Bacon—the almost perfect meat—if you eat pork, of course. Delicious and versatile. I’ve always loved bacon, but appreciate it much more now because 1) it’s a Keto staple and 2) I’ve finally discovered the best bacon to buy and the best way to cook it.
What’s your preference? Thick-sliced or thin? Pan-fried, microwaved, or oven-baked? Organic or not? Applewood or hickory-smoked? I grew up eating Oscar Mayer bacon, and have always thought it pretty good. One of the blogs I follow, TastingTable, in their informal tasting, likes Oscar Mayer, but picked a brand they got at Target as their best taste. However, I’ve tried probably a dozen brands or so, and now offer these as the ones to try:
- Butcher Box—In the DRB lab, I’m working on an article all about Butcher Box, but for now I’ll just say their bacon is really, really good—my new fav. Note you must have a BB subscription to purchase.
- Locally-raised, farm-to-table bacon varieties from your local farmers’ market. I’m hoping your local has at least one farm-to-table meats vendor. If so, try their bacon. It may be from a Berkshire pig ( a heritage breed) and may become your go-to bacon buy, even though it will be pricey compared to the supermarket.
- Smithfield—I have developed a liking for Smithfield pork products based on trying their bacon, pork tenderloin, and pork chops. I like it as the best supermarket alternative to Oscar Mayer.
- And yes, Oscar Mayer. Always solid. I prefer their regular, thick-sliced product.
I can’t imagine why it took me so long to find the best way to cook bacon, but now I have. Bake it. It’s so simple and so good. Baking will give you consistent results, slice-to-slice, and this method gives me just the right crispiness. Your tastes may vary.
- Preheat oven to 400°.
- Lay out a package of bacon slices on a 9×13 sheet pan. I can fit up to 10 slices comfortably. If you have more, use two pans.
- Bake the bacon for 15 minutes.
- Remove pan from oven. Use your tongs to transfer bacon to a paper towel-covered plate, cutting board, or sheet pan.
- Wait ten minutes for the bacon to drain and crisp up.
Eat your bacon right away or store in the fridge or freezer for later. Don’t let the air get at it. Chop into bits and store for use in soups, salads, etc.
The most versatile meat
What other meat can be used in so many different dishes to add meaty accents, smokey notes, and satisfying overtones? None.
Use bacon for a BLT, as the foundation for or a garnish to a soup. Sprinkle bacon bits on salads, baked potatoes, or casseroles. Use bacon fat combined with butter to sauté veggies. And so much more.
Bacon and Keto
For all the versatility of bacon and because of its high fat content, bacon is a Keto staple. We use it several times a week and never get tired of it.