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Bacon Techniques

Everyday Food, December 2010

The smell of bacon frying will get any sleepyhead out of bed in the morning. But its crisp, smoky flavor turns any meal into one that's simply irresistible.

Bacon 3 Ways

Sliced

Most sliced bacon in the United States comes from the pork belly. It's cured with salt, sugar, and sodium nitrate or nitrite (to preserve the pink color), then smoked. Uncured bacon, which is becoming more readily available, does not contain the added preservatives. Both types are available sliced thin or thick.

Slab

Slab bacon is simply bacon that has not been sliced, so you can cut it into cubes or thicker slices. It still has the rind, which is very tough and must be removed before using. Try roasting thick slices of slab bacon in the oven, or dice it small to season braised greens or to use as a soup garnish. Double-smoked slab bacon will give you more smoky flavor.

Canadian

Canadian bacon, cut from the eye of the pork loin, is tender, lean, and more similar to ham than bacon.

Perfectly Cooked Bacon

Lay bacon slices in a skillet (slightly overlapping is okay) and cook over medium-high until fat is rendered and bacon is browned on one side, 5 to 6 minutes. Flip and cook until browned on underside, 1 to 3 minutes. With a slotted spoon or tongs, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain (reserve fat for another use).

Rendering is the process of melting animal fat over heat. It's key for cooking bacon. As the fat liquefies and separates, the meat becomes brown and crisp. Fat can be reserved in the refrigerator and used to cook vegetables or eggs.

Bacon Recipes