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How to Make a Killer BLT without Mayo

Love the classic combination of bacon, lettuce and tomato, but not so fond of the mayo that somehow finds its way in? Here’s how to make a killer BLT without mayo.

How to Make a Great BLT without Mayo

Driving down I-95 last weekend, with my kids in the back seat and music on the radio, I realized it had been so long since I’d last been on the highway that I couldn’t pinpoint the time. Was it two months ago? Three? I didn’t recall, and it was pretty clear that I’d stayed pretty local for too long.

How’d that happen? When did I become so complacent about our whereabouts? Why hadn’t we headed south or west or perhaps even north in so long? I always say that the best cure for feeling stuck — whether it’s in writing or work or life — is to get out and do something different. So why wasn’t I taking my own advice?

Clearly, I need to get out more — it’s important. Changes of scenery reinvigorate us, refreshing our perspective and making our world a little more colorful. As a writer, this is a key element to my ability to string words together in an effective, creative, interesting manner.

That ride south was good for me — and for all of us. It disrupted my perspective, which I needed so much. We often think of disruption as a bad thing — something that creates a roadblock in our path. But disruption can be a good thing too. It forces us out of our comfort zones, and beyond the borders of the figurative boxes we create. It opens our eyes and stops us from becoming complacent, which is an enemy to all things creative.

Speaking of disruption, it isn’t just good for perspective. It’s also good for other elements of our lives — including the food we eat. It’s okay to disrupt the way people think a certain food should be. Tuna sandwiches can be made with vinaigrette. Cereal can be eaten dry. And BLT’s? They don’t really need the mayo to be amazing.

Wait. What? No, really I mean it. BLT sandwiches — the classic bacon, lettuce and tomato — have long been a favorite of mine, but I never use mayo … instead, I make them my own way, and it’s delightful. Here’s how.

Start with Good Bread

How to Make a Killer BLT-Use Good Bread

Much like the foundation of anything — buildings, homes, relationships, careers — a killer BLT begins with a good foundation. For mine, I like a good, crusty bread with a chewy interior. It should be firm enough to stand up to the other ingredients but airy enough not to make the sandwich weighty.

The bread shown here is made by a local baker, Massimo’s Bakery. I love how crusty and flavorful their breads are. I buy loaves of this at a local grocer, Tiller & Rye, that stocks a lot of local products. You might not have a Massimo’s or Tiller & Rye near you (they are local purveyors, after all), but you hopefully do have a good local bakery that makes bread just right for your BLTs. Drop in and see, and be prepared to slice your own — it’s better that way anyway.

You’ll need a bread knife, which is serrated with a rounded end for this. Slice the pieces thing — about 1/2-inch thick works for me.

Spread it Lightly

Butter the Bread

Wait, what’s that?

Remember: we’re disrupting the norm with this sandwich. So skip the mayo, if you use it, and instead spread that bread with a thin layer of softened salted butter. The better the butter, the better the sandwich. (I still usually use Kate’s Homemade Butter.)

Butter? Yes. A thin layer of butter adds a pleasant richness to this sandwich, giving it more depth. Just try it.

Go for the Thick Cut Bacon

Use Good Ingredients

Regular thinner bacon is great with your morning eggs, wrapped around dates for an appetizer and crumbled on a salad. But for a BLT, reach for the thick-cut bacon. Meatier, bolder and less likely to crumble when you hold the sandwich, it’s perfect for this sandwich. And you don’t need a lot of it: I use two to three slices in my BLTs, which is just right to add the salty, smoky richness to this sandwich.

Hint: want perfect bacon without the mess? Bake it.

Balance is Key

Make a Great BLT

So you have your bread, your butter and your bacon, what now? Well, a BLT isn’t a BLT without lettuce and tomato. A few thin slices of tomato (about 1/4-inch thick) and some crisp lettuce round out this masterpiece. Now, I know it’s tempting to go big on the bacon, but the key here is balance — you want a little of each to create a sandwich with perfect harmony.

How do you like your BLT? 

How to Make a Killer BLT without Mayo
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Melissa

Wednesday 15th of April 2020

With Italian bread and ranch dressing in place of mayo ^.^ .

William

Monday 6th of April 2020

During these times of experimental goodness, my BLT no mayo (condiments in short supply/out) will be tasty! Have artisan bread and lightly salted butter. Dance until your feet ache, sing until your throat is sore, and love until nothing hurts anymore!

Sarah Walker Caron

Tuesday 7th of April 2020

This comment warmed my heart. Hope you had a great BLT -- without mayo!

Renee - Kudos Kitchen

Wednesday 20th of April 2016

I'd gladly skip the mayo if I could nosh on one of these right now! And, I agree that the bread makes all the difference! Great looking sandwich!

Cindy Saeger

Tuesday 19th of April 2016

I love BLT's because ummm who doesn't love anything with bacon? Lol....love the way you make it, too. I usually do ass a thin layer of mayo but I really like your option! Thanks for sharing this!

Debbie Nevins

Tuesday 19th of April 2016

Oh, well, for me, it's all about the mayo. Hellman's original. But, a question: I've always had BLT on toast. I thought it was mandatory, like BLTT. It's a classic. Nevertheless, your version looks yummy, and yes, I bet butter (Kate's, of course, unless LOL is on a really good sale) is a fine addition. Butter and tomatoes makes for a surprisingly good combo, both cooked and uncooked.

Sarah Walker Caron

Tuesday 19th of April 2016

Interesting about the toast ... When I make it at home, I never toast the bread. But sometimes I have it toasted when I order BLTs when I am out. I don't see it as a requirement.

Have you tried a BLT with a fried green tomato? So tasty.