How to Make Bacon Even Better
You are the arbiter of your own porky pleasure
Have you heard the good news about bacon? It's tasty and a lot of people like it. Some people are real horny for bacon. Are obsessed with bacon. Have used their enthusiasm for bacon in lieu of a personality. Have centered their lifestyles around the enjoyment thereof. Don't let their borderline terrifying boosterism deter you from a delightful cured pork experience. Most bacon exists on a spectrum of pretty good to really good. There's a swath of "meh" bacon (often topping fast food sandwiches), and the very occasional definitively bad bacon. (It happens. Feel free to @ me.) But only occasionally does a civilian come across blowout bacon, and that's a pity. It's not that hard to amp bacon up a little bit and seeing as the world is running a couple pints low on joy right now, it's both OK and crucial to manifest extra pleasure where you can.
Obviously you can buy really great bacon. Our Bacon Critic Emeritus Scott Gold did all the grueling work for you and you may reap the benefits of his findings. Yes of course Benton's is on the list. I'd toss Edwards Virginia Smokehouse on the list as well. But this is like saying you know what a really great car to drive in? A Mercedes. OF COURSE IT IS. This is about working with what's realistic for you on the regular and making the most of it. Rent a Porsche on vacation sometime, but put some really comfy seat covers in your Honda for the everyday of it all.
If you have not experienced the glory of slab bacon, hooboy, are you in for a treat. This is basically just bacon that's not yet been sliced into strips, and it enables you to select the thickness that most appeals to your senses. How often does that happen? You are the arbiter of your own pleasure. Behave only as responsibly as you choose to. Roasting works well if it's super thick.
Fat and salt are BFF with sweetness, and it doesn't hurt to get a little tanginess in there either. Brush uncooked bacon slices with a slurry of balsamic vinegar and maple syrup, brown sugar, or honey, place them on a rimmed, foil-lined tray in a 400°F oven, check every five minutes or two to see how things are faring, flip and baste as needed, and when the bacon is cooked and the glazed thickened, cool the bacon on a rack with the tray below.
The smoke and saltiness of bacon is also excellent with heat. Only you know who you are as a spice person, so sprinkle or drizzle accordingly. You may still be a Sriracha stan. Brush some on there. You may appreciate a bright, slow burn in which case get in there with the Aleppo pepper flakes—stick 'em on there with honey if need be. You may have been alerted to the good word about about Chile Crunch, in which case what are you waiting for? Baste it on at the beginning (again, the sheet method is your best bet here) or dust some skillet-cooked bacon once it's crisped to your liking.
You sure can add salt to your bacon if that's what pumps your particular ventricles, but you can also make your own bacon salt and add a little bit of bacon flavor to everything that passes through your lips. Even bacon. How meta. And meaty. (You can also make a bacon candle and light your way through the emotional darkness.)
Cook down bacon with some onion, bourbon, sugar, syrup, and vinegar and you've got bacon jam. Spread that on everything from cheese plates to ice cream, eat it by the spoonful, or spackle it into the cracks in your psyche. It's surprisingly effective.