Our Best Smoky, Sizzling Bacon Recipes | Midwest Living

Our Best Smoky, Sizzling Bacon Recipes

Savor the enticing scent and flavor of bacon in soups, salads, sandwiches and more.

Bacon and Baked Potato Soup

Bacon is versatile and dependable, amping up most dishes. Our cheesy potato soup, for instance, just seems to call for salty-smoky crumbled bacon. So we stirred some in and sprinkled the rest on top.

Bacon and Baked Potato Soup recipe

BLT Salad

Shad Kirton, award-winning chef and co-owner of Absolute Flavors Catering/Smokey D's BBQ in Des Moines, created this salad (left) based on the classic sandwich.

Bacon also stars in German Potato Salad. Tyson Wibbenmeyer at Stonie's Sausage Shop in Perryville, Missouri, brings home awards for his hickory-smoked bacon, which he adds to this dish.

BLT Salad recipe

German Potato Salad recipe

Starker's Bacon and Cheese-Curd Burger

Chef/owner John McClure of Starker's Restaurant, located at Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri, fills his behemoth burger (left) with sugared bacon and melting cheese curds from Shatto Milk Company.

Another chef-inspired main dish: Pan-Seared Trout with Tomatoes, Potatoes and Bacon. Chicago Chef Susan Goss thick-slices slab bacon for her trout recipe at West Town Tavern.

Starker's Bacon and Cheese-Curd Burger recipe

Pan-Seared Trout with Tomatoes, Potatoes and Bacon recipe

Bacon, Ham and Egg Hash

The Niman Ranch group turns to Iowa for much of its pork. Paul Willis runs the Niman Ranch Pork Company out of Thornton, Iowa. This recipe, which calls for Niman Ranch Dry-Cured Applewood Smoked Ham or other cooked ham, comes from pork producers Monica and Randy Duffe of Wilton.

The Willis family, meanwhile, contributed a recipe for a classic pairing of collard greens and bacon.

Bacon, Ham and Egg Hash recipe

Collard Greens with Bacon recipe

Willis Family Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp

Peel and devein 1 pound of large fresh shrimp in shells (about 16), leaving tails intact. Rinse; pat dry. Using 8 slices of Niman Ranch Bacon or other bacon (halved crosswise), wrap each shrimp in a piece of bacon, securing with a wood toothpick (neck to tail in a half-moon). To grill, place shrimp on lightly greased rack of uncovered grill over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes, or until bacon is crisp and shrimp turn opaque, turning once. (For gas grill, cover and grill as directed.) If you like, serve with your favorite barbecue sauce. Makes 16.

Bacon-Stuffed Mushrooms

Known for smoked meats, the Nueske family of Nueske's Applewood Smoked Meats in Wittenberg, Wisconsin, shared this never-fail recipe. "If your kids have always despised mushrooms, here's your solution," Tanya Nueske says.

Like your bacon bite-size? Then you should also enjoy Bacon and Mushroom Bite-Size Quiches, a recipe from Carma Rogers at the National Pork Board in Des Moines. You can make these little quiches a day ahead and reheat them at serving time.

Bacon-Stuffed Mushrooms recipe

Bacon and Mushroom Bite-Size Quiches recipe

Easy bacon sandwiches

Clockwise, from top left:
On a flour tortilla, combine scrambled eggs, pico de gallo or salsa, pepper Jack cheese and chopped bacon. Serve it rolled up or open face.
Rye bread gets topped with Dijon-style mustard, bacon slices, Granny Smith apple slices and Brie.
On sliced wheat bread, layer Canadian bacon, coleslaw, pickles and barbecue sauce.
Top a toasted English muffin with peanut butter, bacon, banana slices and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
Party pumpernickel bread gets a topping of sliced pear (brushed with lemon juice), blue cheese crumbles, bacon and honey.
Toasted white bread meets sliced roasted turkey, bacon strips, avocado and fresh ground pepper.

Bacon-Wrapped Bison Ribeyes

This bison specialty is a popular choice at Fire Lake Grill House and Cocktail Bar in downtown Minneapolis. Bison meat is redder than its beef counterpart, with a flavor similar to lean beef. You can use beef tenderloin if you prefer.

Bacon-Wrapped Bison Ribeyes recipe

Lumberjack Falls Skillet

The irresistible combination of Cajun andouille sausage and bacon bumps up the flavor of this home-style breakfast dish. A cast-iron skillet browns it best.

Lumberjack Falls Skillet

Wilted Spinach Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing

Here's a delicious take on a classic side-dish salad from Cheli's Chili Bar in Dearborn, Michigan.

Wilted Spinach Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing

Stuffed Beef Tenderloin Filet

Cheese, bacon and mushrooms create a mouthwatering beef main dish from White Gull Inn in Fish Creek, Wisconsin.

Stuffed Beef Tenderloin Filet

Sunny Broccoli Salad

A Cleveland reader makes this salad a day ahead and refrigerates the dressing and vegetables separately. When it's time to serve it, she tosses everything together. Bacon, sunflower kernels and raisins make a crunchy and flavorful side dish.

Sunny Broccoli Salad

Chipotle Smashed Potatoes

This is the ultimate feel-good dish: mashed potatoes with bacon! Cream cheese adds extra richness; chipotle chile brings a subtle smoky flavor.

Chipotle Smashed Potatoes

Savory Beef Stew

This steaming stew features hearty chunks of pot roast and a colorful combination of vegetables, all flavored with bacon. Serve alone or over mashed potatoes, noodles or biscuits.

Savory Beef Stew

Sweet-Sour Beans

German-style bacon-flavored beans complement beef or pork. The recipe comes from a Sheboygan, Wisconsin, reader.

Sweet-Sour Beans

Calico Potatoes

Not sure what to do with your bacon drippings? Use them in this recipe, where they'll combine with sizzling onions to give the two-potato side dish an irresistible aroma and flavor.

Calico Potatoes

Baked Beans 'n' Bacon

Bacon and brown sugar punch up the salty-sweet flavors in this canned pork and beans fix-up from South Dakota's Triangle Ranch Bed and Breakfast. For a candied top, leave Baked Beans 'n' Bacon uncovered in the oven.

Baked Beans 'n' Bacon

Browned Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Feta

Give Brussels sprouts a fresh taste with this colorful side dish flavored with bacon and feta. The trick to preserving the sprouts' mild taste is to avoid overcooking. 

Browned Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Feta


Cooking bacon

Follow package directions for stove-top cooking, starting with an unheated pan over medium heat or:
In the oven: Place slices side by side on a rack in a shallow-sided baking pan. Bake in 400° oven for 15 to 18 minutes, or until crisp. Drippings fall below the rack in this no-watch method.
In microwave: Cut down on splattering by placing slices on a microwave-safe rack or a plate lined with microwave-safe paper towels. Microwave on high (2-3 minutes for 2 slices, 3-4 1/2 minutes for 4, and 4-5 minutes for 6 slices), rearranging bacon once.

Bacon 101

Most bacon results from a mix of brining, wet- or dry-curing and some form of smoking. Different twists on this process alter the taste.
Pancetta This Italian bacon (left), used to flavor sauces and pasta dishes, is cured but not smoked.
Dry-cured bacon Because it contains less water, this type shrinks less during cooking and produces less popping grease in the skillet.
Flavored bacon Maple syrup, brown sugar, honey, pepper and more complement bacon's saltiness. Smoking with woods such as apple or hickory creates subtle distinctions, too. But take note of labels promising things such as "hickory flavor." This isn't true smoked bacon.
Canadian bacon A smoked meat more like ham than American bacon, it also produces less cooking shrinkage, resulting in more servings per pound.

(A version of this story appeared in Midwest Living® January/February 2009.)

Add Your Comment