Recreating Berkeley Social Club’s Millionaire’s Bacon

photo of bacon on a plate
Abhi Varma/Staff

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One of the highlights of having brunch at Berkeley Social Club is the Millionaire’s Bacon. Its delectable bacon is thick-cut and deeply flavored — it tastes sweet, smoky and lightly spiced. The bacon is so sturdy and flavorful that it’s more reminiscent of Korean barbecue-style pork belly than any type of bacon you’ve eaten for breakfast before. It’s chewy and meaty, not crispy. This week, I attempted to recreate the bacon I’ve been thinking about since I last ate at Berkeley Social Club earlier this month.


  • Extra-thick cut bacon
  • Dark brown sugar
  • Cayenne pepper (or smoked paprika if you’re more into that flavor)
  • Red chili flakes
  • Black pepper
  • Salt
  • Parsley (optional)


  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F
  2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil to catch drippings and lay as many strips of bacon as possible in a single layer atop a wire rack
  3. Lightly season each strip of bacon with cayenne (or smoked paprika), red chili flakes, black pepper and salt. Emphasis on “lightly” with the cayenne — we are using three types of pepper here, so you don’t want too much of one type.
  4. Generously sprinkle brown sugar on the bacon.
  5. Pat all the seasoning so it’s evenly coated. Then, flip the bacon over and season the other side. 
  6. Bake your bacon for about 15 minutes or until you’ve reached your desired crispiness. 
  7. Optionally garnish with finely chopped parsley.
  8. Serve and watch people enjoy bacon more than they ever thought possible.

I was a little too ambitious with my cayenne when I made this and my bacon came out a bit too spicy. If you’re spice-averse, smoked paprika might work better by introducing a more barbeque-esque flavor that better complements all that brown sugar. When I inevitably make this again, I’ll probably include some garlic powder too! Whatever combination of flavorings you decide, be sure to include lots of brown sugar to give your bacon the requisite sweet, sticky glaze that makes this dish worthy of a millionaire’s breakfast. 

Contact Abhi Varma at [email protected].