Sometimes it’s the little things that let couples know they’re a fit. For example, Joe Kindred likes a wing’s drumette. Katy Kindred likes the flats. But the real indicator of the couple’s compatibility comes down to a shared attention to detail, especially when it comes to food.
It’s what attracted them when they met while working at a Chicago restaurant and sustained them during years in two of San Francisco’s best dining rooms. And it’s why Kindred, which they opened in tiny Davidson, North Carolina, in 2015, and its sister restaurant, Hello, Sailor on Lake Norman, are national culinary stars. Minding the details is also why their BLT will change the way you think about the sandwich.
With something as simple as a sandwich, there’s nothing to hide behind. That’s why Joe, the chef, while Katy handles the wine, design, and service, takes care with every ingredient. It’s all about bringing out the best in something, whether it’s a pristine piece of fish or a beautiful tomato. “Our time in San Francisco really opened my eyes to simplicity and ingredients and how important an olive oil or a vinegar can be,” he says.
Building their BLT starts with great bread. They use a Pullman-style benne seed sourdough from Verdant Bread in Charlotte. It gets toasted to a deep golden brown, rubbed with a garlic clove, and drizzled with a little olive oil—but not too much. You don’t want limp bread before you start layering on ingredients. “Dry toast is just super crucial,” Joe says. “It’s better able to soak up some juice from the tomato and fat from the bacon.”
The bacon is thick cut and roasted in the oven, which helps keep the strips flat. The Kindreds like to use tiger-striped heirloom tomatoes, but any good garden tomato will work fine as long as you have two thick slices for each sandwich. (For the record, the tomato is his favorite Southern summer produce. Melons are hers.)
A good BLT needs a liberal layer of mayonnaise, which they see as an opportunity to add more flavor. They blend Duke’s with chopped basil and freshly ground black pepper. Use Tellicherry peppercorns if you really want to finesse every bit of your sandwich. Last, a dab or two of the seasoned mayo goes into a bowl with a teaspoon of pickle juice for a quick dressing that elevates crispy Little Gem lettuce leaves.
“It’s got some great tang from the pickle juice, some freshness from the basil, and the fat and saltiness from the bacon,” Joe says. “It really is the best BLT.”