Bacon Grease Chip Dip

In a past life I regularly indulged in a bacon blue cheese dip I discovered at a New-Orleans themed bakery called Bayou Bakery in Arlington, Virginia. I learned this neighborhood eatery had earned its chops in the national culinary scene led at the helm by an amazing and inspired executive chef, David Guas.

But back to the dip. It was borderline illegal.

I haven’t been back there in years, and looking at their menu online it looks like they are no longer serving it. Even more reason for me to try to recreate something similar.

One feature that made this bacon dip stand out from the rest had a lot to do with the unabashedly high level of sodium in it – you couldn’t eat too much of it at once. But I love that salt overload. It was right up my alley.

The base of the dip had to have been sour cream – probably some cream cheese too. And it was served ice cold, with kettle cooked Zapp’s Voodoo Potato Chips.

Mixed with hearty, thickly sliced scallions stalks, the chunkiness of the blue cheese complemented the overwhelming bacon flavor. I mean, it was overpowering.

This dip is going to make you question the extent of your love for bacon. I think this is a frontier we should all allow ourselves to explore.

Although I can’t go back for this beloved dip, I need to get my butt over there for their Muff-A-Lotta sandwich, which won a spot in Food & Wine’s nationwide search for the “20 Best Sandwiches,” and their pimento cheese dip, because I have a strong suspicion they do that r-e-a-l right.

There’s so many bacon dips out there, but this one shot to the top of my list and is likely there to stay  – what’s your favorite go-to or passed down recipe for bacon dip?

I N G R E D I E N T S

Serves approximately 4 as an appetizer. This is heavy stuff!

  • 10 slices center cut bacon, small diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 block cream cheese
  • 2 / 3 cup crème fraiche
  • 4 stalks scallions, sliced thickly, dark green stems excluded
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

Hankerings’ Salt & Vinegar Potato Chips are a great accompaniment to this dip.

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Cook the bacon on medium heat until the fat is rendered, browning the bacon until it is crispy. Remove 2 to 3 tablespoons of the bacon fat and some of the bacon for garnish.
  2. In the same skillet, add the garlic, sautéing for 2 to 3 minutes. Be sure to scrape up the brown bits off the bottom of the pan throughout this entire process.
  3. Add the cream cheese, crème fraiche, salt and pepper to the skillet. Stir until uniform throughout. The bacon fat will need to be stirred in slowly. It will appear separated from the cream cheese, but eventually it will incorporate into the mixture. Remove from the heat, place dip into a separate bowl, and allow to chill in the fridge for 1 to 2 hours.
  4. Once chilled through, stir in the chopped scallions. Briefly heat the bacon fat, if hardened, in the microwave until it is pourable, and pour over the dip. Garnish with bacon as well, if desired.
  5. Serve cold with kettle-cooked potato chips.

Garlicky Spinach, Crab & Artichoke Dip

Your classic all-American dips, the ones you’ll see at any football party – onion, buffalo chicken, bean & cheese, bacon, ranch, spinach-artichoke, crab-artichoke – have been a socially acceptable excuse to eat what is typically just a hot, cheesy mayonnaise mixture. One of the many reasons I love the country we live in.

The spinach-artichoke or crab-artichoke dip you’ll find in restaurants everywhere is no exception. We inhale chipfuls of it under the guise of eating vegetables.

Sometimes I’ll make a skillet of dip for dinner. What else do you need? I get so full on it, the main course ends up being out of the question anyway.

And what’s the deal with the imitation crab meat? Why do I love it so much? I knew it was made of pollock, but I learned it’s essentially a manufactured paste formed into sticks and dyed red to mimic the appearance of those nice, long pieces of crab meat you’ll pull out of crab legs. I do have a serious love for processed meats, so it makes sense I’d have a love for processed seafood.

Imitation crab meat may imitate too well, because I prefer it over actual crab in this recipe. It makes it much more of a dip you would’ve eaten while you grew up. Plus, it’s cheaper.

So much garlic is required to help this dish reach its potential. I’m talking double the amount of garlic you think you’d need. Not a whole bulb, but a whopping eight to ten cloves. You’ll be surprised how the garlic still manages to linger in the background with all the other flavors in here.

The other musts? Citrus and Old Bay seasoning.

I love lemon, but I find lime doesn’t get as much action in savory cooking that isn’t Tex Mex, and it’s a match made in heaven with any seafood. So I added the juice and the zest of both in here.

And do I need to explain why I’m adding Old Bay? Because this is a crab dip, dummy! 😊

What is the best chip for this dip? That’s the million dollar question. But I think if this question were posed in an episode of Family Feud, pita chips would win out. It’s just the classic go-to for accompanying spinach artichoke dip – probably since cavemen roamed the earth.

Homemade pita chips are a cut above the store-bought pita chip brands. Here I bought a stack of packaged pita bread, cut the rounds into eights like a pizza, brushed the triangles with olive oil, and sprinkled them with salt & pepper. Then just broil until crisped.

Don’t worry about getting too full on this – if you’re not having a main course, that means you can eat the entire skillet for dinner! And no one can judge you for it. 😊

I N G R E D I E N T S

F o r  t h e  D i p

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 / 2 cup sour cream
  • 1 / 2 cup parm reg, shredded
  • 8 – 10 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup frozen spinach
  • 8 oz. quartered artichokes, in oil or water
  • 6 sticks imitation crab meat, chopped roughly
  • 1 lemon, juiced and zested
  • 1 lime, juiced and zested
  • 1 / 4 cup fresh parsley, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
  • Olive oil, for drizzling
  • Salt, as needed
  • Pepper, as needed

F o r  t h e  P i t a  C h i p s

  • 1 package pita bread
  • Olive oil, as needed
  • Salt, as needed
  • Pepper, as needed

D I R E C T I O N S

  1. Preheat the oven to *450 (you will later lower the temperature to *375).
  2. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet, and add the frozen spinach, artichokes, garlic, a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper. Sautee on medium-low heat for about five minutes.
  3. In the meantime, in a large bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, parm reg, imitation crab meat, juice and zest of one lemon and one lime, fresh parsley, Old Bay seasoning, a heavy pinch of salt and a heavy pinch of pepper. Combine & set aside.
  4. Cut the pita bread into eighths. Lay the triangles on a sheet pan, brushing both sides with olive oil and sprinkling with salt and pepper. Broil in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes until golden brown.
  5. Reset the temperature on the oven from *450 to *375.
  6. After five minutes of sautéing the vegetables, remove the mixture from the heat, adding it to the mayonnaise mixture. Combine.
  7. Pour the dip into a medium-sized skillet, evening out the surface. Put the dip in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes until the dip is bubbling and the top is golden brown. Drizzle with olive oil for garnish. Serve alongside the pita chips.