It really does make everything better.
But not if you rush and cook the bacon too quickly and unevenly… then it just makes people sad… (Cue violin music.)
How I used to cook bacon
I admit, I didn’t always know that you could cook bacon over any heat other than high.
I mean, you want bacon to cook up quickly and get really crispy, right? And what better way to do that than to cook it on high heat and just get ‘er done!?
Well… there is a better way… and I’ll share it with you in just a minute.
But first… the wrong way.
If, like me, you’re accustomed to cooking bacon on high heat, your finished bacon is probably a mix of semi-crispy, semi-chewy, still somewhat uncooked pieces of fat here and there, with maybe a few bites of “extra crispy” (aka “burnt”) just for good measure.
My whole life I just thought that was how you cook bacon.
Until I did some online “research“, and a couple of very rewarding, ahem, “test runs.”
(I had to eat a lot of bacon for this post!)
How I cook bacon now
First, let me give a shout out to the Kitchn, and their guidelines on how to cook bacon!
I used this page as my starting point, but I made a few minor adjustments (which don’t seem to hurt the bacon, but do make things a little bit easier.)
After following their method, I discovered that you can cook bacon over low heat, too. (Although I don’t recommend cooking it on low, as that just takes too long, and too much of the fat renders out…)
Instead of high heat or even medium-high heat, cooking bacon on medium-low produces perfectly crisp, evenly cooked slices of bacon every single time.
But it takes so long!
It’s true. If you’re used to cooking bacon on high heat, cooking it on medium-low instead takes a long time… Like a really, really long time!
But the little bit of extra patience required is more than worth it.
A slower, lower cooking time means that you have more time to ensure that every slice gets cooked up just the way you and your family like it.
No more “still chewy.” No more “extra crispy.” Just “Wow Dad, this bacon is perfect! How do you do it?”
Every. Single. Time.
Ok I’m sold; where do I begin?
First, get yourself a pound of bacon (obviously) and a 12-inch cast iron or non-stick skillet. (I prefer cast iron and use it for everything I possibly can, but if you don’t have one you can use something non-stick instead.)
Place one single layer of uncooked bacon in the skillet, then put the skillet on the stove over medium-low heat.
As the skillet starts to warm up, the bacon fat will slowly start rendering, gaining speed as the skillet gets hotter.
After a couple minutes, use some tongs to start turning the bacon slices, letting both sides cook evenly. You’ll wind up turning the bacon multiple times throughout the cooking process; that’s fine.
Just pay attention at first, and if the bacon doesn’t want to come off the skillet, don’t force it. Just wait a minute and then come back to it, and it should release itself from the surface.
Your first batch will take about 8 to 10 minutes to cook up.
When the bacon slices are almost to your preferred level of crispiness, remove them from the skillet and put them on a bed of paper towels to let the excess grease drain off. The bacon will continue to cook a bit longer even when it’s out of the skillet (basically until the hot grease drains off and the bacon itself cools slightly), so it’s important to take it off the heat a little bit before it’s completely “done.”
Because you’re cooking “low and slow,” you’ll have plenty of time to cook each slice to your exact level of doneness, whether that’s slightly chewy, or totally crispy, or anywhere in between.
If you need to cook multiple batches (and if you’re cooking a pound of bacon, it will take several batches), you can start the next batch immediately. Either drain off the bacon grease from the previous batch or leave it all in the skillet until the end; it really makes no never mind.
Since you’re starting with a skillet that’s already heated, additional batches will only take about 3 to 5 minutes – but that’s still plenty of time for you to ensure that each slice of Heaven (sorry, I mean bacon) cooks up perfectly.
Oh, and if you’re cooking thick sliced bacon, just add a few minutes to the total cook time, and follow the exact same process. The end result will still be the same.
Why I prefer this method
I mean, by this point, it should be clear to see:
Cooking bacon low and slow just makes better bacon.
And better bacon leads to a happier, more fulfilling life.
(If you don’t believe me, just try it!)
And, as always, let me know how you like it.