If You're Putting Bacon In a Hot Pan, Stop Right There
You can make perfect bacon every single time with these simple hacks.
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As my dad says, no breakfast is complete without bacon. Bacon is a weekend breakfast ritual in our house. We eat it alongside French toast and omelets, in hash, on top of doughnuts. You get the picture. While I usually opt to bake my bacon for convenience, there's really nothing better than pan-fried slices on a Saturday morning.
No matter how you use your bacon, getting the ideal crunchy-chewy texture can sometimes feel impossible. Do you drain the fat to help it crisp up? Turn the burner up a smidge? Instead of trying to get the art of frying just right through intuition, here are some hacks to make cooking the perfect slice a little easier.
Cold Bacon Cuts Better
I mentioned we like to add bacon to hash. In order to do this, we need to cut the bacon into smaller slices called lardons before frying it. Have you ever tried cutting room-temp bacon? It's slippery and, frankly, downright dangerous, especially pre-coffee. For a safer, simpler slicing experience, chill your bacon slices for a bit in the fridge or the freezer before you cut them.
"Bacon is much easier to cut when it's cold because it has to do with the fat that's in the bacon," says Anne Burrell in her Maple Bacon Puff Pastry Cinnamon Rolls class (pictured below) on the Food Network Kitchen app. "When the fat is cold straight from the fridge it's very firm and hard and your knife will slide right through it."
Start With a Cold Pan
Seriously, if you've been pre-heating your skillet to cook your bacon, consider this your unofficial cease-and-desist letter. Whenever you're cooking bacon you want to add the bacon to a cold pan and then turn the burner on to medium-low. This will allow the fat to slowly render — or melt out of the bacon — which will help the bacon to start to crisp up. If you add bacon to a hot pan, the fat seizes and gets locked inside the bacon resulting in soggy slices.
Don't Be Afraid to Add Oil
We know what you're thinking. Doesn't bacon already have fat? Yes, it does. It's okay. Adding a bit of olive oil to your pan when you start cooking will help that bacon fat render. "This is what I like to call 'the encouragement,'" says Anne.
Save the Fat
Don't throw away the leftover bacon fat once you're done cooking. Save the fat and use it to saute potatoes, veggies, meat and more. You can even use it on popcorn. It'll impart a delicious bacon-y flavor to whatever you're cooking. As Anne says, "Everything is better with bacon."