Wine Guide Kristina Johnson is well known in our wine community (and her local Iowa community) for her absolute and unconditional love for bacon. She can often be found sharing her favorite cuts and cooking styles with us on social media—and making us hungry. As brunch season arrives, we asked Kristina to share her best bacon dishes for brunch with us, and the wine she reaches for to go with every crispy, chewy, blissful bite!
Brunch is seriously the best meal of the day. Anything can become brunch food—from waffles to crab cakes and everything in between!! And did someone say mimosas? Yum!
But I’d like to concentrate instead on my favorite food group: Bacon (yes it’s its own food group—promise!). Bacon is actually one of the ultimate wine pairings, too—it’s got a lot of salt, some sweetness, crispness, and let’s not forget the fat. With all that going for it, bacon is a great complement to a range of wines, from dry to sweet and red to rosé. Seriously, you can’t go wrong. Not only that, but you can create so many brunch dishes with bacon! If you’re a like-minded bacon lover, here are my top eight ways to bring home the bacon to the brunch table.
- Just the Bacon
- Biscuits and Bacon Gravy
- Bacon Mac ‘n’ Cheese
- Bacon “Candy”
- Bacon and Cheese Waffles
- Bacon-Wrapped Tater Tot Bombs
- BLT Salad
- Breakfast Pizza
1. Just the Bacon
I mean, is there anything better than a perfectly cooked piece of bacon? I know that there’s a great debate whether it should be crispy or chewy, but whichever way you like it is the way to go. I prefer mine thicker cut and baked so it’s crispy on the outside and chewy in the inside. Pair this with your favorite wine—because it goes with them all!
2. Biscuits and Bacon Gravy
Listen, I’m not trying to change your mind about traditional biscuits and gravy, they’re fine. But try substituting crumbled bacon for the sausage. This is a BACON blog, after all. I even use some of the rendered bacon fat for the gravy (that gives it more bacon flavor). Here’s a recipe you can try at home. Pair this with a nice Sauvignon Blanc, like our 2019 Jitterbug Sauvignon Blanc, which was recently awarded a Silver rating in the World Wine Championships.
3. Bacon Mac ‘n’ Cheese
This is my favorite meal ever. Again, use the bacon fat in your cheese sauce to amp up the flavor. If you’re not making your own cheese sauce for mac ‘n’ cheese—it’s really easy to do and you can control the flavors. I recommend goat cheese as one of the cheeses. Cabernet Sauvignon is ready to stand up to this dish, and you might enjoy our new 2020 Stateroom Cabernet Sauvignon from South Africa.
Love pairing food and wine? Use our Sommology tool at home to get your wine pairing right every time!
4. Bacon “Candy”
This is the ultimate bacon food for me. Bake a sheet of bacon in a 400-degree oven until it is partially cooked. Then, add some brown sugar and red pepper flakes on top. This will bring a nice sweetness and heat. I’m drooling just thinking about this! Because this styled of bacon is both sweet and spicy, choose a semi-sweet white wine, like our Hoot White Blend. Never baked your bacon? Here are some great tips to get you started.
5. Bacon and Cheese Waffles
One of the latest trends seems to be adding all sorts of flavors to waffles. Why wouldn’t you do this? Salty and sweet go hand in hand, especially at brunch when you can’t decide which flavor you want! Here’s a recipe for Bacon and Cheese Waffles to turn your next waffle weekend into something special. Reach for Sauvignon Blanc to pair with this recipe.
6. Bacon-Wrapped Tater Tot “Bombs”
Bacon wrapped around tater tots with a slice of cheese in between. Need I say more? Choose your cheese. I’ve used cheddar and mozzarella and both were amazing. Again, I bake these or make them in an air fryer for extra crispiness. The cheese in your Bacon Bombs will determine your wine pairing. For cheddar, pair this with a medium-to-full bodied red with some tannin, like our Silver-rated 2018 Lazy Lab Cabernet Sauvignon. If you choose mozzarella, I recommend our 2019 Bella Mente Pinot Grigio.
7. BLT Salad
Yes, adding salad to bacon makes it healthy. I think this one is pretty self-explanatory! Add French bread cubes or croutons and ripe, chopped tomato. This will pair nicely with a more full-bodied white wine, like a Chardonnay or a Grüner Veltliner, like our Gold-rated 2019 Lulo.
8. Breakfast Pizza
I’m an Iowa transplant. I had never heard of breakfast pizza until I moved here. Let’s just say it’s pretty popular here, and pretty darn good. Of course, topping it with A LOT of bacon makes it even better! Again, this dish wants a fuller wine to compete with all its richness, so you could choose a hefty red like our 2019 Pendeloque Syrah/Cabernet Sauvignon or our 2019 Lulo Grüner Veltliner or a nice Chardonnay.
At Traveling Vineyard, we are all about helping you and your palate explore new ways to wine. Ready to host a spring wine tasting or virtual wine tasting. Reach out today, and let’s get your bacon and wine tasting in the books!