The Daily Meal

08 February 2012

Technique: Cooking Bacon.....in Water

Why would someone cook bacon in water? That just sounds awful. One would think the water would leach out all the fatty goodness. Your right. Thats what makes it so good. When you pan sauté bacon in water a lot of the fat leaves the bacon and jumps in the pool. Then the water boils off. That leaves you bacon cooking in bacon fat. Now we are talking

There are two other reasons to use this technique. First, it frees you from the sauté pan. The majority of the cooking happens through the boiling of the water, so you can focus your attention elsewhere. There will be an audible announcement to let you know you need to start watching. The final reason is even cooking. This is most true for thick cut bacon, but even for your Oscar Meyer thin cut you will see a difference. The water cooking allows for a full cooking without browning, so no burnt outside and chewy inside. Here are the steps:

First Place your bacon in a sauté pan.

Next, fill the pan with water till bacon is covered.

Place the pan on the burner, crank up to high, and let it boil.

When the water is just about boiled off, it will begin to snap and hiss at you. Reduce to medium, and cook till the bacon is brown and crispy. This shouldn't be more than a minute or two.

End result: perfectly crispy, super tasty, and light not greasy bacon. Give it a shot and let me know how it turns out for you!

70 comments:

  1. Please do and tell me how it worked for you!

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  2. Do you prefer water cooked bacon to oven bacon? The oven has been my favorite way to cook bacon for years, though the grill is pretty good, too (also in a pan, obviously, not straight on the grill).

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    1. I love cooking my bacon in the oven as well! Works awesome!

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  3. I actually prefer the taste of cooking in water. You get a more concentrated flavor

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  4. I am going to try this for sure!

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    1. Please do and let me know how it works for you!

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  5. I tried this and it came out amazing. You rock!

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    1. Great to hear! it really is a fun way to do bacon, built in timer and all

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  6. hmm, not sure if it was my stainless steel pan i used, but as soon as the water boiled off ALL the residue burned to the pan and the bacon was still RAW. it didn't crumple up (that was the good thing), but i did have to flip it to cook the other side since just the one side was burnt. i think baking bacon is the best way to go for this girl!

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    1. Did you turn it down to medium after the water had boiled off? I just did it, and the bacon turned out picture perfect. No burning whatsoever.

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  7. I managed to do this and not burn down my house or destroy the bacon. Good stuff.

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    1. FANTASTIC!! It is so cool how well this usually works

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  8. I tried this the first time just an hour ago to make me two tasty BLT sandwiches and it worked great. While the water was heating up i could prepare the toast and whatnot, leaving me with enough time to figure out my very first BLTs. :)

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    1. Glad to hear.....and by the way, I would kill for a good BLT right now.

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  9. I'm not very impressed by this cooking technique. By the time the water boiled off, the bacon had curled up quite a bit and therefore cooked unevenly, since only part of the bacon was in contact with the pan. The pieces had also fallen apart somewhat, so they were hard to flip. And it takes a long time.

    I can only assume that this technique works best for those who haven't mastered frying bacon. I only buy bacon once or twice per year, but when I used to cook it every day, the bacon came out of the fry pan uniformly cooked and crispy from end to end. The only real drawback to frying is that you can only cook a small number of slices at once. If you need more than that, you need to bake it. I'm not as happy with the texture of bacon from the oven, because it tends to be chewier than fried, but it's certainly easier.

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    1. Based on what you have said, It sounds like you have one of (or both) problems. First is that you overfilled the pan. The bacon should just be submerged, and the bacon should be in contact with the pan at all times. Second, you might want to pick a higher quality bacon. Ive never had an instance of the bacon falling apart no matter how thin. Do you get yours from the butcher, or do you do a store bought? If you do do store bought, what type? Id be willing to give it a shot to see If it is the bacon (well, in November after the diet)

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    2. Well replied. You handled that nicely. I'm going to give this a go later. I'll let you know how mine turns out.

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    3. And of course they never do... (sorry Carissa, you're just the unlucky one. I acknowledge you're not the only one who did this)

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    4. Hmm, overfilled the pan for starters (I was hungry, ok) Then, to speed up the process I poured out some water (plus all the rendered fat at that time (Twice!). Still ended up eatable but not as good as I expected. Just must do it correctly next time. I found a site where the lass declares covering the bacon is not necessary - for the hungry and I need this now lot.

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  10. So when the water cooks off is the grease not still there or does it evaporate with the water?

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    1. I was wondering the same thing. Where does the grease go?

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    2. There's still grease. It comes out while the bacon is browning at the end.

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    3. i assume the grease is still there so this is the same as heating up a pan and letting the bacon fry in it's own grease, which is what i do anyway....right?

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    4. The grease is an oil which has a considerably higher point of evaporation (don't know exactly what that point is but i would wager at least twice that of water), so the bacon would turn to ash before all the grease evaporated.

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  11. I have used this method for link sausage for years. I never thought about cooking bacon this way. I'll give it a try.

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    1. me too, never thought of it for bacon... I usually use my new wave oven for bacon

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    2. I have always cooked sausage this way. It takes the fat out of it and leaves it "drier".

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  12. I tried this method with turkey bacon and it worked really well! It cooked uniformly and didn't curl up much. Thanks for the tip!

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  13. Ours wasnt even close to done after the the boiling and we pretty much wound up frying the bacon to get it done

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  14. @ Greg: The quality of American-style bacon these days is so uneven. I've ended up cooking some that did nothing but exude white gunk and then curl up. I mean zheesh, it's basically just strips of fat they are selling us anyway, how much do they have to cheap out on it? Anyway, I've taken to paying *double* the price for this bacon ( http://reviews.presidentschoice.ca/6584/F18252/reviews.htm ) as it has way less brine pumped in it, and the size of the cooked bacon slice is the same as when you put it in the pan, it hasn't all shrunk down to half-size, yay :}

    I have used a bacon-press ( http://www.cooksinfo.com/bacon-press ) for years, and swear by one. Faster cooking (saves cooking fuel), more even cooking, and no curling. (The presses have a second life outside too, on the grill to help burgers cook evenly etc.) Now that I've read this, I'm going to try a bacon press in combo with the water idea! The two ideas together sound promising.

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  15. I've cooked it this way in the past and also in the oven (and of course, traditionally, in the pan) Comes out good either way!
    I also use this technique for Italian sausage - it drains out a lot of the fat while making sure the center of the thick links are cooked completely. Once the water is gone it browns very quickly and you can be sure it's fully cooked.

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  16. Has to be in a stain pan? What about ceramic?

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    1. Ive never tried it in ceramic. I honestly can not advise on that

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  17. I've found that when baking bacon, it' turns out MUCH better if you bake it on parchment paper instead of a rack. You get the crispy fried style bacon.

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  18. I discovered that my new favorite way to cook bacon is on my Foreman, no popping and all the fat drains away! I will definitely be trying this water style soon though...

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  19. It worked!! I'm always afraid to cook bacon because I always get burnt but theis method didn't pop as bad! Thanks

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    1. You must pour off the water before finishing off the bacon. While it is true that the water boils away, the same amount of fat still remains in the pan.

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    2. I haven't found this to be the case. I do this once a week in my All Clad LTD2 pan and the water fully boils off, and there is almost zero fat in my pan. Your experience may differ due to a variety of factors from pan to cook top to bacon....

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  20. Just tried this. Used a good quality bacon. Only difference I could tell was didn't taste as greasy......will definitely do again but, probably not every time. Thanks for the new way to cook bacon!!

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  21. Tried this method in a cast iron frying pan and it turned out perfect. As soon as I saw the water was almost evaporated turned it down to medium. Then I turn it down to medium low and turned the bacon several times and it was delicious and picture perfect. Thanks for the tip!

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  22. This is how I cook link sausage. The advantage with sausage is that the center gets cooked through before the outside browns--I hate uncooked sausage.

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  23. I'm going to try this. My family loves bacon.

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  24. I always cook sausage links like this, but never bacon. Tried it tonight and was very pleased. The bacon stayed flatter so was nice slices. Thanks

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  25. Just wanted to throw this out there! I cook my bacon on my George Foreman grill. The grease drains off, and cooks super fast! Tried it, and have not cooked it another way since.

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    1. That's the same way I cook it. And most other meats too.

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  26. This is awesome definitely works!! Thanks!!

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  27. I HAD to try it! It works very well. Will definitely do this more often. Thanks.

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  28. I HAVE to try this one.
    BUT for people that insist on frying, you might try this sometime: dredge your slices in Wondra flour before frying. The slices stay straighter, the bacon gets crisper, and there's less grease flying around all over your stove...

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  29. funny... i bake for a living and a chef recently told me to do this with chopped raw bacon that i was adding to quiches. i never considered doing it for whole strips!

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  30. Once the water boils off the fat remains. You will need to pour off the water with the fat before continuing the cooking, or the fat just stays in the pan after the water is gone. Another method I have found that works well is to wrap the bacon in triple layers of paper towels and microwave for 2-4 minutes. Most of the fat is absorbed in the towel.

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  31. This method intrigues me. My first thought when reading this was the boiled bacon scene from the movie "Better Off Dead". That bacon didn't look nearly as attractive as your bacon!

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  32. I tried this this morning and WOW!! An amazing awesome idea! It was really good and was easy. Thank you! It tasted better than regular bacon. It had a lighter taste and wasn't as heavy, I loved it!

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  33. I hate to criticize cooking bacon as It is my perfect food but going through all that to cook bacon ..Put it in the microwave...1-min per slice for crispy (unless ultra thick from the butcher)Just enough time to get the stuff ready for a BLT.....done over no grease if you place on paper towel. My hubby prefers the bacon rack no paper towel he wants the grease for other things, that we shouldn't be eating I am sure.......No matter how you cook it BACON is at the top of the food list

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  34. This is a fantastic way to cook bacon! It is crispy, but not burnt, and definitely cooks away a lot of the fat. The bacon stays crispy all week in the fridge, which is very convenient for adding to salads and for breakfast with some eggs! Thank you.

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  35. Trying the bacon as we speak is on the stove on high smells great. Bacon done and gone its delish this way ,no splatter, or mess from the grease

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  36. Oh, Sweet Lord. I thought I knew bacon before. Cooking it this way adds approximately 50 more dimensions of amazing melt-in-your-mouth flavor that only bacon provides. Completely delicious. I vow to always use this method to cook bacon for the rest of my bacon-eating days.

    Thank you, Master.

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  37. Years and years ago, my mom's cousin taught me to do this - but you get the bacon hot first, then pour a half cup water in the pan. It spits and sputters a bit, but it is the crunchiest, tastiest bacon you'll ever eat!

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  38. I forgot I had this pinned! My first round is already half way done but I am soo adding water to the next round! Ill let u know how it turns out! Thanks for the tip!

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  39. I tried this just now. 7.26.13 and it worked awesome

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  40. I haven't tried the water , but I have been cooking mine in the oven in a cookies pan. I place an old rectangular grill on top it keeps the bacon from curling up.

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  41. Thanks very much for this great article;this is the stuff that keeps me going through out these day. french toast recipe

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  42. Just tried it today and I can't thank you enough haha. I have been trying different methods which have always taken too much time and effort to get it right. But this method is simple, easy, and makes heavenly tasting bacon. I can make it as greasy as I want and save the excess grease too...COOK MORE BACON!

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  43. I cover mine until it's rendered and then I open it and let the water evaporate and then it crisps.

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