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Bacon's Boom in the West

Taste bacon burgers, bacon jam, bacon chocolates, and much more at ten spots in nine Western states.

Bacon three ways, Bacon cafe, Boise, Idaho, image
Photo caption
Bacon three ways at Idaho’s Bacon café.


With bacon now showing up in ice cream, breath mints, and vodka, you might think that the mania for the salty meat has peaked. Think again. Some 44 percent of U.S. consumers eat bacon at least once every two weeks—a record high, say trend-watchers. Here’s where it’s sizzling.

  • Chef David Briggs of Portland’s Xocolatl de Davíd started putting bacon in chocolate bars in 2006. His Bacon Caramel bar remains hugely popular. Another, the Bacon Raleigh, has pecan chocolate nougat and bacon caramel. Find both at Marché Provisions in Eugene, Ore.
  • Crisp, gooey, and smoky, the grilled cheese sandwich with bacon and bacon jam is a top seller at the Bacon Bacon truck in San Francisco. “Bacon is the perfect ingredient,” says owner Jim Angelus, who goes through 300 pounds a week. “It brings back childhood memories. It makes people feel good.”
  • Chefs Duskie Estes and John Stewart of Zazu Restaurant & Farm in Santa Rosa, Calif., dry cure their own heritage black pig bacon with brown sugar, then smoke it over apple wood. Enjoy slices as a side dish or wrapped around dates as a starter. You can buy some for home, too.
  • Chef John Berryhill of Boise, Idaho, cooked his first strip of Berryhill bacon in 1996. Since then, it’s spawned a breakfast-and-lunch café named simply Bacon. “Our goal was to cook a strip of bacon every minute we’re open,” Berryhill says. “We’re pretty much doing that.”
  • Diners at Nevada’s Firefly Tapas Kitchen & Bar order rounds of bacon-wrapped dates with smoked almonds and blue cheese in a red wine sauce. You can try one at any of Firefly's two spots in Las Vegas and one in Henderson.
  • At Trio, a bistro in Jackson, Wyo., Nueske’s famous apple wood–smoked bacon (made from a 1933 recipe) is ground together with Black Angus beef to make a juicy burger that’s topped with a slab of white cheddar. Pair it with a bowl of tomato soup garnished with arugula pesto, sourdough croutons, and even more bacon.
  • It’s not hard to see why the candied bacon cupcakes at Harper & Madison in Billings, Mont., sell out quickly. Who can resist a cupcake filled with chipotle Devonshire cream and crowned with a swirl of maple buttercream and a strip of candied bacon? Call ahead; the bacon cupcakes aren’t made every day. 
  • At Glacier BrewHouse in Anchorage diners declare that they just can’t stop eating the bacon and blue chips—a mound of mesquite-seasoned potato chips loaded with chipotle sour cream, crumbled blue cheese, diced tomatoes, green onions, and plenty of pepper bacon.
  • The bacon jam burger at Skillet Diner in Seattle replaces the classic onion slice with a sweet, tangy onion jam fortified with bacon. The spread, introduced at Skillet’s food trucks, is such a hit that it’s now sold in jars at the diner and online. 

Photography by Chad Case Photography


This article was first published in September 2012. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.