For some it’s caviar, lobster, truffles, foie gras, filet mignon or oysters. For others, they seek out the perfect hot dog, taco, slice of pizza or burger. Then there are those with an undying sweet tooth. But bacon is topped on oysters, burgers and donuts alike. This meat of the gods comes delightfully crispy thin or devilishly melt-in-your-mouth thick. Whether in strips, slabs or bits and whether smoked, fried, candied or infused, bacon is beloved, there’s no doubt.
“Bacon makes everything better,” is a saying emblazoned across t-shirts, hats and placards — as if this sumptuous meat can cure much more than an empty stomach. And bacon lovers would argue that it can. It is perhaps the ultimate soul food. So, bacon lovers rejoice! We are celebrating this culinary star with the best bacon dishes of Birmingham. Get ready for a mouth-watering read!
The Best Bacon Dishes of Birmingham
Great Balls of Fire, $8.49
Be forewarned: Once you try this decadent dish, there is no turning back. Paramount’s Great Balls of Fire appetizer is composed of crispy, fried risotto balls with bacon, cheddar, jalapeños and scallions, served with homemade ranch. “Think jalapeño popper meets arancini,” says Ben Smith, a partner at Paramount. “Arancini are Italian stuffed rice balls which are coated with breadcrumbs and then deep-fried. They are usually filled with ragù, mozzarella and peas. A number of regional variants exist which differ in fillings and shape.” The only difference here? The fabulous Southern American twist!
Diablo Frito, $7
Little Savannah in the heart of Forest Park does a traditional deviled egg, but then they crank things up a notch with their Diablo Frito — a fried deviled egg topped with bacon. “I love how the crispy bacon and fried egg white adds texture to a classic canapé,” says Chef Clif Holt. “It’s bacon and deviled egg at its finest!”
Maple Bacon Donut, $1.25
“I love the sweetness of the maple glaze combined with the saltiness of the bacon,” says Kimberly Beiersdoerfer of The Heavenly Donut Co. “It’s like eating pancakes and bacon!” We don’t doubt for a minute that this sweet-and-savory donut is easy to inhale. One Heavenly Donut Co. customer attests, “Their Maple Bacon donut is to-die-for. I saw somewhere that they were hiring … I would apply, but I’d eat my earnings in maple bacon donuts!”
The Carlos Santana, $13
The Carlos Santana sandwich is based on the Chivito, a favorite sandwich of Uruguay that includes some combination of steak, ham, pancetta or bacon, along with egg, white cheese, good bread and vegetables. Chef Josh Patrick, one of the brains behind I Love Bacon, was inspired by the ubiquitous Uruguayan sandwich and created the Carlos Santana — flank steak, bacon, black forest ham, sunny-side-up egg, Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, smoked mayo and butter pickles on a brioche bun. It is now their best seller!
Diablo Dog, $6
This tasty hot dog comes with jalapeño, bacon, melty cheese and crispy tortilla strips. Hot Diggity Dog Owner Paget Pizitz explains where this savory and spicy dog came from. “Our Chef Tom Bagby was inspired to make the Diablo Dog out of a yearning for the time when Titans roamed the Earth showering mortals with smoke, salt and heat.” Taste the Diablo Dog, and you’ll understand.
Breakfast Crumble, $10
This breakfast bowl is so tasty, it will keep you coming back to Big Bad Breakfast for more. A base of creamy grits is topped with crumbled house-made buttermilk biscuits and generous dollops of tomato gravy, topped with crumbled Big Bad Bacon, poached eggs and green onions. Savor the winning flavor combination as is, or sprinkle some of your favorite breakfast hot sauce over it and delight in a new day begun with culinary perfection. “This is my on-the-go breakfast favorite — simple and satisfying,” says James Beard Award-winning Chef John Currence.
‘Sweet Potato Blue’ Chips & Dip, $9
This is Mudtown Eat & Drink former Chef Obie’s unique — and popular — blue cheese and bacon cheese dip served with hot, freshly sliced homemade sweet potato chips. “This one-of-a-kind flavor will be a new favorite,” says David Horn, owner and chef of Mudtown. “We have heard so many folks say they are shocked at how much they love this dish, because they don’t normally like blue cheese. It’s just that good.”
Oyster Rock n’ Roll, $11
This delicious sushi roll takes the delectable sushi vessel and infuses it with a Southern spin. “It is a Southern-style sushi roll containing fried oysters, bacon, spinach, cream cheese, asparagus and jalapeño,” says Chef George Reis. “The roll itself is fried then served with cilantro-sambal aioli.” Yum.
Fancy Bacon, $11.50
This dish is for the die-hard pork lover. John’s City Diner’s Fancy Bacon is slow-braised Fudge Farms pork belly in a bourbon-maple glaze, served over roasted corn grits. “Come get some,” says Chef Shannon Gober. “We even offer our Fancy Bacon at half price in the bar from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday during our Get Some Happy Hour,” says Chef Shannon Gober.
Crispy Chicken Sandwich, $14
Roots & Revelry’s Crispy Chicken Sandwich includes Joyce Farms chicken, candied applewood-smoked bacon, sambal and arugula, served with garlic fries. “This sandwich has everything — sweet, spicy, salty, peppery, hot, cold, crunchy,” says Chef Brandon Cain. “It’s heaven on a homemade bun!”
Oysters Avondale, $12
If you love those briny bicuspids and bacon, head to Fancy’s on 5th for a half-dozen oysters, topped with bacon, spinach and Parmesan cheese and baked to perfection. This is the hip eatery’s take on Oysters Rockefeller, but, co-owner Paget Pizitz says, “Chef Joey Dickerson added some fancy flair.”
Jalapeño Popper Show-Stopper, $14
Want some bacon and burger with your jalapeño? This half-pound beef burger is served with jalapeño-infused cream cheese, jalapeño bacon, fried jalapeños, jalapeño citrus aioli, lettuce, tomato and fresh-sliced jalapeños on a brioche bun. Yowsas! “Heat lovers crave the Jalapeño Popper Show-Stopper,” says Gwen Poth of Cowfish. “It’s a half-pound of all natural, hormone-free beef and jalapeños served up five different ways including jalapeño bacon.”
SoHo Queso, $8
SoHo Social in the heart of downtown Homewood has a queso with a kick! The SoHo Queso is a bacon-laced jalapeño — or green chile — gorgonzola cheese dip with choice of tater tots, sweet potato fries, housemade chips or a giant soft pretzel. SoHo Social Co-owner David Horn puts it simply, “Who doesn’t like dipping stuff in cheese?” Hear, hear!
B’ham Bloody Mary, $9
This savory yet refreshing classic Bloody Mary includes Tito’s handmade vodka served with pickled okra and bacon. “The B’ham Bloody Mary is our favorite drink because it’s a drink and a snack! Bacon? YES. Pickled okra? YES. Want it spicy? We can make it as hot as you want,” says Paget Pizitz co-owner of MELT. “It’s the perfect drink for our style of modern comfort food.”
Cheese Fries, $8.50
An oldie, but a goodie — what can be better than fries topped with cheese and bacon? Mafiaoza’s version includes a trio of melty cheeses. Hand-cut steak fries are topped with mozzarella, provolone and cheddar, then piled high with bacon! Nom, nom, nom …
See? Bacon does make everything better! Now, go EAT!