… And Pick a Nice Slice of Pig
Our resident porkologist, Grub Street’s Josh Ozersky, anoints the best breakfast meats on the market.
FOR THE OCCASIONAL FRYER
Oscar Mayer Hearty Thick Cut Bacon
$6.99 a pound at Food Emporium, 10 Union Sq., nr. 15th St.; 212-353-3840.
WHY IT’S GREAT: Of the standard brands, Oscar Mayer strikes the best balance of salty and sweet, and the ratio of fat to lean meat is exactly what most people like. The thick slices allow for more pork flavor than most tissue-thin supermarket bacons.
ALMOST AS GOOD: North Country Smokehouses’s applewood bacon, which is a little smokier ($8.49 a pound at Todaro Bros., 555 Second Ave., nr. 31st St.; 212-532-0633).
FOR THE DISCERNING BACONITE
Niman Ranch Dry-Cured Applewood-Smoked Bacon
$8.99 for a twelve-ounce package at Murray’s Cheese, 254 Bleecker St., nr. Cornelia St. 212-243-3289.
WHY IT’S GREAT: A subtler, porkier, all-natural bacon produced by actual dry curing, not the industrial-injection method used in supermarket bacons. You give up a little acridity, but the density and deep pork flavor make up for it.
ALMOST AS GOOD: The nicely smoky Nueske’s bacon ($8.29 at Fairway Market, 2127 Broadway, at 74th St.; 212-595-1888).
FOR THE BACON OBSESSIVE
The House Bacon at Rub BBQ
$7.95 an order (between eight and ten pieces) at Rub BBQ, 208 W. 23rd St., nr. Seventh Ave.; 212-524-4300.
WHY IT’S GREAT: Tennessee bacon guru Allan Benton advised on the cure, done in-house to Berkshire pork bellies before they go in for a cold smoke, a hot smoke in a hickory wood-fueled barbecue pit, and finally a browning bath in boiling lard. Reserve ahead, then fry it yourself at home.
ALMOST AS GOOD: The Grateful Palate’s online Bacon of the Month Club includes most of the country’s great slabs, like a hickory-smoked brown-sugar bacon from Gatton Farms (one-year membership from $295; gratefulpalate.com).
The Right Way to Cook Bacon
Don’t use a frying pan. Don’t even use a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet. No, bacon strips are long, and the center of a pan (where the heat is most intense) is small, so inevitably the middle crisps up while the ends are left limp. For an even, slow cook, lay the bacon out in a sheet pan in a 375-degree oven. Cook for about fifteen to twenty minutes. Remove when it’s brown and resistant to the tooth, but not crispy to the point of brittleness.