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Cooking Bacon in Water: Mastering the Perfect Crispiness

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Cooking Bacon in Water: Mastering the Perfect Crispiness

While popping strips of bacon directly into a heated skillet may seem like the most intuitive cooking bacon in water preparation, transitioning to a water method unlocks an entirely elevated level of crispy, meaty bacon ecstasy. Gentle poaching allows for carefully controlled temperature regulation that dehydrates the bacon to crispy perfection without the usual grease splatter chaos or need for excessive oil. It simply requires a few considerations around the prep, cook time and rest to manifest bacon nirvana through cooking bacon in water.

Cooking Bacon in Water

Selecting Supplies for Success

Vessel Options

The vessel used affects overall results when cooking bacon in water. Choose pots with thicker bottoms that allow gradual heating for a 12” skillet. Low sides prevent water from boiling over but still submerge bacon strips. Stainless steel offers durability and even heating but any appropriately sized, deep pan works for cooking bacon in water.

Wire Cooling Racks

Cooling racks provide drainage and airflow circulation to dehydrate bacon post-poach for enhanced crispiness when cooking in water. Chrome-plated steel cooling racks withstand high heat without warping. Removable types allow easy transfer. Size cooling racks to fit vessels for a single layered bacon layout.

Pre-Poach Prep Principles

Water Ratio

Use an ample water depth that fully submerges the bacon by 1-2 inches, around 2-3 cups per package for cooking bacon in water. Too little water concentrates saltiness. Too much dilutes flavor. The appropriate ratio moistens but imparts sweet, meaty intensity to cooking in water.

Proper Thickness

Super lean bacon easily overcooks but retains flavor nicely so opt for average thick cut bacon around 1/8 inch thickness with balanced fat marbling to prevent dryness when cooking in water. If using extra thick styles, blanch briefly before drying.

Organized Layout

Neatly arrange raw bacon strips in a single, evenly spaced layer to prevent folding over for consistent cooking bacon in water. Overcrowding causes uneven crispiness. Allow ample airflow circulation for proper dehydration when cooking in water.

Seasoning (Optional)

Introducing complementary flavors through fresh herbs, black pepper or spices infuses interest but remains absolutely optional to retain pure pork essence when cooking in water. Garlic, rosemary, red chili and maple or brown sugar impart delicious depth.

Mastering the Cook Low, Slow & Steady

Cooking bacon in water requires gradually bringing the water to a bare simmer between 180°F – 200°F to enable even, gentle cooking. Aggressive boiling causes strips to stick together while super low heat prevents full cooking. Find the sweet spot right before bubbles emerge for tender meatiness when cooking in water.

Trim Ends

For even visual appeal, trim bacon slice ends for tidy rectangles. The ends tend to shrivel so removing them allows the strips to length-wise retain shape consistency becoming gorgeously glassy post-dehydration after cooking in water.

Controlled Timing

Depending on cut thickness, ideal bacon poach times range from 8-14 minutes. Leaner bacon requires less time to prevent dryness. Undercooking fails to fully render fat for desired texture while overcooking toughens the meat when cooking bacon in water. Continually monitor doneness until strips gently splay at the center when prodded by tongs.

Post-Poach Drying Do’s

Transfer Draining Upon desired doneness after cooking bacon in water, use a slotted spoon to gently transfer all bacon strips in an organized single layer to a wire rack nested perfectly atop a rimmed nonstick baking sheet. Allow a brief minute for excess residual water drainage to encourage crisping.

Patience During Practice

Refrain from impatiently prodding the bacon during the drying duration after cooking bacon in water and risk marring the delicate caramelizing process underway. Trust in ample airflow circulating to dehydrate the surface. Typical times average around 6-8 minutes.

Oven Instead of Stovetop

Utilize oven heat at 400°F instead of returning the tray to the stovetop after cooking bacon in water so ambient air in the oven uniformly dehydrates versus direct bottom heat that overcooks the delicate bacon. Heat from air crisps the strips beautifully.

Step 1: Prep thick cut, lightly seasoned bacon in an appropriately sized, low rim vessel filled with ample water just shy of simmering.

Step 2: Gently submerge bacon strips evenly in a single layer and poach for 8-14 minutes until slightly splayed at centers.

Step 3: Transfer bacon post-poach using a slotted spoon to a wire rack over a baking sheet. Allow excess water to drain briefly.

Step 4: Place bacon filled rack in 400°F oven to uniformly dehydrate strips to desired crispness around 6-8 minutes after cooking bacon in water.

The magic intersection of gentle poaching followed by ambient oven drying transports basic bacon into transcendent territory with meaty concentration of flavor when cooking in water. Mastering the technique paves the way for many mouthwatering manifestations featuring bacon’s impeccable texture and caramelized nutty essence.

Summary

Cooking bacon in water rather than traditionally fried in oil allows precise temperature control to gradually render meaty flavors through poaching followed by a dehydration that crisps porky goodness to salty, savory perfection. Using appropriately sized thick bottom pans and wire cooling racks enables airflow circulation. Low, steady simmering times around 8-14 minutes depend on cut thickness before a finishing touch under the broiler or in oven heat dries the surface for sublime enjoyment after cooking bacon in water.

FAQs

Why use water instead of oil to cook bacon?

Water poaching allows precise temperature regulation that oil skillet cooking fails to evenly achieve when cooking bacon in water. The hydrating effect tenderizes the meat before drying intensified crispiness. The water process prevents aggressive splattering and need for excessive oil, keeping the cook cleaner.

Does the poaching dilute bacon flavor when cooking bacon in water?

Properly ratioed water to bacon volume with ample strips submerged retains rich meaty flavor especially when balanced by highly circulated oven drying that concentrates the taste nicely after cooking bacon in water.

How long total does cooking bacon in water take?

Typical poaching times average 8-14 minutes depending on thickness followed by a 6-8 minute drying duration after cooking bacon in water. Super thick cuts benefit from par-blanching first. Total time spans 15-25 minutes.

Can I add seasoning or other ingredients during the poaching stage when cooking bacon in water?

Yes, introducing complementary flavors through garlic, herbs, pepper or sweet touches during the gentle poach infuses the bacon beautifully when cooking bacon in water. Pieces of fruit add nice flavor complexity too.

Sources:

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