Happy belated to Elvis

FYI: Elvis is still alive, and he lives in one of the lunar ascent modules NASA left behind on the moon.

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Read Time: 9 minutes

Oh no! Elvis’ 89th birthday was just last week, and you all neglected to remind me. We forgot to celebrate. I’m going to fix that by making The King of Rock and Roll’s favorite sandwich from scratch. You’re responsible for bringing the paper plates and napkins.

What is Elvis’ favorite sandwich?

It is believed and documented that Elvis’ favorite sandwich was a combination of banana and peanut butter on simple white bread fried in a whole lot of butter. At least one account says that Elvis liked his banana and peanut butter sandwiches with crisp bacon in them but there are disputing accounts about that. Most of what you will see from people who knew Elvis is that he enjoyed bacon, but not necessarily in his peanut butter and banana sandwiches.

Despite what is probably the truth, if you ever see the name Elvis in the sandwich section of a restaurant menu, that sandwich will include bacon, bananas, and peanut butter.

Elvis’ personal chef, Mary Jenkins Langston, spoke about how rich and full of butter Elvis wanted his sandwiches to be. In her obituary in the New York Times, Jenkins Langston spoke about the sandwich. ”It’d be just floating in butter,” she said. ”You’d turn it and turn it and turn it until all the butter was soaked up; that’s when he liked it.”

In that same NYT obituary, it’s also mentioned that she toasted the bread before assembling the sandwich and then she grilled the sandwich. So, the bread got a second toast in butter. To fit Elvis’ taste, she used two sticks of butter to fry/griddle three sandwiches. This is a crazy amount of butter, and I will not be attempting to recreate that exact part. But my friend, Jim, over at the Sandwich Tribunal recreated Elvis’ sandwich as intended and you should go read about his buttery experience.

For now, though, I’m going to show you how I made a similar sandwich with just peanut butter and bananas as well as several with bacon. I even tested an interesting vegetarian bacon that would, in theory, fit in with the other sandwich ingredients. Stick around to see what I came up with. First, we need some white bread.

Honey white sandwich loaf

A peanut butter-focused sandwich screams for simple white bread slices.

The recipe I chose for this sandwich is the same as one of my simple white bread recipes with a bit more sweetness (in the form of honey) involved. I felt like a little honey flavor in the final slices would make for a more interesting bread for a peanut butter sandwich.

A slice of white bread, ready for peanut buttering.

As you’ll read below, I also use honey to sweeten my homemade peanut butter, so the plan was for the two to work well to complement each other in a great sandwich.

The dough has been shaped and placed in the pan to rise.
Fifty-five minutes of rise time later the dough has reached above the lip of the pan.
An egg wash and the extra honey in the dough lead to a very nice browning in the final bread.

The recipe below is the base for what I baked for this sandwich. I just took out the sugar and added double the amount of honey. I’m not going to write an actual recipe for honey white bread yet, but if you are interested in trying it for yourself, that’s what I did.

This loaf recipe is fairly simple and easy to prepare but it does require dry/powdered milk that provides flavor and softness to a finished bread recipe. Milk powder also should help with the browning process on the crust of the bread because of the sugar in the dried milk.

This pan needs some googly eyes to complete the look.

In my experience, you can omit the milk powder in a lot of recipes, but it is a very shelf-stable ingredient that should stay fresh in your pantry for a year or two and it is great to have on hand if you realize early one Saturday morning that you accidentally forgot to buy milk for the waffle batter.

Here’s the bread recipe I used for this sandwich. As I said above, I omitted the sugar and used double the amount of honey instead. But the sandwich would be just fine with the original recipe.

3 hours
Simple white sandwich bread

A super easy to work with dough that produces a very simple white bread loaf, perfect for slicing and sandwiching.

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Homemade peanut butter

I made some honey-roasted peanut butter during the first few months of this sandwich blog, and I haven’t made any since. We do usually have peanut butter in my house though because I am always prepared for snacking. I like Justin’s Honey Peanut Butter (not a sponsor—but hit me up) and usually will keep that in the pantry. Brands like Justin’s aren’t cheap, but neither is making your own. Nuts are fairly expensive.

Currently, I can get a jar of Justin’s peanut butter for $6.39 (Chicago prices) and I can buy the amount of Planters brand nuts I need for this recipe for $4.49. So, you save a bit less than 2 dollars if you make it yourself and use name-brand nuts. You can shop around and buy cheaper nuts to save even more. You also need to own a food processor to blend the nuts into nut butter.

Spreadable, smooth, homemade peanut butter only takes three ingredients and a bit of food processing.

Why make homemade peanut butter?

The benefit of making peanut butter is that you control all the variables. You can change the seasoning and consistency to your tastes. If you need less salt or desire more salt, you can control that. You can also add things like cayenne pepper powder, cinnamon, or even vanilla and you can change up or mix and match the nuts that you use. I have made cashew butter before, and it has an entirely different taste than regular peanut butter.

You also have full control over the consistency of the final nut butter. If you want to make crunchy peanut butter, hold back a quarter or a half of a cup of the nuts and chop them up with a knife. Once the rest of the peanut butter is smooth, you can simply add the chopped nuts and stir them in for all the nutty chunks you desire.

You too can turn nuts into nut butter.
Heck yeah. Snack time.

Here’s the simple recipe that I use for making peanut butter. As I said above, you can change out the type of nuts as well for a whole different experience.

12 minutes
Honey roasted peanut butter

Smooth, sweet and salty peanuts are great on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or the topping on a burger. Or you can just buy some crackers and go to town for snacks.

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Banana slices

I’m not sure what to even write about slices of banana. They are bananas that have been peeled and sliced. But don’t throw away those peels just yet. Keep reading.

First, you peel and slice a banana.
Then you add it to the sandwich.

Bacon options?

I attempted three different bacon options for these sandwiches. Only two made it into the final versions though.

Oven-baked bacon

As usual, I baked bacon in the oven for most of these sandwiches. I have shared this recipe many times and it’s super easy, produces flat and crispy pieces of bacon, and if you’re ok using and disposing of a couple of sheets of aluminum foil, it requires very little in the way of cleaning.

Also: don’t toss out the aluminum foil without capturing some of the leftover bacon grease in a container for use later.

Is this the plate of bacon you ordered?

Banana peel bacon!?

Yeah, you read that right. Someone who was very hungry decided to season and then cook banana peels in the same way you would cook stove-top bacon. I tried it and it’s interesting.

Supposedly this works best with ripe bananas. I didn’t try any green ones because I followed instructions.
Use a spoon and scrape out the inside flesh of the peel. This isn’t fun to eat.
Now you’re left with just the peels of the banana, and we need to season them in a marinade.

First, you need some banana peels that are sort of the size of bacon. Then you need to make sure you flip the peels over and scrape out the inner flesh on the inside of the skin. This is where you get the “strings” that you’ll find when you peel a banana. No one wants to eat those even though they are supposedly nutritious.

Once you have your cleaned-up banana peels, it’s time to marinade. The recipe I followed uses soy sauce, maple syrup, smoked paprika, and garlic powder for seasoning. Let the banana peels soak up some of the flavor for at least 10 minutes or up to a few hours until it’s time to cook.

Soy sauce and maple syrup are the primary flavors in the marinade.
After the marinade, you simply cook the banana peels like you would bacon, but the cooking time is much shorter.
You only need a minute or two on medium heat to get some color and get the banana peels to crisp up. It will crisp even more when it rests on paper towels.
I feel like I overcooked this batch a little. There’s maple syrup in the marinade so you have to be quick, or it could burn.
Banana peel bacon is crispy but also pretty chewy.

I think there’s a place for banana peel bacon and my wife and I enjoyed the flavor and the texture a bit, but I don’t think it would work too well in this sandwich. The peel requires a bit more effort to bite through than normal bacon, and I think it would cause too much resistance in this particular sandwich. So, I did not pursue the idea of making a vegetarian version of the peanut butter, banana, and bacon sandwich any further. But you can if you want!

If you want to try your own, here’s the banana peel bacon recipe that I used.

Bacon jam?

I shared this bacon jam recipe way back in 2021 when I wrote my peanut butter and jelly/jam blog post. I have made it a time or two since then and it’s great on burgers or tucked into a grilled cheese sandwich. I figured I would give it a shot in this Elvis-related sandwich because it seemed like it would be perfect with the combination since I enjoyed it so much with cashew butter before.

As you cook the bacon and onions soften and mingle with maple syrup and apple cider vinegar to become magic stuff.
Bacon jam is sweet, a little spicy, and very savory and makes a great addition to a sandwich.
Recipe Card
35 minutes
Bacon jam

Bacon jam is fantastic as a burger topping but it's even better as a condiment in your next grilled cheese.

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Bacon strips vs bacon jam

Out of three bacon options, I kicked banana peel bacon to the curb and am now left with just two. Regular bacon and bacon jam. Both were great additions to the final peanut butter and banana sandwich and they both had plusses and minuses.

The regular bacon strips were a salty and savory addition—even more so than the bacon jam. Regular bacon also brought a lot more crispness than the bacon jam. Bacon jam does bring an enjoyable texture to the sandwich, but it’s not the same as regular bacon because it is cooked down into a different consistency. The bacon jam also performed extremely well in terms of additional flavors that were brought to the sandwich. This factor alone changed the whole tone of the sandwich.

If we want to fully record which bacon option I prefer, I’d have to say the bacon jam. But they were both great sandwiches in their own way. Since I enjoyed the bacon jam version just a little bit more, I added it to the recipe for this sandwich down below.

Ode to Elvis sandwich process and recipe

Now let’s put this sandwich together.

I put a thin layer of peanut butter on the top and a thicker layer under the bananas. I like peanut butter on both sides so that it holds everything together.
I used more bacon than was needed, but WWED: What Would Elvis Do?

Butter frying

Elvis’ chef uses a whole bunch of butter for each sandwich. I don’t particularly want to die like he did so I opted to use less. The process of cooking these sandwiches is just like making grilled cheese except you don’t have to worry quite as much about the ingredients between the bread getting melty.

I used about a teaspoon of butter per side of the sandwich. This might be more or less than a lot of folks use, but it works well for me.

Frying bread in butter is an amazing thing.

Let the sandwich rest

I’m sure that some of you avid readers are getting tired of me saying this but let the sandwich rest on a cooling rack after it comes out of the pan or griddle. The hot, buttery toasted bread will steam itself if you move it straight to a plate.

If you don’t believe me, just look for the damp spot on your plate under your next grilled cheese sandwich or even your next piece of toast. That moisture means your bread is steaming itself and making the whole bottom half of the sandwich soggy.

Butter-fried peanut butter, banana, and bacon sandwich resting on a rack.

We put effort into trying to achieve a golden brown, buttery exterior, so letting the sandwich rest protects our investment.

Ode to Elvis sandwich

Here are a bunch of photos of peanut butter, banana, and bacon sandwiches. Just so you are aware, I ate a lot of bananas this week. ?

This was the only sandwich I made without bacon of any sort. It was good but the bacon adds some extra texture that this was missing.
I only used about 2 or 3 teaspoons worth of butter to make these sandwiches. Elvis’ chef used at least 6 times that amount.
The crispiness added by the bacon slices helps out since the bananas and peanut butter are both soft.
Happy Birthday to a guy who supposedly died in 1977!
It’s like a grilled cheese but the cheese turned into bananas, peanut butter, and bacon.
You might be surprised, but this week was the first time that I ever ate a banana on a sandwich before. And I think I made up for it with five or six different banana sandwiches.
This was the day I made two peanut butter, banana, and bacon sandwiches. Newsflash: I couldn’t eat both.
The bacon jam version of these sandwiches was more interesting than just bacon, but they were both really good.
Ode to Elvis sandwich (peanut butter, banana, and bacon jam) view printable page for this recipe

This sweet and savory sandwich is packed full of peanut butter, banana slices, and slightly spicy bacon jam then fried in butter, leaving us with a crispy, rich, flavorful experience.


Ingredients:

Bacon jam
  • 1 pound bacon sliced into half inch pieces
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced
  • 14 cup maple syrup
  • 13 cup dark brown sugar (regular brown is ok)
  • 13 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 12 teaspoon cayenne pepper (add an extra 1/2 teaspoon for more heat)
  • pinch black pepper
Sandwich assembly
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 slices of soft white bread
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)
  • 1 whole banana, sliced into 1/4 inch tall circles
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons bacon jam (from above)

Directions:

Bacon jam: cook half-inch sliced bacon strips in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook until bacon gets brown and crispy. 

Remove bacon from the pan to a paper towel lined plate or bowl to drain. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the bacon fat in the pan. 

Add onions and cook until they are very soft—about 10 minutes. 

Add garlic, maple syrup, dark brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, chili powder, and black pepper to the pan with cooked onions. Stir to combine. 

Add bacon back into the pan with all the other ingredients. Cook while stirring frequently for about 10 minutes or until everything is soft and has the consistency of jam. 

Add finished and cooled bacon jam to a jar or covered container and store in the refrigerator for no more than a couple of weeks. 

Sandwich assembly: spread peanut butter on one slice of bread and then top with 8 to 10 banana slices. 

Top the banana slices with bacon jam and try to spread the jam around for an even layer. Top the bacon jam with the second slice of bread.

Place a medium pan or skillet over medium or just below medium heat.

Add a teaspoon of butter to the pan and when it has melted and is bubbly, place the sandwich on top of the bubbly butter.

Cook the first side of the sandwich for 2 to 3 minutes and then flip. Once flipped cook the second side for about the same amount of time. If both sides aren't sufficiently browned to your liking, flip and cook each side for an additional minute or two until browned and crispy.

Once browned, remove the sandwich and allow it to cool on a cooling rack for 2 minutes or so before serving.

Check back next week for more sandwiching

No bananas next week. Instead, it’ll be a bunch of meat. A whole lot of meat. And maybe some bread with the meat.


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