truck that roams the San Francisco Bay Area delivering bacon-fried chicken, bacon burgers, and bacon, belly, and butt tacos.

There are dedicated bacon brunches and bacon happy hours, and even a bacon challenge. At Paddy Long’s in Chicago, many have tried (and most have failed) to consume the famous five-pound bacon-wrapped bomb in 45 minutes or less.

Eating bacon doesn’t have to be a sport though. Bacon goes haute at Nashville’s Bound’ry, where it is dehydrated, pulverized, and used as a faux breadcrumb for a fried tomato salad. And it joins forces with another, if improbable, food trend—toast—when paired with puréed peas, mint, and olive oil at Vernick Food & Drink in Philadelphia.

In short, if you’ve thought of a way to consume bacon, we guarantee you someone else has, too. Here, an ode to America’s bacon mania.

All-Bacon Meal: Sage General Store — Queens, New York
Bacon is always on the menu at this new American café in Long Island City, but diehards show up for the three-course bacon brunch. It kicks off with a trio of bacons: Nueske’s applewood-smoked bacon, Dewig’s slab bacon, and Ham I Am! peppered bacon. Diners have their choice of mains like grilled bacon-and-cheese, mac-and-cheese-and-bacon casserole, and Wisconsin breakfast pizza with caramelized onions, ricotta cheese, crème fraîche, and (naturally) bacon. A sweet-and-savory bacon brownie finishes the meal off.

Bacon Happy Hour: Bad Decisions — Baltimore, Maryland
Chef-owner John Reusing describes hisFells Point spot as a bar with a bacon addiction. The low-key neighborhood joint is known for its monthly bacon nights, when offerings might include bacon-wrapped Vidalia onions with bacon onion dip, baconsatays, and bacon Bloody Marys. Even the non-bacon drinks are quirky; the Bee Sting is mixed with mead and cider.

Bacon on Wheels: Bacon Bacon — San Francisco, California
This food truck doles out bacon-accented comfort foods like bacon burgers; bacon fried chicken; and bacon, belly, and butt tacos, plus sweet treats like chocolate-covered bacon and bacon caramel corn. No wonder its Bay Area–wide reach stretches as far north as Larkspur and as far south as Sunnyvale.

Bacon Challenge: Paddy Long’s — Chicago, Illinois
Five pounds of ground sausage, pork, and beef wrapped in brown sugar bacon and slow cooked, the bomb is intended to serve a table of six to eight—unless you’re after bragging rights. If you can eat the entire thing in 45 minutes or less, the glory of aPaddy Long’s T-shirt, a place on the wall of fame, and a free meal (the bomb) are yours. Warning: many (89) have tried; only six have succeeded.

Bacon Cocktail: Grange Restaurant & Bar, — Sacramento, California
Ryan Seng, the adventurous barman at the Citizen Hotel’s Grange, loves to get crafty with his seasonally driven cocktail menu. A crowd favorite? Tusk, a twist on a Boulevardier that pairs bacon-infused vermouth, Angostura bitters, and Buffalo Trace bourbon with a garnish of candied bacon.

Bacon-Wrapped Anything: The Gorbals — Los Angeles
There’s something so wrong and yet so right about the bacon-wrapped matzoh balls (also made with rendered bacon fat instead of vegetable oil) at Ilan Hall’s restaurant in downtown L.A. The menu, inspired by theTop Chef winner’s Scottish-Jewish heritage, includes a variety of other cultural mash-ups, like latke and pork belly hash, gefilte fish and chips, and Manischewitz-braised pork belly.

Bacon Breakfast Sandwich: Mike & Patty’s — Boston, Massachusetts
In Boston’s Bay Village, Mike & Patty’squickly became a neighborhood institution after opening in 2008. A go-to for breakfast and sandwiches, the joint puts a California-style spin on the classic breakfast sandwich: thick-cut bacon, eggs, and cheddar with avocado, red onion, and spicy house mayo on multigrain bread.

Bacon Burger: Slows Bar B Q — Detroit, Michigan
This Corktown destination does just about everything well, from paprika-and-ancho-chile-rubbed baby back ribs to cheddar-smothered chili cheese fries and gooey mac-and-cheese. Its patty-melt-style burger, served on white toast, with smoked Gouda, house-made barbecue sauce, onions, and thick-cut bacon, is no exception.

Bacon Dessert: Charbar Co. — Hilton Head, South Carolina
The most typical bacon pairing when it comes to dessert is chocolate—and the Smokey Bacon Bourbon Pie at this upscale burger joint has that in the form of an Oreo piecrust and a chocolate drizzle. But this souped-up ice cream pie also throws in plenty of other adult pleasures: Buffalo Trace bourbon, a shot of espresso, roasted pecans, and Benton’s bacon all blended with vanilla ice cream. First introduced as a special in spring 2013, the sweet-salty treat is now a menu mainstay.

Haute Bacon: Vernick Food & Drink — Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
At his eponymous restaurant near Rittenhouse Square, chef Greg Vernick has an entire section of the menu dedicated to toast. “It’s a blank canvas to come up with really cool toppings,” he says, among them, peas and bacon—specifically puréed peas with mint and butter smeared on sourdough, topped with house-made bacon, and finished with fresh chopped mint and olive oil.

Bacon-Centric Restaurant: BarBacon - New York City
This Hell’s Kitchen newcomer has abattoir-cool décor (exposed brick and concrete, butcher-paper menus) and an intensely porky menu that highlights the best bacons from all over the country. The best way to start: the beer and bacon flight, which pairs four types of artisanal bacon with four five-ounce pours of craft beer. Next up? Montauk corn, lobster, and bacon chowder.

Get the rest of the list at Travel + Leisure: The Ultimate Bacon Guide

More From Travel + Leisure:
America's Best Cities for Barbecue 

Vote for America's Favorite Places 
25 Ideas for Your Best Summer Ever 

Previously:
A history of bacon fixation
How to make a bacon pig

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Filed under: 100 Places to Eat • Bacon • Meat • Restaurants • Travel


soundoff (71 Responses)
  1. Country Girl

    Make your own bacon, it is really quite easy!
    We'll show you how in our newest campaign to feed the hungry. According to UN's Food and Agriculture Organization, 842 million people around the world are malnourished. 842 million people – not enough food, going to bed hungry, can't remember their last meal. We're using BACON as a way to help a charity feed some of them. Please share this to your Facebook page or any other social network you frequent.
    Time is running out...for this campaign and for many of the world's hungry. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/recipe/for-the-love-of-bacon-0

    July 22, 2014 at 1:54 pm |
  2. velanimial

    Reblogged this on Velani Mial and commented:
    As a fellow bacon lover heading to America early next year, this post makes my mouth water.

    July 14, 2014 at 10:41 pm |
  3. SB

    You re missing Comet in Milwaukee!!!

    July 14, 2014 at 6:19 pm |
  4. Jim37015

    Not much bacon flying off the shelves now since the prices are at a all time high along with beef. Unless your paying extra for that slice of bacon and it doesn't matter of price.

    July 11, 2014 at 9:38 pm |
  5. gstlab3

    I know what kind of bacon I smell!!!!

    oink oink pig!!

    yup pips are everywhere.

    CNN is full of communist pigs!!!
    Ha Ha oink oink pig!

    July 10, 2014 at 1:18 am |
  6. David D.

    I was excited to see the Bacon|Bacon truck at Off the Grid in San Francisco, but when I looked at the menu EVERYTHING had hot peppers and garlic. Why? I ordered the french fries topped with pork shoulder and bacon with NO HOT PEPPERS and tried to eat it. Nope, the couldn't even leave that alone. They put Jalapeno's in the Pork shoulder when cooking it.

    Why does everything have to light my mouth on fire? They make chemical weapons out of hot peppers, yet if you ask for something that doesn't burn you, they look at you like you've insulted the pope. And garlic on/in everything? It smells like A$s and I don't wan to smell like garlic everywhere I go. Everything these days has one or two offensive things in it – geez they have garlic ice cream ferchristsake....

    July 10, 2014 at 1:09 am |
    • Carn E. Vore

      It's such a shame that it's the only option in your entire city where you can eat.

      July 10, 2014 at 5:24 pm |
  7. Scott

    Sorry. I have been addicted to bacon for many, many years, and the best place for bacon is baconfreak.com
    You have to try their candied bacon bits. There bacon is air cured, so there is no shrinking when cooked, unlike store bacon that is cured in water.

    July 9, 2014 at 11:52 pm |
  8. John Wesselius

    The best bacon is from Berkshire pigs. It's shame people get excited about the smoke, the seasonings but few people think about where the cut of meat came from , the animal's living conditions, feed or breed could impact flavor.

    July 9, 2014 at 11:06 pm |
    • VladT

      I'm sorry, but, say, when I open a can of tuna, I do not stop what I'm doing so that my mind can envision the mighty Tuna swimming freely, then being caught by fisherman, sent to a cannery, then my market, then my cupboard, etc.

      Do you seriously do that before you eat each meal? Do you even eat?

      July 10, 2014 at 3:44 am |
  9. heyheyheyy

    while reading the article i felt my arteries clogging up. no one can resist the smell and taste of bacon.yummmmmmmm

    July 9, 2014 at 11:00 pm |
  10. Vincent Vega

    Best Invention of all time...
    It might just be the Bacon Bowl

    July 9, 2014 at 10:39 pm |
  11. Baconator

    1.1 Billion servings in 1 year for a nation of 300+ million. Doesn't make sense to me. Someone's math is off.

    July 9, 2014 at 10:11 pm |
    • heyheyheyy

      my guess is 1.1 billion lbs

      July 9, 2014 at 10:58 pm |
  12. Devo

    My grandpa use to feed our pigs corn on the cob,coffee grounds,eggshells and buttermilk from the creamery in Manning, Iowa. You won't be able to get that amazing bacon ever. He died at the age of 87. Happy.

    July 9, 2014 at 9:14 pm |
  13. WasteNot

    You guys make me sick, Have you seen the conditions these animals are raised in? There is another eatocracy blog from a week ago that talks about it. Pigs are really smart animals, smarted than dogs or cats. Yet we force them to live in the most horrid conditions. DOn't support the pork industry!

    July 9, 2014 at 8:44 pm |
    • Vincent Vega

      But Pork tastes good, bacon tastes good, pork chops taste good....yummm

      July 9, 2014 at 10:38 pm |
    • VladT

      If they're so smart, why aren't they rich? :)

      July 10, 2014 at 3:42 am |
      • WasteNot

        They are rich in ways humans can't imagine. They live such a simple life with no wrong desires. You forget the four noble truths of the Buddha: Existence is suffering, the cause of suffering is desire (in this case your desire to eat bacon), the is a way to end this suffering, the eightfold path is that way.

        July 10, 2014 at 8:29 pm |
        • VladT

          Edward Nygma would disagree

          July 11, 2014 at 4:03 am |
  14. Gregory Brose

    These coastal writers are something else. They need to try Nueske's bacon. Wittenberg, WI.

    July 9, 2014 at 6:53 pm |
    • r4v3nsoul

      Neuske's hands down bets bacon around.

      July 9, 2014 at 7:27 pm |
    • Tom

      So, Im wondering if the person who wrote this article have any knowledge of American culture. The midwest is where the German population is, and Nueske's is by far the best in the world, in fact, my wife is making it for dinner right now!!

      July 9, 2014 at 7:39 pm |
    • Louise

      You are correct. Spent most of my childhood in Wittenberg and knew the Nueskes...nice people, and the bacon is soooo yummy!

      July 9, 2014 at 9:15 pm |
  15. rick

    "artisan" is an over-used, piece of garbage marketing word. Next, who in their right mind would want to eat something with the word "anal" in it.....direct quote from this article, "consider the proliferation of artisanal bacons"....ok, we get it, Art is Anal. Does that refer to a guy named Art, or, to art such as paintings, sculpture, music etc.? Enough Beavis & Butthead material.....just stop using that ridiculously annoying word, "artisan". Dunkin Donuts is using it, which is proof enough.

    July 9, 2014 at 5:39 pm |
  16. Bryan in Des Moines

    hahahahaha all of that bacon comes from Iowa and no one talks about Jethros bacon wrapped ribs? CNN you lose.

    July 9, 2014 at 5:36 pm |
  17. Tomdesh

    Chuck's Burger Bar in Hamilton, On. Ground bacon burger. That's right, a burger made of ground bacon. Heaven!

    July 9, 2014 at 5:22 pm |
  18. packfanaj12

    Really?! Iowa has about 3 million people in it, but has 30 million Hogs. More then double any other state.... but Iowa is not even mentioned. The article should be called... Best places I have tried bacon in America... because obviously you missed a few spots... Baconfestivle tickets here sell out in less a minute

    July 9, 2014 at 4:52 pm |
  19. Hippo

    Bad Decisions in Baltimore is a terrible place. I am a huge bacon lover and live in Baltimore, so believe me when I say the Bacon Happy hour at Bad Decisions is awful. My friends and I went to it one time and that was enough to never go back. It was super crowded and getting food and drinks took forever, we didnt care about that, it was a popular event, no big deal. What was a big deal is of the 10 or so dishes we ordered all but one of them literally had no bacon. Literally zero bacon. You probably think I mean there wasn't much bacon in the dishes, but I actually mean there was no bacon whatsoever in most of the dishes. The deviled eggs had bacon crumbles on top, that was it. The chicken Kiev that was supposed to be stuffed with bacon had no bacon. The bacon mac and cheese had no bacon. I can't remember exactly all the other dishes, but they had zero bacon. A couple of the baconless dishes tasted downright terrible regardless of their bacon content. The potato soup was literally the worst thing I have ever eaten in a restaurant. It looked like a pasty gruel. The brunswick stew was extremely bad as well, one of the most bland things I have ever eaten. My friends and I left, went to the grocery store, bought 7 pounds of bacon, and cooked up our own happy hour that night. I can not stress enough how terrible this place was. You might think I am exaggerating, but I promise I am not. Do not go to Bad Decisions.

    July 9, 2014 at 4:21 pm |
    • PoofterPansy

      You must be a patron of the Hippo, there's your problem.

      July 9, 2014 at 5:11 pm |
  20. SixDegrees

    Bacon has jumped the shark, and now resides firmly in the realm of wretched excess. Bacon is good. But it's gone the way of hot pepper sauce and ultra-hopped IPAs, and reached the point where much of it is inedible.

    Actually, it's nice to hear that total servings only reach ~1.1 billion per year – a bit less than three servings annually per person. Perhaps people are coming to their senses.

    July 9, 2014 at 4:09 pm |
  21. H, Charles

    What about Millionaire's bacon at Sweet Maple in San Francisco?

    July 9, 2014 at 3:29 pm |
  22. James

    I'm kind of disappointed in the article...I was expecting where to find the best bacon, not the best bacon dishes. Although I'm kind of partial to Benton's bacon out of Tennessee.

    July 9, 2014 at 3:27 pm |
    • matt

      Benton's out of Tennessee is my pick as well

      July 9, 2014 at 3:49 pm |
    • JB

      Amen. Cooked up a pound of Bentons in my kitchen with malfunctioning oven vent and the whole house smelled like heaven for a week.

      July 9, 2014 at 4:05 pm |
  23. Ricky Bobby

    Texas has 3 of the top 10 Bacon consuming markets in America...and your saying that they can't make bacon...You really shouldn't mess with Texas...hey..I could make a bumper sticke..........

    July 9, 2014 at 3:24 pm |
    • Carn E. Vore

      Texas is populated by sycophants and the products of incest. Patricia Tannis told me this.

      July 10, 2014 at 5:28 pm |
  24. sphynx550

    Revival Market bacon in Houston, TX is clearly the best

    July 9, 2014 at 3:19 pm |
    • Emeljay

      Thanks! I'm in Houston, a bacon-lovaaa, and will try Revival Market. Hadn't heard of it before.

      July 9, 2014 at 4:41 pm |
  25. mainiaxmeat

    bacon dusted french fries at Nosh Kitchen Bar in Portland, ME

    July 9, 2014 at 3:14 pm |
  26. Sara Lettengarver

    No Love for Minnesota Bacon?? Someone writing this article needs to hit Shish on Grand ave in St. Paul Minnesota for in-house made Lamb Bacon... You will never have pork bacon again!

    July 9, 2014 at 3:09 pm |
  27. Dover

    the 2X4's you get at Longhi's on Maui are the best I have had.

    July 9, 2014 at 2:37 pm |
  28. Kim

    You guys are missing the boat, big time...Wise Acre Eatery in Minneapolis has by far the best bacon anywhere..raised by their own Tangletown Farm...Come to Minneapolis and see if I'm not right.....

    July 9, 2014 at 2:34 pm |
    • Dover

      To make that claim, you would have had to try bacon at every single place that it was available. Which you haven't.

      July 9, 2014 at 2:39 pm |
      • Ricky Bobby

        So..does that mean the person who wrote this article has tasted every piece of Bacon in the USA?

        July 9, 2014 at 3:15 pm |
        • kerfluffle

          I think they just cut/pasted off of yelp.

          July 9, 2014 at 5:43 pm |
  29. kerfluffle

    Maple-cured, cob-smoked, made in Vermont.

    Best bacon out there for home-cooking.

    July 9, 2014 at 2:32 pm |
  30. Carolinamom

    What about the Bacon Maple Bar doughnut from Voodoo Doughnuts in Portland, OR?

    July 9, 2014 at 2:25 pm |
  31. TomGI

    slaters5050 . com

    July 9, 2014 at 2:17 pm |
  32. mordrud

    Kevin didn't even get an honorable mention?

    July 9, 2014 at 1:38 pm |
  33. Chris

    BaconFest is held in Des Moines every year. No love for the midwest???

    July 9, 2014 at 1:35 pm |
  34. Don

    There's a lot of nitrate free bacon out there. That's what my family eats. I love bacon but I don't understand the big deal about it lately. It's freakin' bacon. The stuff's been around for a long time.

    July 9, 2014 at 1:22 pm |
    • rlj

      Still tastes good.

      July 9, 2014 at 2:08 pm |
    • JP

      Hate to break it to you but that bacon probably isn't nitrite free. If one of the ingredients is celery juice – celery is just packed with natural nitrites. Without the nitrites, bacon would spoil in a matter of days (unless frozen).

      July 9, 2014 at 3:48 pm |
  35. Wes

    62 years of eating bacon..feel great..fast as ever..best I've tasted was at Watt's Grocery Restaurant Durham NC..I think they cure it on site and it's at least one quarter inch thick..a menu full of delicious food..

    July 9, 2014 at 1:19 pm |
  36. TS

    This list is funny! A 'best of' bacon list and not a single mention of a Midwestern state. Some of the top restaurants in those states have their pork shipped from here.

    July 9, 2014 at 1:09 pm |
  37. JWebs

    Anyone ever had Duck Bacon? I have. It's delicious!!!! I almost prefer it . . . almost.

    July 9, 2014 at 1:02 pm |
    • JB

      Oh. My. God. Someone brought duck bacon on a camping trip a few years ago and I've been craving some ever since.

      July 9, 2014 at 4:08 pm |
      • kerfluffle

        Prohibition Pig in Waterbury, VT has duck fat fries that are quite excellent. Their website gives the full story on this awesome place.

        July 9, 2014 at 5:46 pm |
  38. molly

    NItrates and nitrites in bacon will cause you lots of health problems.

    July 9, 2014 at 1:00 pm |
    • rlj

      You can get bacon without it.

      July 9, 2014 at 2:09 pm |
    • thenagman

      Not even close to being true. The original study that seemed to say that nitrate and nitrites were bad was discredited during peer review. It doesn't stop the misinformation from that study from propagating. Do you know where 90% of the nitrites you consume come from? They are in your own saliva, and act as natural microbial inhibitors. The amount in bacon is hundreds of times lower than your own saliva. Eat bacon, enjoy life, become informed, stop repeating bad information.

      July 9, 2014 at 2:23 pm |
    • Dover

      Worrying about every little thing in life is what is REALLY going to hurt you.

      July 9, 2014 at 2:36 pm |
    • Sam

      I'll take my chances.

      July 9, 2014 at 3:02 pm |
  39. gaylela

    you are what you eat.

    July 9, 2014 at 12:59 pm |
    • rlj

      In that case, there are a lot of worse things than bacon to eat.

      July 9, 2014 at 2:10 pm |
    • Dover

      Then I'm a p*ssy

      July 9, 2014 at 2:35 pm |
  40. will0219

    Without a doubt the best bacon I've ever had is at Silver Spoon restaurant in Wayne, PA!!

    July 9, 2014 at 12:24 pm |

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