the emperer burger

The Emperor Burger features a beef patty with shaved kielbasa, onion bacon kraut, a fried egg and Heinz Field Secret Sauce on a brioche bun.

*September is a great time to be a sports fan. The MLB is entering the last, exciting leg of the pennant race, the U.S. Open is in full swing and the NFL is just days from its season opener. Not to mention all the exciting college action that’s just around the corner.

Needless to say, you have plenty of reasons to head to your favorite stadium this fall. Not only do you get to watch your favorite team in person, but you also get to participate in one of America’s most treasured pastimes — eating bacon. Indeed, there appears to be a secret competition going on at professional sports stadiums to see who can create the most ostentatious and delicious bacon-centric concession stand item. We’ve scoured the country and found five that you must try. You’ll thank us later.

The Emperor: Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Paying tribute to both Pittsburgh’s Polish heritage and late Steelers coach Chuck Noll, The Emperor starts with two beef patties, onions, shaved kielbasa, a fried egg (obviously), sauerkraut and a Heinz Field Secret Sauce. I know what you’re wondering. Where’s the bacon? Well get this: The kraut has been cooked in bacon fat so you get that amazing bacon flavor without cramping the kielbasa style. You might call that cheating, but we call it insanely delicious.

Bacon on a Stick: MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey

If you like to meet your bacon head on, look no further than Pig Guy NYC’s bacon on a stick. Chef Thomas Perone used his culinary chops and BBQ obsession to create a simple and undeniably delicious tribute to the pork gods. This thick slab of hand-cut bacon has a jalapeno maple glaze that is so addictive, you’ll probably spend most of the game standing in line for another serving.

The Bacon Challenge: Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, Ohio

If you aren’t satisfied just eating bacon, there’s an appropriately-named Bacon Challenge in the Machine Room Grille at Great American Ball Park. For anyone with a normal bacon obsession, the restaurant offers a sandwich with a pound of bacon, lettuce, tomatoes and black pepper mayo. Competitive types have to eat four of these in six outs. Finish all four and you get a T-shirt, a free sandwich and a stomachache. Don’t finish them and you only get the stomachache.

Game Changer: Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia

The Game Changer isn’t a sandwich. It’s a week’s worth of meals that just happens to be served on a single hamburger bun. Take a healthy helping of pulled pork, and add mac and cheese, coleslaw, onion rings and bacon. The only thing it doesn’t have is the kitchen sink. Everyone should eat this sandwich at least once. Seriously. Grab a few tickets on Ticketmaster’s marketplace, get yourself to Atlanta and mark the Game Changer off your bucket list. You know you want to.

DaBurger Sliders: Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois

The DaBurger Sliders at Soldier Field are a veritable greatest hits collection of pork cuts. It all starts with a pepper jack-infused ground pork patty. Then they add a chorizo cream sauce, barbecued pulled pork, pork fat-fried potato sticks and, of course, a few slabs of bacon. The sandwich is as big as a football, so you might consider tackling it with a fork. And if you’re feeling health conscious, you can always have them hold that single slice of havarti cheese.