Caramelize Bacon With Hot Honey For An Out-Of-This-World BLT

The BLT is arguably one of the best sandwiches ever conceived. It boasts a perfect layering of colors and textures: crisp lettuce, crunchy bacon, juicy tomato, and springy bread. The combination of salt and umami from the bacon is balanced by the tart, sweet, and ripe tomatoes, all tied together with the richness of mayonnaise. As a bonus, it's easy to make at home, with no complicated slicing, braising, or grilling required. 

While you might think improving on a classic is impossible, Tasting Table recipe developer Michelle McGlinn poses an easy upgrade in this BLT sandwich recipe. A single ingredient brings a touch of sweet heat to your BLT with just one step: Brush the bacon with hot honey before you cook it!

Cooking bacon with this ingredient adds more than the flavors of honey and chilies. First, the oven's heat browns the honey, crisping the bacon fat and creating a caramelized crunch so good you might decide to make all your bacon this way. Then, the small amount of hot spice balances the richness of the bacon and wakes up your taste buds. In short, it's a perfect marriage.

Honey and spice make bacon twice as nice

Michelle McGlinn suggests making homemade hot honey by mixing cayenne pepper with your favorite honey to make our BLT recipe. This extra step allows you to customize the heat level or adjust the spice blend with your favorite dried chili powder if you don't have cayenne at home. Smoky hot paprika or Aleppo pepper make great substitutions and are tasty in a creative mix of spices.

Use thick-cut bacon for this recipe to get the crispiest results; thin bacon might burn before the honey can fully caramelize. When preparing your bacon, brush the hot honey directly onto each slice. If you don't have a brush handy, spoon it onto the bacon or spread it with your fingers or a knife. For best results, McGlinn recommends baking the coated bacon at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 to 20 minutes — or until it's the crispness you like. Then, layer the warm bacon onto your BLT and take a blissful bite of this crispy, sweet twist on an American classic.