The classic BLT sandwich is a sandwich served mainly at lunch at cafes across the world. There are many variations of a BLT sandwich with different preparations such as toasted bread, or the addition of mayonnaise. However, some things cannot be changed because its name is an acronym for the key ingredients that make the sandwich what it is. Bacon. Lettuce. Tomato.
A History of the Classic BLT
For such a popular sandwich, the BLT hasn’t been around for very long at all. The first evidence of its origins doesn’t emerge until the 1900s, even though the methods for curing bacon and baking bread had existed for centuries.
Like most foods nowadays, its popularity grew rapidly in the post-war era seeing a rise in ready-to-eat foods and ready meals in the 1950s and 60s. This stretched to ready-made sandwiches, which the humble BLT became a mainstay and representation of the finest convenience foods.
While it may only be the 6th most popular sandwich in the US, in a 2008 poll, the United Kingdom voted it the nation’s favourite sandwich. It’s eaten all year but its popularity booms during the summer with fresh seasonal tomatoes and iceberg lettuce.
Streaky Bacon vs Back Bacon
Bacon is a cured pork product made from salting or brining a cut of pork for a period of time. The time needed to cure the meat depends on the size of the meat, and the flavour profile of the final cure. You’ll usually find two types in any supermarket: streaky, or back bacon.
Both types of bacon are prepared in the exact same way, but they differ in where they come from on a pig’s body. Streaky comes from the fattier belly, while back bacon comes from the loin making it leaner compared to the fattier belly bacon.
Either type can be used to make this sandwich but I prefer the fattier streaky bacon as its higher fat content allows the bacon to crisp up while a splash of maple syrup helps caramelise the bacon giving it a luxurious sweeter flavour.
Iceberg lettuce has very little flavour but it adds a much-needed crunch to the sandwich. Its freshness also helps balance out the rich flavour of the bacon.
Beef tomatoes are just giant tomatoes that take up more space in the fridge, but a firmer and bigger variety. The name itself also comes from a description of a beef tomato as they have a much meatier texture. Beef tomatoes are also a lot sweeter than regular tomatoes. They also contain less juice, which helps prevent the bread from turning soggy.
Black Pepper Mayo
Bacon is packed full of salt, helping to bring out the flavour of the other ingredients. Here, the black pepper mayo helps balance the salt, while lubricating the bread in the absence of butter. A splash of lemon juice here also helps add a much-needed acidic boost to the sandwich.
Classic BLT with Lemon Pepper Mayo
- Griddle Pan
- 8 Slice of White Bloomer Bread
- 16 Streaky Bacon Rashers
- 2 Tbsp Maple Syrup
- 2 Beef Tomatoes
- ½ Iceberg Lettuce Thinly Shredded
- Pinch of Salt
- Begin by making the black pepper mayo by combing all the ingredients together, adding salt to taste.
- Heat a large griddle over medium-high heat. Fry the bacon in its own fat until it begins to brown and crisp up. Take the pan off the heat and pour the maple evenly over the bacon.
- While the bacon cooks, toast the bread on both sides until golden brown.
- To build the sandwiches, lay out the bottom layers, and spread with a generous amount of pepper mayo. Then add a large handful of iceberg lettuce, followed by 2-3 slices of tomatoes. Add a pinch of salt to help bring out the flavour of tomatoes. Lay 3 pieces of bacon on top of the tomatoes, then spread more mayo on the top level of the bread.
- Close the sandwich, cut and serve.