Bacon is one of the few foods that is both salty and sweet while also delivering an unrivalled dose of savory umami. For many chefs and food formulators, these tastes make bacon the star ingredient in everything from cocktails to dessert. That’s because everything tastes better with bacon.

This is something Chef Peter Sherman, owner of BarBacon, New York City, knows well. One of his originals is Kentucky Fried Bacon Bites, which are bite-sized crispy pieces of battered thick-cut bacon served like chicken nuggets. The inch-long chunks are dusted in flour, dipped in egg and covered with panko crumbs. After deep frying, they are covered with Thai chili honey and served with house pickles.

Minneapolis-based Riff’s Smokehouse developed Riffs Meat Candy. It’s bacon on a stick. The snack is designed to be microwaved for 15 seconds and consumed warm. The Sweet variety is simply coated in a wood-smoked brown sugar glaze, while Sweet & Spicy is that same glaze with the addition of a five-pepper blend. Other varieties blend characterizing flavorful ingredients into the glaze. Innovations include Asian, sesame, Cajun spice, coffee, habanero and Thai curry. 

Source: Riffs Bars

Another spin is chocolate or caramel coating the bacon, turning it into a dessert. BarBacon serves chocolate-coated bacon dusted with pink peppercorn and a side of house-made bacon-infused whipped cream. The latter is a special blend of liquid bacon fat aerated with whipping cream.   

Genesee Candy Land, Golden, Colorado, debuted Oinks at the Winter Fancy Food Show held Jan. 13-15 in San Francisco. Oinks is a unified brand for the company’s signature chocolate-covered bacon products, which includes bacon slices, fudge, jumbo cookies and its most recent entry, truffles.

“Our chocolate-dipped bacon products, including applewood smoked and jalapeño bacon strips,” said

Lorri Alden, owner. “Our broader vision is to continue to disrupt the snacking category by blending loved foods to create new products.”

The company is the only US food manufacturer to receive US Dept. of Agriculture certification to sell full slices of extra thick-cut applewood smoked bacon enrobed in smooth dark chocolate.

“Obtaining this designation was a rigorous process and it sets us apart,” Alden said.