Nothing makes or breaks a meal like the decision to add bacon. If you want to take burgers, breakfasts or anything in a bun to the next level, there’s only one pork product you need on your shopping list. Otherwise lovely evenings have been completely ruined, all because someone forgot to buy a packet of something pink and smokey.
If you are a bacon aficionado, including it on the menu is only half the battle. While some people might consider slapping a slice on a frying pan and waiting to be an acceptable way to treat the world’s favourite meat, experts know that this is only going to lead to disappointment. It might look simple, but great bacon is a subtle art. For anyone sick of flaccid, fatty strips of flesh, this is the ultimate guide to cooking awesome bacon.
1. Cold Pan
If you want to enjoy some seriously crispy bacon slices, make sure that you start cooking in a cold pan. As the metal heats up, the fat will render, leaving you with perfect, crunchy pieces without what would otherwise be a stubborn ribbon of chewy fat.
2. Avoid Turning
It’s a natural inclination to want to keep prodding and playing with whatever it is we’re cooking. As tempting as it is, it can spell disaster. Constantly removing your bacon from the pan with tongs or a wooden spoon will result in uneven cooking and curling. Instead, use a medium heat to avoid burning and play the patience game.
3. Add Water
It might seem completely counterintuitive to add water to a pan of tasty bacon, but according to the experts at America’s Test Kitchen, there’s method in the madness. By adding water and slowly bringing it to the boil, you can better control how the fat renders from your meat, giving you yet another way to get perfectly crisp rashers every single time.
4. Stop Spitting
No one enjoys being occasionally flecked with boiling grease as they try to cook. Fortunately, there are a couple of easy ways to prevent this from happening. Either add a few grains of salt to your pan, or place a wet paper towel alongside the bacon. The salt will help absorb excess moisture, while the towel will soak up the excess grease.
5. Use Your Oven
Using a pan is all well and good, but there comes a point where you will reach capacity. This is especially true if you’re cooking for a crowd. Ask any chef, and they will tell you that the best way to make consistent bacon en masse is to dispense with the stove top altogether and use the oven.
6. Cooling Rack
If you do decide to go with the oven, your best bet is to cook your bacon on a cooling rack above a foil-lined shelf. This way, heat will be able to bake both sides of the meat, rather than leaving you with a crispy top and soggy bottom.
7. Keep Your Fat
When you’re left with an oily pool at the end of breakfast, chucking it in the bin can sometimes feel like the only sensible option. However, for fans of recycling, bacon fat has many uses, such as frying potatoes or making salty popcorn. Packed with flavour, cooking in bacon oil can add serious oomph to any dish.
Part of what makes bacon great is that it’s delicious even if you don’t take it too seriously. However, if you’re eager to up your bacon game, this guide is the way to go. Trust us, you won’t leave breakfast disappointed.