Our Dreamiest BLT Doubles Down on the Bacon

June 28, 2018

If we learned anything from our mayonnaise taste test, it’s that people who don’t like mayonnaise, well, really don’t like mayonnaise. If it’s blended into a dressing or hidden in a cake, mabe you can fool ’em. But in a sandwich? Forget about it.

So what’s a BLT to do? This classic American sandwich is as pared down as it gets: Sliced bread, preferably toasted and smeared with mayo. Crispy bacon. Summeriest tomatoes. Crisp lettuce. That’s it.

Photo by Bobbi Lin

The mayo doesn’t make it into the acronym, but it plays a crucial role: It brings all the flavors together, like a team huddle. What, then, if you don’t like mayo? I started thinking about what this ingredient brings to the table. If you’ve ever made mayo before, it becomes pretty clear pretty quickly: fat. Mayo is mostly oil, which becomes emulsified, thick, and creamy thanks to egg yolks.

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The more I thought about this, the odder it seemed. Why does a BLT need more richness when it already has bacon? Why do we need to call in outside oil when we’re already rendering a bunch of fat? Why not use that bacon fat instead of mayo?!


This means we lose the creamy spread, but gain something else entirely: best-ever sandwich toast. After you crisp up the bacon (I prefer a cast-iron, but any large-enough skillet works), drizzle the rendered fat on the bread. Toast in the same pan until it’s golden brown, practically fried in the bacon fat.

You’ll want to eat this just as is and I don’t blame you.

But don’t! We have a sandwich to build. My strategy, from bottom up: bread, lettuce, bacon, tomato, bread. This way, the juicy tomato drips down the rest of the ingredients, like the vinegar to balance all the richness. But between us, it’s just a BLT, and whatever you do will be great.

How do you make a BLT? Share your do’s and don’t’s in the comments!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Smaug
  • Emily Hauer
    Emily Hauer
Emma is the food editor at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles on the fly, baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., and writing about the history of pie in North Carolina. Now she lives in New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter. Stay tuned every Tuesday for Emma's award-winning column, Big Little Recipes (also the cookbook in October 2021!). And see what she's up to on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.


Smaug June 28, 2018
Yes, I can guess the secret ingredient. It had to be either more fat or more salt, it always is, and who would put salt on bacon (please don't answer that). I absolutely loathe mayonnaise, but a BLT is perfectly fine without it; just make sure to use decent bread.
Emily H. July 27, 2018
As a hater of mayonnaise, I always put butter on my sandwiches, BLT's included.