It’s not sizzlean, it’s bacon, as in real bacon, that’s grilled and paired with grilled romaine lettuce and grilled heirloom tomatoes for the best BLT you’ll ever taste. That’s right, a grilled BLT sandwich. Smoky, crispy, tender, juice yeah it’s all that and then some.
Back in the day I used to work for Kraft Foods which owned Folger’s Coffee. I remember reading the archived ad copy that said “The best part about waking up, is Folgers in your cup” and thinking to myself, shiiiid it’s the smell of cooked bacon!
The Inspiration Behind a Grilled BLT Sandwich
About three years ago during our bi-annual trip to Rotterdam, Netherlands for the North Sea Jazz Festival, me and my guy visited this outside bar right on the banks of river. They made great bacon burgers. While standing in line to order one and reminiscing about the St. Germain performance from the day before, I noticed the cook preparing the bacon on a separate wood burning grill.
I quickly made friends with the guy on the register and convinced him to sell us two orders of grilled bacon only on a pita with red onions. It was one of the best food experiences I ever hand and I’ve had many from hole in the wall to fine dining. The flavor, texture, and the freekin audacity all stuck with me and was on my mind recently when I copped too many heirloom tomatoes at the neighborhood farmer’s market.
Benefits of Grilling Bacon
I used to think baking bacon in the oven was the best way to cook bacon. It’s great, don’t get me wrong. I love it, but ain’t nothing like smoky bacon. It is damn near primal, but definitely medieval.
Besides the taste and texture, grilling has the added benefit of being easy to clean up. Whether you bake or fry bacon in a skillet, that shit is gonna pop and mists grease are going to fly everywhere! On a grill flying grease just seasons the grill lol. You clean the grates with a grill brush and it’s all good.
Lastly, the bacon smell is great when it’s cooking, but no one likes the lingering smell when the bacon is all gone. Grilling outdoors means you don’t have to worry about that smell that seems to last a good full two days.
What’s the best lettuce for a Grilled BLT
In my mind it’s either Romaine or iceberg for a BLT. They got that crunch that stand up well against pretty much anything including heat. Romaine is my particular goto as it has more flavor than the iceberg in my opinion. Romaine also holds up well to grilling.
How to grill romaine
I grill greens all the time. I’m partial to large leafy greens like collards, kale, and chard, but dandelion and chicory get love on the grill too. Romaine is very simple to grill, but you can easily mess it up by allowing it to cook too long. The surefire way to grill romaine is just to go for a quick char after removing the flimsy outer leaves. One minute per side is max amount of time, but I aim for about 30 seconds per side. Once you get those pretty grill marks they’re good to go. This ensures that all the leaves including the outer ones maintain their shape.
Do I Have To Grill The Tomato and Lettuce
I can be a fanatic when it comes to the grill, so I grilled all but the bread which in hindsight would have been a great idea. The bacon is the star so if you prefer to just grill the bacon this will still be a great sandwich. However, I will say grilled tomatoes are quite interesting. Though they’re not on the grill long, some of the juices are released making them even more flavorful. Net net - you don’t have to but I do recommend it if you have the time and confidence.
Grilled BLT Sandwich Cooking Tips
- Choose firm, but not overly ripe. Firm tomatoes will better hold up against the heat and the heat will also help concentrate some of the natural sweetness. Overly ripe tomatoes will fall apart quickly on the grill
- Go for the thickest cut of bacon you can find. Thick means less chance of burning.
- Pellet smokers are the best grills for making baking because you’re not cooking bacon directly over an open flame which is always a concern when cooking fatty juice releasing meat that cause major flare ups. For traditional grills place an aluminum pan below the grates and on top of the coals to catch the grease. If your grill allows place the bacon away from the heat source for a slower, easier cook.
- Save those drippings and use them later. The flavor is amazing!
- Once bacon is done let drain immediately on paper towel or slices of bread. Bread plus smoky bacon grease is a beautiful thing!
- Make plenty of bacon to make sure the ratio of bacon to beefsteak tomato is right. There is nothing worse than an uneven BLT where the tomato ratio far exceeds the bacon. That’s basically a TBL. Not cool!
- If grilling the tomatoes oil the grates well to prevent any sticking.
- Cut your tomato slices thick as they will break down some on the grill
Ways to Level Up Your BLT Sandwich
Grilling is the ultimate way to make your blt a beast! But there are additional ways if you so choose to add things. I personally stick to the basics and go for the simple. See below for options:
- Dress your blt with mayo. I like to mix minced garlic or hot sauce in my mayo to kick it up a notch. Adoba sauce from those cans of chipotles is an excellent choice. Or if you have any type of chili paste or even Sriracha.
- Make a custom seasoning mix for your bacon such as this candied bacon recipe
- Ain't nothing like dropping some love on top in the form of a fried egg. That runny yolk is da bizness!
- Add a good melting cheese and make it a grilled cheese blt
- Toast your bread
- Season your tomatoes with salt and pepper
What to do with leftover grilled bacon?
Extra grilled bacon is perfect for salads especially I nice Cobb Salad. I may chop them up and top my chili or even drop them something sweet as a topping for cupcakes or in ice cream like butter pecan with smoked bacon! For a comfort food option drop it in a grilled cheese sandwich.
making a grilled blt sandwich
If you make this smoky, tender and delicious blt sandwich that's a definite sure thing, please come back and leave me a comment below with your feedback. Definitely take a photo of the dish and be sure to tag #foodfidelity so that I can see them.
You can also keep up with my food exploits as well as original recipes! You can find me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. If you like any of the music you find on the site, visit me at Spotify to find curated monthly playlists.
For other sandwich recipes try this Vegan BLT, Chicken Salad Sandwich, or Grilled Cheese w/ Andouille Sausage. Or check-out this great Grilled Ham & Cheese sandwich which is literally grilled outdoors over an open fire.
- 8-10 strips bacon
- 4 slices bread
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- ½ head romaine lettuce washed and roughly torn
- 2 large tomatoes cut into 4 thick slices
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Prepare grill for grilling. Use an aluminum foil pan as a drip pan by placing it directly below the area for the bacon. On either side of the pan or both add your coals as you don’t want the bacon directly over the coals.
- Clean the grates and wipe them down with an oil soaked paper towel. Allow the grates to get hot (5-10 minutes).
- Season bacon with salt and pepper and allow to reach room temperature. Lay the bacon directly above the foil pan. Cook on one side 2-3 minutes and then flip, cooking for another 2-3 minutes.
- Season the tomatoes with salt and pepper and grill quickly about 30-60 seconds per side.
- For lettuce if you grill it, lightly coat in oil then char quickly as well. Ideally you want crunchy edges with a cool middle.
- Assemble the sandwich by adding mayo to the bread and then layering on the bacon, lettuce, and tomato.