We’re all about the bacon – enough for the average American to consume an astonishing 18 pounds of it a year – so throwing a piece of water-filled, factory produced meat between two slices of bread and calling it a sandwich shouldn’t be good enough. The ultimate bacon sandwich requires fine meat produced by skilled butchers, and it deserves to be lovingly prepared. So grilled or fried? Is one better than the other?
Fry For Control
Frying bacon probably gives you the most control over the final product. For the best fried bacon, the meat should be removed from the fridge 15 minutes before you’re ready to cook: this will allow the fat to render more easily, ensuring crispy – rather than burnt – rashers. There are two schools of thought on the time the bacon should be added to the pan. Some claim that the flavors develop more intensely if the meat is added to a cold pan and cooked slowly, while others suggest that heating the pan and waiting for the Leidenfrost Effect to occur is better, particularly if you are to avoid the meat sticking. The cold pan method is a more viable option for those with a greater control over their stovetop, and will allow a slow rendering of the fat, and ultimately, a tastier rasher. There are also those who suggest adding water to the pan, allowing it to evaporate while the fat renders, and then turning up the heat to let the bacon get crispy. There can be a loss of flavor with this method, though, and as long as you’re paying close attention to your pan, there’s no reason it should scorch or stick without water.
Grill For The Masses
Grilling is often the best option when you’re catering for a lot of people, particularly if you’re using a high quality bacon that won’t shrink down as you cook. If you add too much bacon to a pan and the space becomes overcrowded, you run the risk of steaming it rather than frying it, and you’re unlikely to achieve a crispy, flavorful result, so if you have a lot of mouths to feed, grilling is your best bet. Grilling is likely to produce crispy rashers more quickly, because the heat is direct and evenly spread, but thicker cuts are better in order to avoid burning, sticking or tearing on the rack. Burning is still a risk, however, so grilled bacon will require your constant attention. An obvious advantage of grilling is that some of the fat will be drained as you cook, making it a more appealing method for those wishing to consume less fat, but nutrients and flavor are also lost in this process, so some would argue this to be a disadvantage.
Ultimately, the perfect rasher of bacon comes down to high quality product, and care and attention being applied during the cooking process. Really, whether grilled or fried is best comes down to personal preference… and of course, the number of people you’re willing to share your bacon with.