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The Perfect BLT

I'm looking for recommendations on the perfect BLT. What type of bread, bacon, tomato, and lettuce do you use. Here's my typical BLT:

- Toasted white bread (still debating the best bread)
- Bacon (also needs recs for best brand)
- Homegrown tomatoes only
- Homemade Mayo (or Helmanns)
- Romaine lettuce
- Salt and Pepper

Let me know your thoughts on this Summertime treat!

- Skyline Time

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  1. I like a heartier BLT so I think you can stand to benefit from a good sourdough or whole grain bread lightly toasted in bacon grease. Spread on your mayo, top with lettuce (I sometimes use watercress instead), thick-cut bacon, sliced tomato, perhaps the barest crack of pepper and serve.

    7 Replies
    1. re: JungMann

      I buy a thick cut peppered bacon - so no need for the barest crack of pepper. Whole wheat, Best Foods mayo (Hellmans to the east) and (here I lose cred...) iceburg lettuce. Nice and crispy iceburg. Home grown tomatoes (though not for at least another month here). Raleys sells tomatoes on the vine that are quite tasty.

      1. re: JungMann

        Love sourdough for a BLT. How about a BLAT? Add avocado! Another one I'd like to try (haven't yet, but saw it on a menu) is to add olive tapenade to a BLT...or a BLAT for that matter! Fat city! :)

        1. re: kattyeyes

          Where have you been, fresh kitty, read the rest of the posts!

          1. re: Phurstluv

            Sorry, I was moved by "sourdough" and chimed in before I had read about other BLATs and BLOATs. Ah been workin'! ;)

              1. re: kattyeyes

                BLATs and BLOATs are great but a BLT is still the best, isn't it? Mmmm.

          2. re: JungMann

            Has anyone ever made BLT with green fried tomatoes?

          3. I like a toasted whole grain or wheat bread as well. English muffins sometimes stand in. Freshly cooked bacon, still warm. I use thick sliced Oscar Mayer, b/c it's readily available, but I sometimes doctor it with pepper or brown sugar. Not for a BLT, however.

            Only use lots of Best Foods, regular. Thick sliced tomatoes sprinkled w/sea salt & pepper. Beefsteaks preferable, but romas will do. I love romaine, but also use iceberg or arugula, if I have it.

            My diversions are to add a thick slice of mild to sharp cheddar under the warm bacon. I also slice ripe avocado on top of the tomato, before the lettuce. Technically that makes mine a BACLT! And it's great!

            1. I favor Boston lettuce, and I usually add avocado for a BLTA. It all revolves around the perfectly ripened tomato. It's my favorite sandwich; I sometimes prefer it to a steak dinner.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Veggo

                Oh Veggo, my Veggo, it's called a BLAT!

                We do BLTs only when we have vine ripened, local tomatoes, always a beefsteak type. Toasted bread, never white. Mayo on both slices of bread. Then at least three, preferably four slices of crisp bacon (usually OM) laid out straight and tidy on the bread. On top of that, go the sliced tomatoes, one layer only, then iceberg lettuce that's been sliced with a knife (don't argue with me!), then some s&p. Place the second piece of toast on and cut with a serrated knife so it all stays perfectly together. Except for the occasional slice of avocado, this is THE only way to have a perfect BLT. And once tomato season has passed, then no more til next summer. There are few things on which I am completely stubborn and this is one of them. A totally closed mind.

                1. re: c oliver

                  lol @ c oliver

                  and only thin sliced bacon so it's very very very crispy. My recipe is the same as yours only I will use 5 slices of bacon. And squaw bread, lightly toasted. And, with all due respect, it is BLTA

                  1. re: mollygirl

                    With some Vidalia onion, it becomes a BLOAT! And now I want five slices :) And definitely thin-sliced bacon.

                    1. re: c oliver

                      One time I was seasoning a new cast iron so decided to fry up some bacon (best way right?). That cast iron is sooo good for bacon. Before I knew it, I had fried up and eaten the whole pound!!! Was talking to my sis and she said, Yes, but the was pre-cooked weight! So I said, yeah, right I only ate 1/2 pound. She said, say it in ounces, it sounds less :-) Love my bacon!

              2. When I was little, my family always made BLTs with cream cheese instead of mayo. The tangier taste of the cream cheese is really delicious with the smokey bacon. Whenever I have a BLT out now I always miss the cream cheese

                1. Another interpretation. Applewood-smoked bacon, sliced thick. Heirloom tomatoes, we prefer Purple Cherokee. Whole grain bread, but not too dense, toasted. Best Foods mayo (we're on the west coast) on one slice and Miracle Whip on the other slice (be certain to spread all the way to the edges). Romaine hearts for the letttuce. Avocado, of course. Radish sprouts.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: TomSwift

                    Applewood smoked bacon is the way to go. Trader Joe's sells a delicious kind. I prefer the romaine leaves to the hearts, forgo the radish, and prefer a homemade mayo if it's possible, but I wouldn't toss TomSwift out of my kitchen...

                  2. Sourdough bread, lightly toasted; Niman Ranch Applewood Smoked Bacon, beefsteak tomatoes (but sliced thinly), Cain's or Hellman's mayo, some kind of crunchy lettuce (romaine or iceberg), and more often than not, a few slices of a hearty cheddar cheese to make it a BLT&C.

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: LindaWhit

                      Wow, I haven't heard of Cain's mayo in ages!! They still make that stuff?!

                      1. re: Phurstluv

                        That they do. I wonder if it's an East Coast only product?

                        1. re: LindaWhit

                          I believe Cain's products are sold only in New England

                          1. re: beanodc

                            I believe you are correct, beanodc

                            1. re: Phurstluv

                              alas, Cain's is now owned by a corporation based in Minn. they've changed several of the product recipes--hfcs in all the pickles---not sure where the stuff is made now a days, but i think the ayer mass plant is closed.

                      2. re: LindaWhit

                        The perfect BLT has to include New Jersey Beefsteak Tomatoes.

                        1. re: fourunder

                          Originally being from NJ, I agree 100%. :-) But the likelihood of me getting Jersey beefsteaks up here in the Boston area is probably not as great as I'd like.

                          So I'd take a locally grown, freshly picked "as close as you can get it to a New Jersey beefsteak" tomato. :-)

                      3. White or wheat is fine by me. It must be lightly toasted so it is not too rigid. BOTH pieces of toast should be slathered with mayo so that the mayo mingles with the seasoned tomatoes and also the lettuce. Salty bacon goes in the middle - I like it lightly fried so it isn't too crumbly/crispy.

                        Just had one yesterday with my own grown tomato - mighty fine. :)

                        1. My version of the "perfect" BLT (for the rare instance when I indulge):

                          - Very lightly toasted sourdough
                          - A few thick cut slice from Harry Ochs or Martin's (duck proscuitto or guanciale would be better)
                          - Perfectly rippened tomato, homegrown or otherwise, sliced thin
                          - Basil aioli
                          - Boston lettuce

                          1. Am I the only one who prefers butter instead of mayo on my BLTs?

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: nimeye

                              Happy to tell you that, yes, you are the ONLY one who does that :)

                                1. re: nimeye

                                  I would, but then again I also would prefer smooth natural peanut butter instead of mayo on a BLT.

                                  1. re: Karl S

                                    Peanut butter on a BLT??? Karl S, I'm SO devastated :(

                                    1. re: c oliver

                                      I am condiments-averse on my sandwiches. I don't like mayo (MIracle Whip is worse, though), relish, mustard or ketchup on my sandwiches (or burgers or hot dogs).

                                      Btw, before you ick out on PB on BLT, try it. I was very dubious (it was an old friend who clued me into this) but when I tried it, I found it was a thing of genius. I realize not everyone will agree.

                                      1. re: Karl S

                                        Well, considering that it's YOU who's recommending it, I'll try it on a half --- someday.

                                  2. re: nimeye

                                    No, nimeye, you are not the only one. I prefer just butter (salted) on mine.

                                    But then my perfect BLT has no L either, so it's a BT. I don't like lettuce on warm foods. I just want to taste the lovely saltiness of the bacon and butter blend with the lovely tomato. Mayo just gets in the way.

                                  3. A BLT that we do often:

                                    - Superb bread from Arthur Avenue in the Bronx. Absent that, any good, dense Italian loaf.
                                    - Perfect tomatoes, with the seeds and goop removed, sliced thinly (slice the tomato in half, push out the seeds, then slice the remaining halves cross-wise.
                                    - Homemade Dijon Mayonnaise (extra-rich: egg yolks only, no whites)
                                    - Boston lettuce, and lots of it
                                    - Pancetta instead of bacon

                                    Occasionally we comingle fresh basil leaves with the lettuce. When I decide to get fancy I slice the bread extra-thin, and make a "club" sandwich out of this - it's easier to eat as the lettuce and tomato can be isolated from one another so the sandwich doesn't squirt out its innards on the first or second bite!

                                    1. I like a nice, hearty wheat bread toasted, Hellman's mayo both slices of bread (forms a barrier so the juiciness of the tomato doesn't make the bread too soggy ), a thick-cut nitrite/nitrate-free smoked bacon fried to the crunchy side of chewy, 2-3 slices, and some homegrown (or at least local vine-ripened picked-that-day) thick sliced beefsteak, preferably each slice the same size as the bread. Butter lettuce is my first choice.

                                      1. For me, it's all about the bacon - the rest is secondary. I only use bacon from our meat CSA, a local farm called Stillman's in MA- I don't know what it is about it, but it's the best darned bacon I've ever had and I can never go back to supermarket bacon. In a pinch the Niman Ranch bacon from TJs is OK.
                                        We just had BLTs tonight on toasted sourdough with arugula and basil mayo. And a somewhat pathetic tomato (tomatoes aren't in yet in these parts).

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: MrsCheese

                                          MrsCheese - is that bacon sold in any retail stores in the MA area? Would love to compare it against the Niman Ranch.

                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                            No retail stores, but Stillman's sells it at various farmers markets in the Boston area. Are you in Boston? They're in Cambridgeport on Saturday mornings, and I know they're also at markets at the Charles Hotel, Copley, JP, and City Hall, but you'd have to check the days/times on those. Here is Stillman's website:

                                            1. re: MrsCheese

                                              I'm just north of Boston...checking out their website, looks like Union Square would be easiest/closest for me...perhaps a trip is in order this coming Saturday if it's not too rainy...especially since I just finished up the Niman Ranch in tonight's panino! Thanks!

                                          1. re: LordOfTheGrill

                                            wow - yum! now i know what i'm having for dinner tonight!

                                            1. re: LordOfTheGrill

                                              I was *this* close to adding an egg to the BLT a couple of nights ago - now looking at that I'm seriously regretting not doing it...

                                              1. re: MrsCheese

                                                i had this last night - holy hell this was the best sandwich i have ever consumed. i made it with homemade tomato-basil bread. regular blt's are dead to me now.
                                                thank you lordofthegrill!

                                            2. Spread Hellman's on one side each of two slices of toasted Pepperidge Farms sourdough. Add three pieces of Hormel Black Label thick cut bacon to one slice of toast. Top with Bibb lettuce and sprinkle with a little watercress, top the lettuce with several thin slices of just-picked tomato (mine will be Brandy Boy this year) and cover with second slice of toast. Invert sandwich so the order is:

                                              Lean forward when eating so the juice from the tomato does not get on your shirt.

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: CDouglas

                                                I disagree. The tomato should be touching the warm bacon, giving you a sweet & salty taste at once, fresh & fried. The lettuce always touches the mayo on the bread, unless of course, you have spread the bread with a lusciously ripe avocado.

                                                1. re: Phurstluv

                                                  That's the only layering that I consider correct :)

                                              2. Marble rye, lightly toasted
                                                to which:
                                                4 slices of turkey bacon
                                                1 large beefsteak tomatoe
                                                3 large Romaine lettuce leaves, rib removed
                                                4 thinly sliced cucumber slices

                                                1. Toasted white bread (Pepperidge Farm or Upside Down Brands or bakery bread)
                                                  Bacon, must be very crisp to contrast with the wet, soft tomato (no particular brand but I mostly had Oscar Mayer as a kid)
                                                  3/8 inch slice of beefsteak tomato, grown in Indiana (hey, I'm an Indian boy originally!--I love where I live now, Florida, but the tomatoes are not as good as midwestern ones
                                                  Hellmann's mayo--it's better than what i can make when I make homemade mayo, i am sorry to say
                                                  Iceberg lettuce--romaine doesn't have enough crunch and Boston is too soft
                                                  salt and pepper

                                                  It seems to me that most people who prepare a BLT for me don't put on enough mayo, which is what makes the sandwich. There should be a good 3/8" of mayo covering the toasted, buttered bread. The buttering is important to create a moisture barrier and keep the toasted bread from getting soggy.

                                                  I feel like a heretic not suggesting some custom-made boutique brand of bacon, but for a BLT, it just ain't me!

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: gfr1111

                                                    Indian boy? Like Sioux or Cherokee? (Can't think of any midwestern ones from history class that I was long <<absent>> from).

                                                    And 3/8" slice - do you measure that bad boy with your slide rule?

                                                    Butter and mayo? That makes you special. No one else has suggested butter and mayo.

                                                  2. Oh, and having just tried it this week (an "import" from Georgia) DUKE'S MAYO! I have been a Hellman's kid all my life, but Duke's is especially yummy. Thanks to alkapal for the suggestion!

                                                    12 Replies
                                                    1. re: kattyeyes

                                                      Did you find it in CT or online? Is it really better than Best Foods/Hellmans? (Heresy!)

                                                      1. re: Phurstluv

                                                        Yes it is, and this is coming from another new convert. I grew up on Blue Plate, switched to Hellman's when I moved north, and discovered Duke's on CH. Bring back a couple of jars whenever I go home.

                                                        1. re: Phurstluv

                                                          Neither--someone who loves me brought it back from a trip to Georgia. It really is quite nice and creamier than Best Foods/Hellmans. I will do more taste tests and share with others to see their reaction. It's definitely worth a try if you can get some. And it's not as though I think Hellman's sucks now, I just think Duke's is tastier. I am so glad to have a jar of it ready for lots of fresh tomato sandwiches...coming soon from my deck!

                                                          1. re: kattyeyes

                                                            Oooo, I'm jealous. Will try mail order to see if I can get some. It's not that I don't like best foods, it's just I'm to busy to make homemade, yeah, that's it, busy!

                                                            1. re: Phurstluv

                                                              I've always been intrigued by Duke's as well, Phurstluv. But it looks like you can order it right from their website.

                                                              But boy - 32 oz. of mayo is a lot for me (I'd go for the 4 pk of squeeze bottles). How long does it keep outside of the fridge unopened? What's the usual "sell/use by" time frame on mayo - a year?

                                                              Hmmm, just checked the Cain's jar in my fridge - it's about 2/3 gone (30 oz. container, so maybe 32 oz. isn't a lot for me! LOL) and use by date is 12/4/09. So maybe I can make this work! (Have to make sure I have no additional mayo in the pantry before buying Duke's.)

                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                Mine is a 16-oz. jar. Thankfully the same "someone" travels with some regularity on business when I need another hookup!

                                                                1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                  It's nice to have your own supplier. ;-)

                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                    Maybe I could quit Corporate America and be a mayo runner--do some restaurant reviews on the side. If only the real kattyeyes were into road trips...

                                                                    1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                      Check with Veggo - rumor has it he has experience as a runner!

                                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                                        At the risk of being hated by the entire board...I wanted to throw my two sense in and say...ahem...I really like my blt's without any mayo at all..or any type of spread...

                                                                        1. re: lovessushi

                                                                          Although I use mayo on a BLT, if there were ever a sandwich that could go totally pure, the BLT would be it. No hatred from me.

                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                            Oh thanks c oliver...I don't feel like a complete chow hound loser now ;-)

                                                                            Actually I don't like mayo at all, on anything except potato salad...I think it's because I never had it growing up? Anyway my favorite blt is turkey bacon very, very crisp, nice slices of super ripe tomato, and iceberg lettuce...simple, not so cool, but my favorite!!