Assuming you’re a person who loves bacon — not a terribly hard summit to scale, given that it’s crispy, salty, and bad for you, or basically three of the only good reasons to eat anything — I am going to go out on a limb and assume you do not eat it as often as you want to and only some of this has to do with arterial health.
The fact is that unless you life in a massive house with one of those professional ranges and venting systems, frying up bacon on a lazy Saturday morning all but guarantees you will wake up on Sunday, take a deep breath, and think whatever the opposite of “Mmm, day-old bacon grease — my favorite!” is. Or worse, someone might come over on Monday and wonder if you saved them a piece.
For me and my small city kitchen, the only force equal and opposite to my love of bacon is my detest of cooking it. The splatters. The fine mist of grease you don’t even realize you’re depositing all over your kitchen, except for the two times a year you get the stockpot down off the top shelf. And the smell, so happy as it hits the pan, so unwelcome a few hours or days later.
Shortly after we moved into an apartment with a little outdoor space and bought a tiny grill, I decided to cook bacon out there one morning and it changed everything. Bacon cooked on the grill is the best bacon.
I’ve cooked it in the oven, as everyone from Ina Garten to Cook’s Illustrated have sung the praises of, but while it’s easier, it still splatters (in the oven instead of the easier-to-wipe stove) and it still leaves the apartment smelling like bacon grease.
Everything changes when you can take it outside. Shortly after we moved into an apartment with a little outdoor space and bought a tiny grill, I decided to cook bacon out there one morning and it changed everything. Bacon cooked on the grill is the best bacon. It cooks quickly and evenly, with an emphasis on the dark outer edges we find way more satisfying than the center-crisp and edge-flab effect from most frying pans. It spatters nowhere you have to care too much about. The smell floats off to the ether, or realistically, down the block causing innocent bystanders to suddenly crave bacon (sorry/not sorry about that). And if you’ve got more serious barbecuing skills than I do, you can get a whole extra layer of smoky depth infused in the bacon by cooking it over charcoals and additional smoke.
Pretty much the only downside we’ve found is that by removing the most unpleasant aspect of bacon cookery, we’re eating it a lot more often. I just can’t find anyone in my family who actually agrees that this is a problem.
Use Your Grilled Bacon, Smitten Kitchen-Style
- We really like cobb salads for summer meals. Everyone can pick what they like. The chicken can be grilled, and of course the bacon can be too — no heating up or stinking up the apartment required.
- Grilled bacon salad with arugula and balsamic is another bacon salad where it’s the foundation too. This is 100 percent better when the bacon is grilled.