The Meaty Ingredient Swap You Should Try For Your Next 'BLT'

So simple, yet so delicious — the BLT. Rarely do five ingredients come together to form such perfection. As a result, the sandwich has been a diner and dinner table staple for decades, according to Taste Atlas, which reports that the BLT first appeared in British cookbooks in the 1920s. 

It was about two decades later that the sandwich really caught on and began to move toward its reputation as a classic sandwich in the United States. With the dawn of the modern supermarket after World War II and the availability of ingredients year-round, Americans began to frequently make BLTs, according to George's Burgers. It was also an easy, satisfying sandwich for women to make for their families now that they were increasingly joining the workforce, both during the war and after. Traditionally, the BLT is just bacon, lettuce, and tomato, with mayonnaise on toasted bread. However, some people like to add an ingredient or two, such as avocado, per EatingWell.

But what always stays consistent is the bacon — until now.

Crunchy and savory bacon alternatives

A crispy protein alternative that keeps the essence of the BLT but gives it a new crunchy, savory taste is chicken skin. To get that perfectly crispy chin, America's Test Kitchen recommends using the skin removed from bone-in chicken breasts. Then, place it between cooking sheets for baking to get the desired texture. Chef Ilan Hall also adds crispy chicken skin to his BLT instead of bacon, but he has a different cooking method involving schmaltz (rendered chicken or goose fat), per Esquire. Called gribenes, this style of chicken skin is part of traditional Jewish cooking. Swapping out bacon for gribenes isn't something new in Jewish cooking, Hall notes. Crispy, fried chicken skin provides a similar feeling to bacon but is appropriate for a kosher diet.

If frying your chicken skins is the way you want to go versus baking them, Food Renegade recommends using tallow or lard, or any fat that reacts well to heat. When picking out the skins to fry, Eat the Love recommends using pieces from the chicken thigh or breast because they tend to be the best with which to work. If you buy chicken to cook, Eat the Love recommends removing the skins, placing them in a freezer bag, and cooking them when you have a pound. Next time you want to wow your family or just your own taste buds, swap out the bacon in your BLT with some crunchy chicken skins.