Bacon is one of those foods that goes well with savory or sweet, and you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who doesn’t like it as an ingredient in any dish. Its combination of meaty flavor, salty goodness and crispy texture makes it a great partner for foods of all kinds.
Cooking with bacon also provides a rich array of choices. You can use the bacon fat to fry eggs or to start an amazing gravy. You can use the bacon itself as a delicious addition to sandwiches or hamburgers. Bacon also can jazz up any salad, add salt to a plate that needs some amplification or put a twist on a sweet component when you want to surprise the people you’re feeding.
Freeman Gunnell is the owner of Cornwall Bakery in Grosse Pointe Park, and he’s become a bacon advocate for many reasons. Not only does he use bacon in the bakery and in his delicious desserts, but he knows that it is a perfect addition to many of the other recipes he makes both professionally and personally.
“I love bacon in foods and with sandwiches,” said Gunnell, a longtime chef who has worked with such greats as Wolfgang Puck and Madeline Kamman. “Bacon goes so well with many different items due to the salt content. Our bodies naturally assimilate to salt since is a part of our natural anatomy.”
Gunnell, who works primarily with bread and pastries at Cornwall Bakery, can make anything and enjoys creating beautiful multi-dish dinners for bakery guests. These special dinners are not only exciting for him as a chef, but they challenge him to find new ways to serve his favorite foods – and that includes bacon.
“The versatility of bacon is almost a universal ingredient in many cultures and definitely fills a satiated craving because the fat and salt can help satisfy hunger pains and fuels your day’s need for energy,” Gunnell said.
Here are other chefs and Metro Detroit restaurants where bacon is an honored guest on the menu and on the plate.
This Ferndale restaurant is known for a variety of dishes from Tacos to fish to Sunday brunch. But it also has a strong hot-dog game that gets only better when you add bacon. Consider the Imperial Sonoran: It features a bacon-wrapped hot dog with stewed beans, tomato, onions, poblano lime cream, salsa verde, queso fresco, guacamole and cilantro.
This Detroit favorite has a carry-out menu chock full of bacon options. There’s the Wedge Salad, which is made with chopped Iceberg, tomato, red onion, house bacon bits and thousand island dressing. There’s the BBQ Bacon slider, which has a beef patty, sweet potatoes, and a house BBQ sauce. And there’s the New England Clam Chowder, which also has bacon.
Detroit’s longtime tapas restaurant has made spicy dishes some of its specialties. One happens to feature bacon, which will make any diner happy. The Tocino Relleno de Datil is one of the best, highlighting its almond-stuffed bacon-wrapped dates as a great way to start or end a full tapas meal that everyone will dive into.
The list of bacon dishes feels endless on this classic Detroit deli’s menu. Some favorites include the Klebs Klub Salad, which has a house-roasted turkey breast and cherrywood-smoked bacon on it along with the That’ll Do sandwich, which features smoked-pulled port and bacon on a warm sandwich. There’s also the Stinson sandwich, which has pepped ham and applewood-smoke bacon along with cheddar, maple-glazed onions and a chipotle mayo.