The Unexpected Reason You Should Boil Your Bacon

When you crack open that tightly sealed package of bacon, you unleash a world of potential in your kitchen. Those fatty strips of meat can become the perfect pairing for your eggs, level up your favorite sandwich or burger, or top off your salad for crumbly, crispy bits in every bite. That all hinges on cooking the bacon to perfection, of course.

By perfection, we mean utterly and deliciously crisp. And everyone has their preferred bacon-cooking method to get there. Maybe you fry yours up in a cold pan and blot it dry, or broil it in the oven and let the grease drip off. Maybe you've done it both ways. But have you ever boiled your bacon?

Roice Bethel (aka @noflakeysalt), who's known for his food hacks and simplified recipes, begs to differ. The popular cook swears by boiling is the best method to achieve that perfect crispy crunch, and he explains exactly why. 

Why boiling your bacon is the way to go

In the short tutorial video he posted on his social channels, Bethel shows the internet that boiling bacon works better than frying or baking. Why? Because it doesn't just result in very crispy bacon, but bacon that's evenly crisp every time. And according to Cook's Illustrated, which also tested the method, it's the ideal way to keep bacon not just crispy, but tender as well, without burning it.

Do you know how the white, fatty part of your bacon tends to be a little stretchy or soft while the rest of the bacon is crisp? That's because, as Bethel points out, fat takes longer to cook than muscle. So typically the muscle (which is the dark, reddish parts of the strip of bacon) will crisp up much more quickly before the fat has time to render.

So Bethel covers the bacon in a shallow amount of water and lets it come to a boil, explaining that the water helps control the temperature and allows the muscle and the fat to finish cooking at the same exact time. "Once the water completely evaporates, the bacon gets nice and crispy," Roice says in the video. "The meat is not overcooked or burnt, the fat is perfectly rendered." The end result is bacon that's completely, evenly crisp throughout.

Take your meals from boring to brilliant

Now that you know how to make perfectly crisp and tender bacon, let's talk about how to use that goodness to its full potential. Because there's so much you can do with bacon that you may have never thought to do before, and there are so many ways it can turn something boring into something brilliant.

Think past the breakfast sandwiches and the BLTs — what else can you do with bacon? Meatloaf, for one. Andrew Zimmerman wraps his meatloaf in bacon for a moist final product that's steeped in a salty, smoky aroma. Or how about bacon soup? Try a bacon and crab soup with Old Bay seasoning for a rich, hearty, creamy comfort meal.

The possibilities don't stop at bacon; bacon grease can be used in lots of ways to level up your dishes. For example, Guy Fieri cooks his popcorn in bacon grease and then adds the cooked bacon bits for extra flavor and crunch. It also works great as a base for country gravy, and you can even use it to make a bacon fat-washed bourbon for irresistible sipping.