Many people ask me—correction—some people ask me, “Jon, how do you always cook your bacon so perfectly?” I always answer them. I tell them the truth. I give them the ten steps to cooking crispy bacon to perfection.
Some people guard recipes close to their heart. I have been always of the mindset that we should share the love. Give us that secret recipe! But you may already know my culinary thoughts from my novel Murder By Pizza.
I admit, my ten steps to cooking perfect bacon are not a recipe, but rather, a procedure. Here we go:
First, use regular salted bacon. You don’t need anything fancy. Also, put on a shirt. And make sure that you won’t cry if the shirt later smells of smoke and has grease spackle on it.
Ensure that you have coffee. If you are the dedicated bacon cooker, this usually is not your job.
Second, ensure that the pack of bacon is completely thawed. This means that you need to think ahead. If it is the day before, put the frozen bacon into the fridge. If it is the day of, submerge the frozen package in the sink for a few hours. For best results, do not microwave. Microwaving partially and unevenly cooks the product (even on the defrost mode), and produces too much moisture.
(To thaw in a hurry, I once took a frozen package into the shower with me.)
Third, evenly place the slices of bacon in a large frying pan. Do not let any curl up the side wall, or overlap each other. Be patient; cooking 500 grams may take 3-4 ‘pan-loads’. Cook on medium-high heat.
Fourth, rotate some of the pieces on the far sides into the centre (where the heat is usually hotter), without flipping.
Fifth, at the half-way point, flip the bacon carefully. This is your first time flipping. By now, the bacon will have shrunk, so it is easier to ensure that there are no overlapping pieces.
Sixth, drain the grease into a container, not down the sink.
From now on, drain the grease often, as needed. The bacon will not become very crispy if it is drenched in fat.
As you pour from the side of your frying pan, note that some grease will get on the other side of the pan. This is bad. When this grease makes its way to the burner, it will smoke. To prevent smoke, wipe the side of the pan with a paper towel each time you drain the grease.
Please note: some smoke is part of the experience. Embrace it. If it becomes too much, open a window.
Seventh, start flipping the bacon often, as needed. Press down on the fatty parts to sear against the pan. This is your last chance to singe the stubborn pieces. You should be watching the bacon cook the whole time, even if you are in a trance. Do not leave the bacon unattended. Being a constant guardian is part of your job.
Eighth, remove the bacon before it gets too crispy in the pan. This is a hard step for beginners. You need to use a bit of intuition. The bacon will become crispier as it cools. Many people do not know this, and I have seen way too many people shrivel up otherwise excellent bacon strips by keeping it cooking for too long. Two extra minutes can destroy it.
Ninth, place the bacon atop a paper towel and pat it dry with another. Let the bacon cool for at least five minutes. This step is vital and hard to implement, given the temptation of digging into it. But do not eat any, as it will be so much better and crispier as it settles. This is why it is okay to do 3-4 pan loads of cooking, as stated in Step 3.
(The only exception is that if you are cooking for a large group and no one is watching, you may sneak yourself one slice per pan-load, but don’t be the guy who eats it all while others are waiting.)
Tenth, the first part here is anti-climatic: it will be easy to clean the frying pan while it is still warm. If you are the cook, usually it is nice for someone else to clean, but it is so easy for you to make a big dent into the dishes while you are the bacon fryer (and you will get credit for this later).
Use some of your used paper towels to wipe the pan clean of bacon debris and grease. This can be done while you are waiting for the bacon to cool. Again, I can’t emphasize the cooling part enough. Think of it as the bacon curing. Eating hot bacon is not required. But you won’t know it until you try it.
(If you are cooking eggs afterward, consider using the bacon grease. In this case, turn the heat to maximum and cook the eggs quickly, as if deep-frying them. If doing this, please don glasses or safety goggles.)
You are now ready to enjoy the crispy bacon. Sit back and crunch. Bon appetit.
If you liked this, please consider reading one of my novels. I write on a variety of topics. The broad themes of my fiction include individualism versus collective thought, and the importance of culture and identity in society. Sit back, click, and enjoy.