¼ cup (packed) dark brown sugar (optional)
4 teaspoons chipotle chile powder (optional)
4 teaspoons smoked paprika (optional)
1½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided (optional)
¼ cup pure maple syrup (optional)
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard (optional)
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
2 pounds thick-cut bacon
2 heads of red romaine lettuce, separated into individual leaves
4 large beefsteak tomatoes, sliced ¼-inch thick
16 ½-inch slices white bread, toasted, such as pan de mie
Flaky sea salt, freshly ground pepper
Place racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 400°.
If making brown-sugar rub, whisk brown sugar, chile powder, paprika, and 1 tsp. kosher salt in a small bowl.
If making maple-mustard glaze, whisk maple syrup, mustard, cayenne, and remaining ½ tsp. kosher salt in another small bowl.
For plain bacon, divide between 2 wire racks set inside large foil-lined rimmed baking sheets. Bake, rotating baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through, until brown and crisp, 35–50 minutes (depending on the thickness of the bacon). Transfer to paper towels to drain.
For flavored bacon, generously sprinkle desired amount (you’ll have enough rub and glaze for 1 lb. bacon each) with rub or brush with glaze about 5 minutes before it is done cooking. Rub should be melted and bubbling and glaze should look thick and caramelized.
Arrange bacon on a large platter and serve with lettuce, tomatoes, toast, mayonnaise, Sriracha Mayonnaise, Lemon-Herb Mayonnaise, sea salt, and pepper alongside for building sandwiches.
Recipe by Rick Martinez, Photos by Christopher Testani