If you want to get in a heated debate with a foodie, ask them what is the best tomato for a BLT. Like all foodies before me, I have strong feelings about this topic as well.
When making the perfect BLT sandwich, the tomato is an essential ingredient. After all, the sandwich only has 3 main ingredients.
Some varieties are better suited for this classic sandwich than others.
Let’s dive in and explore together the best tomatoes for a BLT.
My ranking for the best tomatoes for a BLT
- Beefsteak tomatoes
- Roma tomatoes
- Heirloom tomatoes
The Importance of Choosing the Right Tomato for Your BLT
While every ingredient in this classic sandwich is essential, picking the right tomato matters, and not all tomatoes are created equally.
You want to pick a ripe tomato that is firm but juicy. If you pick an overripe tomato, it will be watery and could cause your sandwich to fall apart in your hands.
You also need to pick a tomato that is the proper size for your sandwich. While we love grape tomatoes because they are so tasty, they easily slide out of sandwiches and create a frustrating experience. I use them as a last resort or sometimes on mini BLT sandwiches.
Two tips for picking tomatoes for BLTs
- Pick ripe and firm tomatoes that have a slight give when gently squeezed.
- Pick tomatoes that are deep red in color and don’t have any bruises.
Beefsteak Tomatoes: A Classic Choice for BLTs
Beefsteak tomatoes are the best kind of tomatoes for BLTs. They are large, meaty, and have a sweet flavor (when they are ripe).
They also hold up well on a sandwich, especially when cut into thick slices. This means that you are less likely to end up with a soggy mess of a sandwich.
Roma Tomatoes: A Meaty Option for Your BLT Sandwich
When picking the perfect tomato for a BLT, don’t overlook the meaty Roma tomato. It is a delicious tomato choice for a BLT sandwich.
Roma tomatoes are meaty, meaning they have a low water content. This means that when you cut into one, it won’t be soggy and cause your sandwich to be soggy.
Another advantage of a Roma tomato for BLTs is that it will hold up well on the sandwich. You can cut them in the oblong shape into long slices, which will help them stay in place on the sandwich better.
Also, Roma tomatoes are a bit sweeter than beefsteak tomatoes, a nice contrast to the salty bacon.
Heirloom Tomatoes: A Flavorful Twist on the Traditional BLT
Now, if you want something unique for your BLT, use an heirloom tomato.
They come in all shapes and colors and are quite distinct in flavor.
A common heirloom that you are likely to find at the grocery store is the Brandywine. It is large and has a rich flavor that tends to be sweeter. This will make a delicious BLT.
Another common heirloom that would be good on a BLT is the Cherokee Purple tomato. It is earthy with a sweet flavor, and it is pretty meaty. It will slice up nicely into thick, hearty slices for your sandwich.
Tips on heirloom tomatoes:
- They come in a variety of colors and shapes. The taste will vary by color. Buy a variety of colors and taste them to see which you prefer.
- Gently press, and if it is slightly soft, it is ripe. They taste best when they are ripe.
- Avoid bruised tomatoes.
- You can store heirloom tomatoes at room temperature for a few days after you buy them. After that, put them in the fridge for more extended storage.
The bottom line
Ultimately, the best tomato for a BLT is the hearty beefsteak tomato. It slices up nicely and complements the sandwich without stealing the show.