Making Bacon: 3 Tips For Cooking Perfect Cuts Every Time
As far as many people are concerned, bacon is a staple of any balanced breakfast. The meat is right up there with a glass of orange juice and a bowl of cereal. With its crunchy texture and smoky flavor, it’s no wonder that the U.S. bought $4 billion worth of bacon in 2013, according to MarketWatch. Yet even the most tasty of breakfast meats can be improved, and all it takes are a few quick tips and substitutions. Now get ready to start making that sweet, sweet bacon.
The cooking method matters
There are a few different approaches one can take when preparing bacon. Each way has its uses, and the chosen method often depends on your personal preference:
- The stove: Starting with a cold pan, cook the bacon over a low flame. Once the meat begins to sizzle, flip it over, repeating until the entire piece is a nice, even brown.
- The oven: If you’re looking for extra crispy bacon – maybe for use in a salad – the oven’s just perfect. Lay the bacon on a cooking sheet and cook at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 to 20 minutes.
- The microwave: This is the best technique if you’re in need of a few pieces of bacon as quickly as possible. You’ll only need to nuke the bacon for a minute per piece, as the strips will keep cooking once they’re removed from the microwave.
Use a little water
When cooking bacon on the stove top, there’s always the risk of splattering, which not only hurts but can dirty an otherwise pristine kitchen counter. The solution? Add some water to the pan, according to The Kitchn. This will help to render the fat within the bacon, which prevents splattering. Additionally, it results in tender and more chewy bacon, as the water helps to cook each slice more evenly. However, try not to go overboard – you need just enough H2O to coat the very bottom of the pan.
Add a bit of flavor
Some chefs will swear by cooking bacon on its own, preserving the natural flavors within. However, if you’re looking to add new dimensions to your bacon, there’s a few different flavoring options. Some of the more popular choices include:
- Maple syrup: This involves marinating the bacon a few hours before cooking. The added work is worth it, resulting in extra sweet pieces of meat.
- Brown sugar: Similar to maple syrup, brown sugar adds a bit of sweetness, albeit slightly more reserved. The best option is to coat each piece of bacon individually prior to cooking.
- Pecans: As a rule, pecans have a slightly bitter flavoring. However, the saltiness of the bacon often neutralizes the chemicals responsible, allowing more of the pecan’s understated sweetness to emerge.
- Honey and mustard: Of all the options, honey and mustard appears to be the most bizarre. However, this marinade results in especially tangy bacon slices.
For even more flavoring, try and experiment with your own additions. Why not give the bacon a spicy kick with some cayenne pepper?
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