A long long time ago I had read an article about Miami Smokers and it sounded pretty legit. A local business focused on quality and sustainability to cure and smoke all kinds of products made from heritage pork. That’s all fine and dandy (no truly it is), but they have one big trump card that’s all that matters. BACON! Honestly any place that makes their own bacon is worth a stop in my book, but I’m glad that such effort and consideration is taken to make said bacon at Miami Smokers.
Miami Smokers started out by selling their products to local businesses out of a studio. A lot of restaurants went crazy for the locally cured and smoked pork products (come across a sandwich with Miami Smokers bacon or ham on Zac the Baker’s bread and you have like the ultimate duo of homegrown Miami craft food). I’ve come across their bacon at different restaurants (like on one of LoKal’s burger) and while it seemed great, the bacon wasn’t the main focus of whatever dish I was trying. That’s why I was excited to read about their expansion to a storefront in West Little Havana to sell directly to retail consumers and also offer lunch.
It caught my interest, but like a lot of places on this blog I didn’t pull the trigger for a while. There are just too many awesome places in Miami and too many new ones popping up… My urgency on visiting changed when I saw a Twitter subject (I guess that’s the word for the person being followed, although that sounds a bit weird. Followee? Leader?) post a picture of bacon wrapped plantains. Just let that sink in for a second… Bacon wrapped dates are one of my favorite foods (especially Sugarcane’s). I won’t try and pit two delicious foods against each other in a comparison competition, but on its own bacon wrapped plantains sound pretty incredible.
I wish I could say the discovery of bacon wrapped plantains led me to jump in the car right then or at least go for lunch the next day, but that wasn’t the case. It still was a little while before I visited. I did however mention it to a work friend and we agreed we’d check it out (at some point in the future), so I had more accountability. Miami Smokers is on NW 27th Ave and 3rd St. My office at the time was still in Midtown, so it wasn’t crazy far, but it was kind of a spot that required a long lunch. Eventually my friend and I found the time to visit and we headed over.
The outside of Miami Smokers is pretty nondescript, but the inside has that local, culinary start-up look. It has some industrial bones with decorations added (like a gigantic BEER light sign on the ceiling). There’s a display case with a lot of different meats you can take home, plus a counter to order. Along the walls are some products you can grab right there. There was one big table in the front to eat at. This might make it a bit challenging for eating it there if it’s busy or you have a large party, but we were the only ones there at first.
The person I follow on Twitter also posted a picture of a pretty incredible Cuban sandwich. Given Miami Smokers fame for pork products that would make sense. Unfortunately I can’t partake in the Cuban sandwich, but I encouraged my friend to try it. She ended up reading about the Smokehouse Salad (baby arugula, curly carrots, curly cucumbers, charred corn, heirloom tomatoes, pickled onions, bacon crisps, croutons, honey-lime vinaigrette) on the menu, which sounded pretty good to her.
I already knew quite a bit of what I wanted. I went for the bacon wrapped plantains of course, an order of bacon jerky (one of my addictions), and then a Toasted Krispy treat. I also was hoping to try the candied bacon, but they were out… They did have a charcuterie board of samples on top of the display case with some cut of pieces of the candied bacon. It seemed good, but I felt I couldn’t get a full impression.
The bacon jerky I grabbed off one of the shelves and we sat and waited for my food. I didn’t touch the bacon jerky while I waited for the other food (despite being very hungry and wanting to try it). Partially it was being polite to my friend, but if I’m being honest it was more to take a picture of everything together for Instagram (after all I could have shared some of the bacon jerky with her if I didn’t want to eat it in front of her before her food came). Finally the bacon wrapped plantains came out with her salad. I waited a few other minutes, but I wasn’t sure when the Toasted Krispy treat was coming out… I finally decided I needed to eat, took a pic of the bacon jerky and bacon wrapped plantains together, and then dug in. And then of course a minute later the Krispy treat came out… Ah well not that big of a deal.
The bacon wrapped plantains also come with some queso fresco cheese and a little bit of guayaba jelly on top. Despite the shared wrapped bacon part, these are quite different from bacon wrapped dates. It’s much sweeter given the plantain and guayaba jelly. I would say the cheese balances out the sweetness the most rather than the bacon. The bacon is pretty thin, so the entire thing is more soft than crispy/chewy. I bit one in half to try and savor the flavor more at first, but they were also kind of nice to just pop into your mouth as a kind of popper snack (once you removed the toothpicks of course). I liked these a lot. These are definitely more like a dessert than an appetizer though, so I’d get them again if I had multiple people to share them with, but they are a treat.
The bacon jerky was good quality and had a strong smoky taste. It seemed to have been smoked for quite a while, so it was less tender than bacon jerky I’ve bought in stores. I’ll be honest that what I love about the other bacon jerky I’ve had is that it’s tender and easy to chew (my jaw doesn’t hurt afterwards like with regular jerky). This wasn’t as soft and tender as I would have liked, but being made from bacon it still was easier to eat than regular jerky (and I’ll pick bacon jerky over regular jerky for the flavor any time). The smoky flavor was a nice touch and clearly showed the quality and process of making their meats.
The toasted Krispy treat was quite smoky and had little pieces of bacon throughout the rice krispies. It’s an interesting thing to try. At first I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to give another sweet item my full consideration given that I was eating it last and the bacon wrapped plantains had already been pretty sweet. I think the smoky taste just slightly outbalances the sweetness of the marshmallow though (lets say 55% to 45%). I’d say that this is more savory because of that, so it was a nice counterbalance to starting my lunch with the plantains. Reflecting on it I’m still a bit unsure of what I thought about it though. It’s weird to call it unique when I had bacon wrapped plantains already and it’s somewhat simple (rice Krispy treat with bacon added), but I don’t know if the Krispy treat can be that well defined. The flavors were definitely not simple. If you’re expecting sweet than you might be a bit surprised. The smoky flavor is strong, but it’s also not entirely a savory treat. It’s an interesting experience regardless and personally I’ll be happy with leaving the description as that.
Despite me slightly judging her getting a salad at a meat smoking shop, my friend really enjoyed hers. The bacon was excellent on the salad (not surprising) and she liked the quality of the other ingredients. She liked the honey-lime vinaigrette and also the addition of some of the more unusual salad toppings like the charred corn and pickled onions the most.
If you are a bacon fan then of course Miami Smokers seems like a must-do at some point. I am a huge bacon fan and I was glad to visit and certainly felt it was worth it. If you’re a sandwich fan (or just have the ability to eat sandwiches unlike me) than I encourage you even more to stop by. Some of the sandwiches look quite delicious and I’m sure the meat on them is excellent. I will be back to hopefully try the candied bacon and regular bacon (something I forgot to look into on my first trip). I also think they have added sausages to their menu since I last visited, as I see them now online and I don’t remember them being on there (I probably would have ordered one if so). You even can get them wrapped in bacon, so yes a return visit for me is a must! If you also are looking for local, excellent quality bacon or charcuterie options, certainly stop by Miami Smokers as well to pick some up or look for their products out around Miami.
Miami Smokers- 306 NW 27th Ave, Miami, FL 33125