I have just discovered how Americans have their bacon the way they do.
I hate the way Americans have their bacon – crisp and brittle. Thin strips that crumble and snap and taste like a bacon crisp (sorry, potato chip). But up until this morning I had no idea how they managed to make it like that. I’ve cooked alot of bacon in my time, have never got close to producing the same texture, no matter what cut I’ve used.
The answer, which you won’t be surprised to hear, is fat. I bought some Oscar Mayer Hearty Thick Cut Bacon. The “hearty” means fatty. Unbelievably fatty. It’s streaky bacon and about two-thirds of it is fat. I fried this without oil and butter, and you would not *believe* the amount of fat that came out of it. Anyway, that’s the thing – cooking this very fatty bacon in a ton of fat is what causes it to crisp up and become brittle. So now you know.
Incidentally, fat is the answer to another food riddle, namely: how do Chinese takeaways get their chicken so squidgy? If you cook strips of chicken normally, they become quite firm but in Chinese food it is soft and almost rubbery. The answer: cook it in a ton of oil.
I wonder where I can buy better cuts of bacon…