Internet memes aside, Chefs Tom Douglas and Thierry Rautureau have some recommendations for the crisp deliciousness that is fried pork belly.
But first, the existential question of bacon-purchasing: What to buy?
“There is no right or wrong,” Thierry says. “It depends on what you’re going to do with it. If you’re going to make two sunny-side up eggs, with two slabs of bacon next to it, I would [use] fairly thin bacon, because you’re going to be just frying it in the pan; you don’t need a big bacon stick next to your eggs.”
But if you don’t want it as a breakfast food, Thierry says go with thick-cut. “If you’re going to cook it and dice it in a salad, thicker is better. You’re not looking to fry the thing dry, you still want some chewiness to it.”
For the health-conscious among us, there are plenty of imitation bacon varieties available. But Tom says he only ever veers from “bacon bacon” – e.g. turkey, tofu, or veggie bacons – when aiming for a different flavor, like Italian or pancetta.
“It also makes a great BLT,” he says.
Thierry recommends going in for bacon whole-hog at least once in your lifetime.
“You should make the commitment to buy a big piece once,” he says. “Cut it into three or four pieces, wrap it up and put it in the freezer, and then you have a bulk of bacon in the freezer, which is always something you can use.”
Because, really, when can you go wrong with bacon?
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