The ultimate BLT sandwich

Helen Graves shares her secrets for the ultimate BLT sandwich recipe – a must for those who have ever experienced the disappointment of a less-than-ideal specimen of this ubiquitous snack.

First published in 2016
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How many dire BLTs have you had? Think about it, the horror of the flabby pre-pack at the bottom end of the scale and the hotel room service insipid tomato and toast ensemble somewhere around the middle. The version I am going to suggest to you now is, I like to think, top end. Am I going to tell you how to make a sandwich? Yes I am, because, well, that’s the point of all this and also, it needs saying. No one should suffer the sensation of disbelief followed by deep, overwhelming sadness that results from a mediocre meeting of bread and pork product.

The bacon is of course the most important ingredient here, so no Danish rubbish, nothing bought in the corner shop unless your corner shop is Fortnum and Mason, nothing from the supermarket if you can help it. A good butcher will have thick cut bacon, and ideally, it’ll still have a lovely wide strip of fat and rind around the edge of each rasher. This helps a great deal with the cooking part, as you’ll see from my recipe below. Smoked goes without saying, doesn’t it? Now I know some of you will be in the streaky camp, which is fair enough, I get where you’re coming from, I just have a preference for fatty back if I can get it.

So the bacon we have dealt with, now to the bread. If this were a ‘classic’ bacon sandwich then I’m all up for white bread of any kind right down to the greasy spoon pap but a BLT, it’s got green things in it, there’s mayonnaise and everything, so I feel that a quality sourdough is essential.

Then it’s just your additions, a bit of lettuce (no iceberg), the tomato, well; do your best there my friends. This is the UK and I’m sure as hell not going all winter without a BLT so just find the ripest you can. When it comes to the mayo, this isn’t the place for homemade, which jars weirdly with the bacon.

Save that for your chicken sandwiches instead. Extras? I’m not against them. For years I had a thing for the BLAT (just add avocado) but I ate too many. Now it’s just a few slivers of spring onion, a freckle or two of hot sauce and black pepper. The perfect BLT.

Ingredients

Metric

Imperial

The perfect BLT

Method

1
If you have bacon with a rind and/or thick fat, use scissors to snip it off leaving a thin strip around the edge of the rasher
2
Put the rinds in a heavy-based frying pan and heat gently until the fat starts to melt. Add the rashers and cook slowly until evenly cooked and crisp at the edges
3
Spread 1 piece of bread with mayonnaise, and then top with the lettuce and tomato. Add the bacon and spring onions, dot with the hot sauce and black pepper
4
Dip the other slice of bread briefly into the bacon fat in the pan, then close the sandwich
First published in 2016
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Helen Graves is Content Editor at Great British Chefs. She's also the author of the cookbook Live Fire: Seasonal Barbecue Recipes and Stories of Live Fire Traditions, Old and New, and the editor of Pit, an independent magazine with roots in live fire cooking. She is based in South East London and loves carbs, cats, crabs and kebabs.

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