Also called 'deli-style,' the BEC - bacon egg and cheese - is something that New York, specifically New York City, is wholly known for. Those who grew up in the great state of New York know that no childhood is truly complete without one of these on a busy weekday morning or a lazy Sunday afternoon (if donuts or bagels aren't the first options). It has become such a staple that around the country, the OG sandwich officially just goes by the name of BEC, and everyone knows exactly what we're talking about.


It starts with the scent: That delicious, cheesy, slightly eggy, and salty scent that wafts up in the steam exuded by the hot sandwich. Then, the scent of freshly-melted butter joins in a chorus of cholesterol (that no one in New York actually counts as unhealthy) before taking that first, heavenly bite. The combination of a slightly-toasted bagel that's been smothered with butter and a perfectly-fried egg all melts into one perfect mouthful... and then the cheese. That gooey, hot cheese that oozes in between the crispy parts of the bacon is nothing short of euphoric.

This is how to make the breakfast sandwich that ended all other breakfast sandwiches.

The Base: Bread

The base of the BEC is debatable. Some feel that the original option should always be a deli roll while others will duke it out while insisting that a bagel is the only way to truly eat an egg sandwich. Regardless of which base these toppings sit upon, it must be done correctly. Normally, there would be a flattop involved somewhere which would only enhance both the flavor and the absorption of butter.

Since most people don't have a flattop in their kitchen, a griddle is the next best thing. No griddle? try a cast iron or nonstick pan. The roll or bagel should be toasted only slightly - just enough that it will melt the butter and leave a whisper of color. Dollop some butter on that bad boy, watch the glory of the melting process, and set it aside for now... And don't even think about breaking that oven out.

The Eggs: Fried

The egg part of a BEC is truly personal preference and there's no wrong way to cook them. In New York, if a person asks for a BEC and doesn't clarify how they want their eggs, they're automatically fried to completion. Therefore, those who desire a runny yolk will want to cook eggs according to their own personal specifications.

The trick to creating a New York-style BEC is in the preparation of the eggs, however; no matter how they're cooked, the eggs need to be cracked close enough together in the pan that they cook together, in enough butter so that there's both flavor and no risk of sticking. For those who want a truly fried egg, puncture the yolks after flipping, about halfway into cooking, to get that classic finish.

Related: 12 Strange (But Real) Things Only People Living In New York City Will Experience

The Cheese: American Only

This is not up for debate on any level. The only cheese that's ever okay to be used in a BEC is American cheese because to this day, it's still the only deli cheese that provides the perfect texture, melt, consistency, and flavor.

Delis will try to trick patrons by asking what they'd like as their cheese, but they, too, know that the only real option is a couple of slices of American cheese. Only one to two, though - any more and it'll be a grilled cheese with some eggs. Depending on the roll and bagel size, two might be needed but more often than not, one will do the trick. Lay the cheese so that it perfectly covers the eggs, of which there should be two.

Related: What It's Like To Eat At The Famous Katz's Delicatessen In New York City

The Meat: Sometimes Turkey Or Sausage Is Okay

Yet another famous debate. Turkey egg sandwiches are delicious and also a (gasp) healthier alternative to bacon, and really the only suitable substitute for bacon since turkey is such a New York deli meat. However, this isn't about how to cook a turkey-egg-and-cheese. This is also not about how to cook a sausage-egg-and-cheese, but the same rules apply: Cook the meat separate from the actual sandwich. A very quick grill on the turkey and a full crisp on the sausage should be satisfactory, then set aside.

For those who want to pep up their roll or bagel flavor, the bread could be toasted in the fat from the bacon, but that could be against the law, who knows.

To finish a great BEC, the egg and cheese pile should be placed atop the bottom roll or bagel half, then topped with the (cooked) bacon, turkey, sausage, etc., before being placed under the broiler until the cheese is melted and the meat is hot. Top with the lid and prepared to experience perfection.

Next: New York State Is Home To Some Of The Best Craft Breweries In The Country