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The Secret to Great Bacon Is a Cold Pan

Lifehacker logo Lifehacker 9/19/2018 Claire Lower
a plate of food © Photo:Luca Nebuloni (Flickr Creative Commons)

Crisp bacon and its byproduct, bacon grease, are both very good, and when cooking the strips of fatty pork, you want to make sure you maximize your potential for both. The best way to do this is to start cooking bacon in a cold pan.

Though I usually bake my bacon, there are times I just need to fry a few strips, and preheating my oven to 375℉ is a waste of both time and energy. A ripping hot pan may be necessary for getting a good crust on a chop or steak, but it is the enemy of crispy bacon. Basically, when you toss streaky bacon into a very hot environment, it seizes, curls, and cooks before the fat has any time to render out. This means gummy, not crispy bacon.

Give that porcine treasure a bit of time to become its best self by laying it out in a cold pan, turning the heat to medium-low, and letting the fat render out slowly, giving the bacon plenty of time and plenty of fat in which to crisp. (Bonus: This results in the most leftover bacon grease, a capital cooking fat if there ever was one.) Beyond bacon, this applies to any super fatty meat you want to crisp up, such as pancetta. It might take a little longer, but what is time when the result is very good, very crispy bacon?

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