I don’t know when or how exactly it began, but at some point in recent history, bacon has become the food of the United States.
Think about it. The average American eats 17.9 pounds of bacon per year; 1.7 billion pounds are consumed in the U.S. annually; we have a National Bacon Day (September 3); and in a recent survey conducted by Maple Leaf, 43 percent of participants said they’d rather have bacon than sex—and I’d imagine some of the rest were combining the two.
So where exactly are these bacon freaks? In looking at the locations used in the show “The United States of Bacon”, the U.S. bacon-consumer rankings, and various bacon specialty dishes and restaurants—I discovered that these I’ll-do-bacon-before-I’ll-do-you types are living among us all over the country. But in the 10 cities below, this bacon obsession is not just the norm, it is a way of life. Here are Movoto Real Estate‘s 10 best cities for bacon lovers:
10. Milwaukee, WI
Milwaukee rounds out our list, not as one of the top bacon-consuming markets in the U.S., but certainly one of the cities that has the most fun with bacon. Sure, you can visit Milwaukee’s annual Baconfest, but for those who can’t wait, Milwaukee is also home of lots of year-round bacon indulgences.
Check out AJ Bombers with their peanut butter bacon cheeseburgers. Oh! Or Comet Café with their bacon wrapped meatloaf sandwiches. Then there’s Saloon on Calhoun with their daily bacon happy hour! And, oh my gosh, there is more. So much more.
Thanks for the memories, Milwaukee—and by memories, I mean bacon.
9. Houston, TX
Houston may not have been featured on the “United States of Bacon” show—but that’s likely because they just haven’t gotten there yet. Houston is No. 7 on the list of bacon-consuming markets in the U.S. and hosts the Houston Baconfest each year.
Blah, blah, blah. Here’s the juicy stuff. Imagine: chicken fried bacon and bacon mac and pimento cheese—or even better, bacon jam-covered bacon-wrapped hot dogs from the Burger Guys—or even better, and bacon cotton candy at the Houston Rodeo. Over the top—or just right?
8. Seattle, WA
Seattle may not be one of the top bacon-consuming markets in the U.S., but it has been featured four times on “The United States of Bacon” and, I think, more than makes up for its smaller consumption with all of its crazy bacon options—and I do mean crazy.
Crazy example No. 1: Seattle’s J&D’s Foods is the company behind products like Baconnaise, Bacon Pop, and Bacon Lip Balm. Seattle is also home to local novelty store Archie McPhee with an online Bacon Store selling things like bacon candy and bacon notebooks.
Not enough for you bacon enthusiasts? How about the local Bacon Bowl event? Or the giant metal pig, Maximus Minimus, that roams the streets to feed the hungry and weary bacon-lovers? If you like your bacon slightly stoned, you can even find weed-infused bacon made from marijuana-fed pigs. Only in Seattle, man.
7. Des Moines, IA
Des Moines made the fatty cut, not because it is high up in the bacon-consuming market, but because it is high up in everything else bacon-related (including calories.) While Des Moines may not consume as much bacon as, say, New York, or even New Yorker Jim Gaffigan, Iowa is the No. 1 producer of bacon for the rest of us. Thanks, Iowa!
In Des Moines, you can check out the Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival and gorge yourself on the dishes featured (four times!) on “The United States of Bacon”. If you want to see the city bacon-style, start your tour with Jethro’s BBQ with their bacon sandwiches, move on to a side of bacon-wrapped jalapeño tater tots at Kelly’s Little Nipper, wash it down with a bacon bloody mary at Machine Shed, and then round it out with a late night snack—or 10—with the huge selection of bacon burgers at Zombie Burger.
So named because of how you’ll feel afterward? Worth it.
6. Baltimore, MD
Baltimore wins points as the fourth most bacon-consuming city in the U.S. and its two restaurants featured on “The United States of Bacon”. But beyond that, Baltimore celebrates bacon right—with beer. The Beer and Bacon Festival here and Dempsey’s Brew Pub with bacon on a stick are (perhaps literally) heart-stoppingly good. If you’re hungry for more, visit the Bullpen for a quadruple-decker sandwich with ham, beef, turkey, and, of course, lots and lots of bacon.
I think the name of the bacon-themed restaurant Bad Decisions pretty much sums up Baltimore’s bacon scene, with their delicious bacon-wrapped meatloaf and bacon mac-and-cheese.
5. Portland, OR
Of all these cities, I think Portland is the biggest food paradox. It is full of veggie-headed hippies, and seems to be counterbalanced with bacon-loving hipsters. If anywhere in the U.S. spawns a baconarian, it will be Portland.
“The United States of Bacon” has stopped by here three times, and for good reason. Portland is home to grease-laden festivals like Bacon Cup, the PDX Baconfest, and Bacon and Bourbon. It’s also the birthplace of Bacn.com, which features such necessities as bacon coffee, bacon clothes, and a bacon of the month club. Need support for your bacon addiction? Join the Bacon Lovers of Oregon. Hi, my name is Natalie and I’m a baconolic…
4. Philadelphia, PA
Philly may be known for cheesesteak, but these days, you’ll probably find some bacon crumbles in there as well. Because bacon just makes everything better. Deep fried oysters? Add some bacon aioli, like they do at Cochon in Philadelphia, and you have yourself a real meal. Tacos? Lame. How about taco shells made out of bacon, like they do at PYT?
Not only is Philadelphia the No. 6 bacon-consuming market in the U.S. and a three-time locale on the “United States of Bacon”, but it is also home to the actor Kevin Bacon. You can probably spot him walking around at the Philadelphia Bacon Fest—or at least find someone who is six degrees from him.
3. New York, NY
You know what the No. 1 bacon-consuming market in the U.S. loves more than eating bacon? Putting bacon on top of other foods and eating those.
Only in New York can you find restaurants completely devoted to “bacon fusion,” like Baconery and Crif Dogs, with its famous bacon-wrapped hot dogs. Fancy something for dessert? Go for a bacon donut at Traif. And if you want to celebrate your love for bacon loud and proud, just head to New York’s Bacon Bash and Baconfests, where each year, thousands gather to celebrate the pig’s greatest gift.
2. Chicago, IL
Chicago, home of the deep dish bacon pizza, comes in second on our list. This city is the fifth on the list of bacon-consuming markets in the U.S. and has appeared three times on “United States of Bacon.”
Here, you can celebrate your love of bacon loud and proud at festivals like Baconfest and Beer and Bacon Fest. If that’s not enough, visit Paddy Long’s—a completely bacon-themed restaurant. If that’s still not enough bacon for you, just dab on some “bacōn,” a bacon-scented cologne by Chicago company Fargginay. Attract the obese mate of your dreams—or a new Rottweiler.
1. Los Angeles, CA
Angelinos love their bacon—and the numbers prove it. Under New York, Los Angeles is the No. 2 bacon-consuming market in America. Also, this City of Pork-Eating Angels has appeared not once or twice, but four times on the show “United States of Bacon.”
Want more? Here you can visit the LA Bacon Festival, the Bacon Social, and even the website BaconFreak.com; you can munch on things like bacon-wrapped bacon, popcorn bacon, and bacon ice cream from the Sweet Rose Bakery. If you’re looking for something harder, go for some crack—bacon crack that is. It may not be healthy—but hey, it’s better than actual crack (and cheaper too, at just $8 a hit!).
Because there is no such thing as too much bacon…
Boston deserves a mention because of its population of proud bacon-lovers. Each year, they celebrate with the Boston Bacon and Beer Fest, Bacon Palooza, and Bacon de Mayo. There is even a Boston Bacon Society—a group dedicated to nothing more than promoting the gloriousness that is bacon. Most likely they all have houses on Bacon Street. Yes, that’s a real street in Boston.
Charleston gets a greasy bacon nod mostly because of one man: Jeremiah Bacon. Real name. He is a nationally acclaimed chef and the owner of Charleston’s The Macintosh, which offers the happiest kind of happy hour: one devoted entirely to bacon.
San Diego, CA
If you think San Diego and think healthy and fit, well, you’re mostly right. But when it comes time to indulge, they do it right: with bacon. San Diego is home to the Maple Bacon S’more Bar, seven different bacon sushi rolls at restaurant Sabuku, and even a bacon Manhattan cocktail at Quality Social. “San Diego, Spanish for… bacon.” Agree to disagree.