Bacon is a beloved breakfast food that can be cooked in a variety of ways, but have you ever considered boiling it?
Boiling bacon may not be the most common method, but it can result in a tender and flavorful dish that’s perfect for St. Patrick’s Day or any other occasion.
However, the question remains: how long do you boil bacon for?
In this article, we’ll explore different methods and recipes for boiling bacon to help you achieve the perfect texture and taste.
So, grab a pot and let’s get boiling!
How Long Do I Boil Bacon For?
The answer to this question depends on the type of bacon you’re using and the recipe you’re following.
For regular sliced bacon, you can boil it for 5-10 minutes depending on how crispy or tender you want it to be. If you’re using slab bacon, which is a cured and smoked pork loin similar to ham, you’ll need to boil it for 10-12 minutes for cuts under 1 pound and up to 20 minutes for cuts over 1 pound.
It’s important to use cold water when boiling bacon and to bring it to a simmer slowly. Boiling it too rapidly can cause the bacon to become tough and chewy.
If you’re using the boiled bacon for a recipe that calls for bacon stock, you can reserve the water used for boiling as a flavorful base for soups or stews.
Why Boil Bacon?
Boiling bacon may seem like an unusual method of cooking, but it actually has several benefits. The addition of water to the pan keeps the initial cooking temperature low and gentle, which allows the meat to retain its moisture and stay tender. This is because the water helps render the fat, resulting in significantly less splatter as the bacon finishes cooking. As the water reaches its boiling point, the bacon fat is almost completely rendered, which helps prevent the meat from burning. This means that you don’t have to wait for the fat to cook off like you would if you cooked it the traditional way.
Boiling bacon also makes it easier to achieve the ideal crispy-yet-tender texture. Once the water has evaporated, you can turn down the heat and continue cooking the bacon without water to get that crispy texture that most people desire. This final step will allow you to brown the bacon to your desired doneness without burning it.
So, why boil bacon? Boiling bacon produces perfectly cooked slices every time, with a tender and juicy texture that’s hard to achieve with other cooking methods. It also reduces splatter and minimizes the risk of burned bacon, making it a cleaner and safer way to cook this delicious breakfast staple.
Choosing The Right Cut Of Bacon For Boiling
When it comes to boiling bacon, the cut you choose can make a difference in the final result. Streaky bacon, also known as American-style bacon, is a popular choice for boiling as it has a good balance of fat and meat. Middle cut bacon is also a good option as it has less fat than streaky bacon but still has enough to add flavor.
Short cut bacon, on the other hand, may not be the best choice for boiling as it has been trimmed of most of its fat. This can result in a dry and tough texture when boiled.
If you’re looking for a lower fat option, center-cut bacon may seem like a good choice. However, as mentioned earlier, center-cut bacon is just regular bacon with the fatty ends trimmed off and may not have a significant difference in fat content when boiled.
Ultimately, the best cut of bacon for boiling depends on your personal preference and the recipe you’re using it in. It’s always a good idea to experiment with different cuts to find the one that works best for you.
How To Prepare Bacon For Boiling
Before boiling bacon, it’s important to properly prepare it to ensure the best flavor and texture.
First, scrape off any discolored parts of the bacon. To get rid of excess salt, put it in a large saucepan, cover with cold water, and bring slowly to a boil. Drain the water and refill the saucepan with fresh cold water. Bring it to a boil again for 5 minutes. Skim the white froth from the top of the water to get rid of any remaining salt. You can taste the water for saltiness and repeat the process if necessary.
Once you’ve removed excess salt from the bacon, turn down the heat and simmer it steadily for about 1 1/2 hours. Occasionally check for and skim any white froth that rises to the surface. When cooked, remove the bacon from the pot, reserving the cooking liquid.
If you’re using boiled bacon for a recipe that calls for sliced bacon, you can now slice it into thin pieces and use it as desired. If you’re using it for a recipe that calls for shredded or chopped bacon, you can use a fork or knife to break it into small pieces.
Boiling Bacon: Different Methods And Recipes
Boiling bacon may not be the most common method for cooking bacon, but it can yield delicious and tender results that are perfect for various dishes. Here are some different methods and recipes for boiling bacon:
1. Basic Boiled Bacon: This is the simplest method for boiling bacon. First, place the bacon in a pot and cover it with cold water. Bring the water to a simmer and let it cook for 5-10 minutes, depending on your desired texture. Once done, remove the bacon from the water and let it cool before slicing or using it in a recipe.
2. Boiled Bacon with Herbs: For an extra flavor boost, add herbs and spices to the water when boiling bacon. You can use bay leaves, thyme, rosemary, or any other herbs you prefer. Simply place the herbs in the pot with the bacon and water and let it simmer for 5-10 minutes. The result is a deliciously fragrant and flavorful boiled bacon.
3. Boiled Bacon and Cabbage: This traditional Irish dish is made by boiling bacon with cabbage, carrots, and potatoes. To make it, first boil the bacon as you would normally do. Then, remove the bacon from the water and add chopped cabbage, carrots, and potatoes to the pot. Let everything simmer together until the vegetables are tender. Serve the boiled bacon and vegetables with a side of mustard sauce for a hearty and comforting meal.
4. Boiled Bacon Soup: Use the leftover stock from boiled bacon to make a delicious soup by adding shredded cabbage, lentils, and chopped-up chunks of leftover bacon. First, sauté onions and garlic in a pot until fragrant. Then add the leftover stock along with the other ingredients and let everything simmer until cooked through. Serve hot with crusty bread.
No matter which method or recipe you choose, boiled bacon can be a great addition to your meal rotation. It’s easy to prepare in large batches, making it perfect for meal prepping or feeding a crowd. Just be sure to use cold water and bring it to a simmer slowly for best results.
How Long To Boil Bacon For Different Textures
The texture of boiled bacon can vary depending on how long you boil it for. If you prefer a softer texture, boil regular sliced bacon for 5-6 minutes. For a slightly crispy texture, boil it for 7-8 minutes. If you want it to be fully crispy, boil it for 9-10 minutes.
For slab bacon, the cooking time will be longer due to its thickness. If you prefer a softer texture, boil it for 10-12 minutes for cuts under 1 pound and up to 15-20 minutes for cuts over 1 pound. For a slightly crispy texture, boil it for 12-15 minutes for cuts under 1 pound and up to 25 minutes for cuts over 1 pound. If you want it to be fully crispy, boil it for 15-20 minutes for cuts under 1 pound and up to 30 minutes for cuts over 1 pound.
It’s important to note that boiling bacon can result in a less salty and thinner slice compared to frying it in a skillet. However, boiling can be a great option when using bacon as a garnish or in a recipe that calls for boiled bacon. And don’t forget to save the leftover water as a flavorful base for soups or stews!
Tips For Perfectly Boiled Bacon
Boiling bacon may seem like an unconventional method, but it can result in perfectly cooked, crispy bacon. Here are some tips for boiling bacon:
1. Use cold water: When boiling bacon, it’s important to start with cold water. This allows the bacon to cook evenly and prevents it from becoming tough.
2. Bring to a simmer slowly: Once you’ve added the bacon to the pot, bring the water to a simmer slowly. Boiling it too rapidly can cause the bacon to become tough and chewy.
3. Add just enough water: You don’t need to add a lot of water to the pot when boiling bacon. Just add enough to cover the bacon slices.
4. Flip the bacon: To ensure that the bacon cooks evenly, flip it over halfway through the boiling process.
5. Cook to desired crispness: Boil the bacon for 5-10 minutes depending on how crispy or tender you want it to be.
6. Reserve the water: If you’re using boiled bacon for a recipe that calls for bacon stock, you can reserve the water used for boiling as a flavorful base for soups or stews.
By following these tips, you can achieve perfectly boiled bacon that is crispy and delicious.