Salty with a satisfying crunch, bacon is hard to beat in the morning, at lunch, and occasionally at dinner. That perfect crispy bite is a delicious complement to poached eggs, savory hash browns, or a stack of buttermilk pancakes. Handling a greasy package and lots of splatter is only worth it when your breakfast is cooked to perfection. However, that's easier said than done.
It's all too easy to overcook or undercook bacon. Thankfully, we've gathered 10 tried and true tricks and methods that will result in perfectly cooked bacon every time. Not only is well-cooked bacon a tasty surprise, but it's also necessary for food safety reasons and for attaining that ideal texture that might be the missing piece to your meal.
To begin, it's important to understand what you're buying before you attempt to cook it properly. Bacon is available in various cuts, from thinly sliced to thick-cut, and is either lean or fatty. At first glance, you should be able to determine how much fat is on the bacon by identifying the pink versus white portions. The leaner cuts will have more pink than white. Undercooking your bacon could increase your risk of foodborne illness and also lack texture.
In A Stainless Steel Pan
Over the years, nonstick pans have become a standard in kitchens across the world while classics, such as stainless steel, have fallen out of fashion. As our schedules became busier, we searched for ways to simplify our lives, and some traditional cooking methods and tools were pushed aside. However, some of those nonstick pans we thought made life easier can actually be harmful.
Teflon, for example, begins to break down after prolonged use and certain temperatures. As the nonstick material deteriorates, toxic chemicals are released, which can get into the air and our food. An effective alternative that can still be nonstick is a stainless steel frying pan.
Some inexperienced cooks tend to be intimidated by stainless steel pans. The misconception is that everything will stick. The truth is, there's a trick to making sure things don't stick, including bacon. The most important tip to remember is to allow the pan to heat up thoroughly. Place your stainless steel pan on the burner on medium heat for 2-3 minutes to allow the surface to heat evenly. Once the pan is hot, add your fat, such as butter or oil, for a nonstick surface that could rival Teflon. If the fat begins to smoke, the pan is too hot, and you should remove it from the heat. Lay your bacon strips in the pan, not allowing them to overlap, and wait until the edges become browned and crispy before flipping.
In The Air Fryer
Air fryers are all the rage these days, and for good reason. They have simplified cooking for people all over the world and promote a healthier version of fried foods that don't contain as much oil. And these nifty appliances will cook your bacon to perfection every time. Air fryers are desirable because they circulate hot air around the food on all sides to create a crunch without a ton of oil, making it just as tasty but a far healthier alternative to deep-fried foods.
Begin by placing your bacon evenly in your basket, whether it's a basket air fryer or a convection air fryer. There are liners that make clean-up easier; however, they can interfere with the circulating air. Skip the liners and aluminum foil for this method. Don't overcrowd the bacon. Instead, allowing the heat to circulate on all sides will ensure an even crunch.
This last tip is to keep the temperature of your air fryer around 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Most air fryers operate at 400 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. However, anything over 350 degrees Fahrenheit is approaching the smoke point and can result in overcooking or drying the bacon out with an overpowering smoky flavor. The best part about this method is that you can avoid flipping the bacon, as the air fryer will cook both sides at the same time. In addition, you don't have to worry about messy and dangerous grease splatter.
On A Baking Sheet
Bacon is a favorite breakfast addition and usually the first food item to disappear at a big gathering. However, standing over a frying pan endlessly flipping bacon for hungry guests is not ideal. The job is tedious and can simply take way too long. Opt for this method that utilizes a baking sheet if you're preparing bacon for a large group.
Another reason to test this trick is to avoid a greasy mess that requires clean-up. If you remember to line your baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil, you can simply toss the mess into the trash once it cools. If you have a large group to feed, you can pair this trick with a sheet pan or baking sheet pancakes, and your next gathering will be a breeze.
Begin by preheating your oven. You can cook your bacon between 325 to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the preferred texture. Lie the strips out flat on a lined baking sheet or on a rimmed baking sheet with a wire rack. Set your timer for 10 minutes -- this will be about the halfway mark. If you're using a lined baking sheet, you will carefully drain some of the oil into a high-temperature safe dish or bowl. Removing some of the grease will help the bacon get crispier in the oven. You can also take this opportunity to flip your bacon over to ensure that it's evenly cooked. Cook the bacon for another 5-10 minutes.
On The Grill Or A Grill Top
Extra crispy bacon is the ultimate addition to a juicy cheeseburger, a satisfying chicken sandwich, and so much more. What makes that crunch even better is a smoky, charcoal flavor that will make your dinner guests flip. Add a few grill marks, and you'll be on another level. The next time you're grilling up some turkey burgers or even some hot dogs. Then, throw on a few strips of bacon, and you'll never want to cook it any other way. The grilling method is simple and delectable.
Begin by placing a sheet of aluminum foil on your hot grill. Allow the foil to heat up for a minute to achieve those grill marks, and only flip the bacon once. The trick is to be patient and wait for the edges to become golden brown and crispy before you flip. There's no need to add oil, as the bacon produces enough fat to keep it from sticking. This tip can also work on a grill top for your stove. Heat the grill thoroughly and wait until the bacon is popping and sizzling before you flip it. This alternative method won't produce that smoky flavor but will get a great crunch. Be extra careful when removing the foil and leftover grease, as it could start a fire if it spills on the grill.
Under The Broiler
Some people prefer their bacon on the soft side, which usually happens when you cook it for less or in its own grease. However, cooking the bacon under the broiler will do the trick for those who want a little extra crunch and snap. This method is fast and will take your crispy bacon to another level. You'll have to be extra careful when using the broiler, as bacon can go from broiled to blackened in just a minute or two. Always set a timer or stay close by with the oven light on to keep a close eye.
This method works best if you are already cooking bacon on a baking sheet. After you drain the grease away, flip the broiler on and let it preheat. Put the bacon back under the broiler for 2-4 minutes and watch as it becomes a crispy, crunchy dream right before your eyes.
If you're having a hard time getting that crunch in a frying pan, you can also save your boring bacon with just a few minutes under the broiler. Most broilers run at about 500 degrees Fahrenheit, which means it's over the smoke point, and your bacon is bound to have a smokier flavor this way. Never walk away from your stove if the broiler is on, and a timer is also a good idea, especially if you get distracted easily in the kitchen.
In A Muffin Tin
Another trick that works wonders if you want an easy breakfast or snack is putting bacon and eggs into a muffin pan. Pop these into the oven and relax as your hearty and filling meal cooks in the oven without any hassle. To begin, it's best to use a thinly sliced cut of bacon, as the thicker slices may not crisp up the way you want them to.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and find a medium to large muffin tin. Be sure to grease or spray the pan if it's not nonstick, as any sticking could make your muffins fall apart. Curve two to three slices of bacon around the sides of the muffin tin to create an overlapping border that will keep the meal together.
Next, crack an egg into each muffin tin, sprinkle some salt, pepper, or your choice of seasoning on top of the egg, and place them in the oven. The egg will cook inside the bacon, and you can then serve up a protein-packed muffin for breakfast without the hassle or cleanup of a big meal.
Use A Foreman Grill
Before air fryers, there were George Foreman grills and panini presses in nearly every kitchen. The electric appliances were convenient, quick, and easy to use. This most likely led to their increased popularity among home chefs everywhere. Along the way, it became a popular way to prepare bacon and is one of the most efficient and reliable methods.
Depending on the size of your grill, you may have to cut your bacon strips to fit, but that's about all of the work you'll have to put into this method. Simply place the strips flat and close to the grill and sit back. There's no need to flip your bacon because it will cook on top and from the bottom for the perfect crunchy bite. Be sure to place the grease drip tray in front of the grill to save yourself a mess. Because of the slanted angle of the grill, the bacon will drain as it cooks, and your bacon will have a delectable, crunchy texture. The nonstick surface makes the whole process even easier.
Just Add Water
It may seem strange to think about adding water to your bacon while it's cooking, but this is a favored trick that leads to foolproof crunch nearly every time. If you're skeptical, check your social media feed to find endless videos of this new method that is taking bacon lovers by storm. The magic happens when the water reaches a certain heat and renders the fat.
Begin by heating your pan and placing the bacon in the frying pan. Add an even layer of water to the pan, and cook the bacon until the water evaporates. The water will also prevent grease splatter, which can be dangerous and such a pain to clean up. Once the liquid cooks off, allow it to keep cooking for a few more minutes. The bacon will retain its moisture even though the edges are crunchy and textured. This method is bound to be your new favorite as it's simple and cooks bacon perfectly every time.
Deep Fry Your Bacon
There are healthier ways to prepare bacon, but deep frying it gives it a crunch like no other, and it's a splurge that's worth taking occasionally. Keep these tricks in mind to make the process go a little smoother. To deep fry bacon, start by heating the oil over medium heat until it reaches a temperature of 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Next, carefully add the strips of bacon to the hot oil, making sure not to overcrowd the pot. Allow the bacon to cook for approximately 3-5 minutes or until it reaches the desired level of crispiness. Using metal tongs or a slotted spoon, remove the bacon from the oil and place it on a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
The key to deep frying bacon is to ensure that the oil is hot enough to cook evenly and achieve an even, crispy texture. It's also important to be careful when adding the bacon to the oil, as the hot liquid can splatter and cause burns. While deep frying bacon may not be the healthiest way to cook this beloved breakfast food, it certainly delivers on taste and texture. Serve it up alongside eggs, quiche, homemade bagels, or anything else you love for the ultimate indulgence.
With A Waffle Maker
Look no further than your waffle maker for another quick and easy way to make crispy bacon every time. Simply preheat the appliance and place your bacon slices on top of the ridges in a single layer. Close the lid and let the bacon cook for 4 to 5 minutes, depending on the desired texture. The grease will drip down into the grooves, making for easy cleanup. This is one way to utilize use your waffle maker, or you can add another step and serve up bacon-stuffed waffles that you'll never forget.
Allow your bacon to cook for about 3 to 4 minutes in the waffle maker. As the strips begin to crisp up, top it off with your waffle mix. The batter will fall around the strips and absorb the flavorful bacon grease. The nonstick surface will allow your stuffed waffles to slide out when they're ready, and you're ready to cut into an unbelievable treat. For a delectable salty and sweet snack, top with syrup, brown sugar, and butter.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.