Wursthall’s Slow-Cooked B.L.T. Sandwiches

Cooks: 145°F (62.8°C) for 48 hours

Recipe by J. Kenji López-Alt, The Food Lab, and Wursthall

I love using sous vide with this recipe as it allows the pork belly to render a good amount of fat without drying it out and over cooking it. This is a very simple recipe that will get you accolades from your family and guests!

This is the slow-cooked bacon B.L.T. we serve at Wursthall when fresh tomatoes are in season. Typically I prefer thinner bacon on my B.L.T.’s—thick slices have a tendency to pull out of the sandwich instead of biting cleanly as well as dominating the flavor of the tomatoes. But in this case, by cooking the bacon sous vide for 48 hours, it becomes meltingly tender, seasoning the sandwich without overwhelming it either in texture or flavor.

Instead of butter, I like to toast my bread in a combination of rendered bacon fat and mayonnaise.

Shredded iceberg lettuce adds crisp, clean crunch, and it should go without saying that you should make this with the very best local summer tomatoes you can find (and don’t skimp on the mayo).

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Ingredients

For the Bacon

  • 1 (one-pound) slab of bacon, unsliced, rind removed (450 g)
  • 4 stalks rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
  • 8 cloves garlic

For the Sandwiches

  • 8 slices thick-cut soft white bread, like Texas toast
  • 12 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 cups finely shredded iceberg lettuce
  • 1 pound ripe tomatoes, sliced thick
  • Large-grained sea salt like flour de sel or Maldon
  • freshly ground black pepper

Method

For the Bacon

For the Bacon: Preheat sous vide cooker to 145°F (62.8°C). Place bacon, rosemary, black peppercorns, and garlic in a vacuum bag and seal with a vacuum sealer. Place bacon in water bath and cook for 48 hours. Remove and chill in an ice bath or under cold running water.

Once chilled, remove bacon from vacuum bag and discard garlic, rosemary, and black peppercorns. Slice bacon into ¼-inch slices. You should end up with two to three slices per sandwich.

Preheat a large griddle to medium heat. Add bacon and cook until crisp on both sides but still tender and juicy in the center, about 4 minutes total. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. If you don’t have a griddle, you can make sandwiches in two large skillets.

For the Sandwiches

Lay out all eight slices of bread on a cutting board. Using a brush, brush the upward-facing side with the rendered bacon fat from the skillet, dividing it evenly between all eight slices. Spread each upward-facing side with a half tablespoon of mayonnaise in a thin, even layer. Working in batches as necessary, toast the bread mayo-side-down, swirling the slices around the griddle to promote even browning. Toast until rich golden brown, about 5 minutes.

To assemble the sandwiches: Place four slices of bread toasted-side-down on a cutting board. Spread 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise on each of them. Divide the lettuce evenly between them, then top with the bacon. Divide the tomato slices evenly across the bacon. Season with flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Spread the non-toasted side of the remaining four slices of bread with mayonnaise and close the sandwiches. Cut into triangles and serve immediately.

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