Bacon is God’s gift to humankind, and it should be treated with the respect it deserves. Unfortunately, the bacon we cook at home often ends up less than perfectly crispy and delicious.
Is your bacon curling up and refusing to cook evenly? Maybe it’s not getting crispy enough. Or maybe your bacon is always burnt. Whatever the problem may be, you can become a master bacon-maker if you stop making these six common bacon mistakes.
1. Buying The Wrong Kind
There are a lot of bacon options at the grocery store, and there are even more at your local farmer’s market and butcher shop. Because there is so much bacon to choose from, you can easily pick the wrong kind. Obviously, you want to stick to your food budget, but buying cheap, thinly sliced bacon will really hurt your bacon game.
Instead of buying the large discount pack of thin slices, opt for a smaller pack of thick-cut, well-smoked bacon, or visit the butcher counter and buy a few slices. You might be eating less bacon this way, but it will be better bacon. We promise that quality beats quantity.
2. Cooking It Cold
Bacon is a delicious, fatty meat. The secret to cooking your bacon evenly is to make sure that the meat and fat start at the same temperature. If you throw bacon into the pan straight from the refrigerator, it won’t cook evenly because the fat will retain the cold a lot longer than the meat.
So, to even things out and get a crispy final product, let your bacon sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes before you start cooking.
3. Starting With A Hot Pan
Preheating your pan might seem like a good idea. But when you start cooking your bacon in a hot pan, the meat will most likely end up a hot mess. The fat will not adequately render, so parts of the bacon will be undercooked with flabby pockets of fat, and the outside strips will be burnt.
This is bacon abuse. Instead of cooking your bacon with high heat from the start, put the bacon in a cold pan, set your burner to medium, and let the bacon heat up slowly. This will allow the fat to render and the bacon to reach that perfect level of crispiness.
We get it. When you are cooking bacon, you want to fill up the pan and pile on the pieces. We don’t want to believe that there is such a thing as too much bacon, but when you are cooking it, too many pieces in the pan is a huge problem.
Bacon needs to breathe. Crowding the pan with a ton of slices will leave you with bacon that is not properly cooked. You will see steam coming off the pan, which means you are actually steaming it instead of frying it. When you steam bacon, it will end up floppy instead of crispy. This is a crime against bacon.
Don’t load up the pan and jumble up your pieces. Instead, spread the bacon out and cook it in batches so you can get the crispy meat you deserve.
5. Ignoring The Oven
There are many ways things can go wrong when you are cooking bacon on the stove. But the reality is that you don’t need to deal with any of that, because cooking bacon in the oven is awesome.
There are many advantages to cooking your bacon in the oven. It’s a lot less messy, you don’t have to dodge hot grease splatters, the strips will cook evenly, and you can cook a lot more at once.
If you have never cooked bacon in the oven, you will be amazed by how easy it is. Just space out some strips on a sheet pan lined with foil or parchment paper, and then put the pan in the oven at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes.
Keep an eye on it so that you don’t overdo it. Then take out the pan, load up your plate, and toss that grease-covered liner. It truly is a bacon miracle.
6. Tossing Out The Fat
Bacon is the gift that keeps on giving. Each strip of bacon is like a little taste of heaven, and the bacon fat is one of the best things a home cook can keep in their kitchen. It is perfect for frying potatoes, does amazing things for Brussels sprouts and collard greens, and takes cornbread, scrambled eggs, and soups to the next level.
Instead of throwing out the fat, strain it into a mason jar after it cools a bit and store it in your refrigerator. You will never regret that decision.