If you love bacon, you need to try pepper bacon.
It’s a delicious twist on the classic breakfast food, with the smoky flavor of bacon and the spicy kick of cracked pepper.
Traditional bacon vs. pepper bacon
Bacon is a breakfast favorite all over the world. It’s made from cured and smoked pig meat and has a rich, smoky flavor.
But did you know you can make it even better? Pepper bacon adds a spicy kick with crushed peppercorns.
The mix of salty bacon and sharp pepper is unforgettable. You’ll wonder why you ever had plain bacon before!
History of Pepper Bacon
No one knows for sure where pepper bacon came from. Some think it started in ancient Rome, where pepper was used to preserve and flavor meat.
Others say it began in medieval Europe, where cooks experimented with bacon dishes. Either way, bacon, and pepper have been a tasty combo for a long time.
Choosing Your Bacon
Types of bacon
The kind of bacon you use can change how your pepper bacon turns out.
Here are three types to try:
- Streaky bacon: This is the most common bacon in the US. It comes from the pig’s belly and has layers of meat and fat. It’s excellent for pepper bacon because the grease gets crispy when cooked.
- Back bacon: This bacon is famous in the UK and Canada. It comes from the pig’s loin and is leaner than streaky bacon. It can be used for pepper bacon, but it tastes slightly different.
- Pancetta: This is an Italian type of bacon. It’s made like streaky bacon but has spices and herbs added. It’s not usually used for pepper bacon, but it can add a new twist to the recipe.
Considerations for quality
When picking bacon for pepper bacon, quality matters.
Here are some things to think about:
- Organic and free-range: Bacon from organic, free-range pigs can be better for the environment and taste better.
- Smoked or unsmoked: You can choose between smoked or unsmoked bacon. Smoked bacon has a stronger flavor, while unsmoked bacon lets the pork taste come through. It’s up to you!
Selecting the Right Peppercorns
The peppercorns you use can change how your pepper bacon tastes.
Here are four types to try:
Black peppercorns are the most common type. They have a strong, spicy flavor that goes well with bacon.
White peppercorns come from the same plant as black peppercorns but are milder. They’re good for when you want a softer pepper taste.
You can use them for less intense pepper bacon.
Green peppercorns are unripe seeds from the same plant as black and white peppercorns. They have a fresh, fruity taste that’s not too spicy.
They can add a new twist to pepper bacon.
Pink peppercorns aren’t true peppercorns. They come from a different plant in South America. They have a sweet, fruity taste with a little bit of pepperiness.
They’re good for adding sweetness to pepper bacon.
Preparing the Bacon
The thickness of your bacon can change how your pepper bacon turns out.
Thick slices will be chewier, while thin slices will be crispy.
Try different thicknesses to see what you like best.
Tips for even cooking
Here are some tips to make sure your pepper bacon cooks evenly:
- Lay the bacon flat: Put the bacon in a single layer in the pan, oven, or grill. Don’t let the slices overlap.
- Flip the bacon: Turn it over often so it cooks evenly on both sides.
- Cook at medium heat: Don’t cook the bacon too fast. Medium heat will make sure it cooks evenly and doesn’t burn.
The Classic Pepper Bacon Recipe
- One pound of high-quality bacon (streaky, back, or pancetta)
- Two tablespoons of freshly cracked black peppercorns (or a blend of your favorite peppercorns)
- Heat your oven to 375°F (190°C) and put parchment paper on a baking sheet.
- Put the bacon on the sheet. Don’t let the slices touch.
- Sprinkle peppercorns on the bacon. Press them in a little.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes until it’s as crispy as you like. Flip the bacon over halfway through.
- Take the bacon out of the oven and put it on a paper towel to eliminate extra grease.
You can eat pepper bacon in many ways.
Here are some ideas:
- Have it with eggs, toast, and fruit for breakfast.
- Put it on a burger or a BLT sandwich for lunch.
- Sprinkle it on a salad or a baked potato for dinner.
Variations and Twists
You can make pepper bacon in many ways.
Here are three ideas:
- Honey-glazed pepper bacon: Mix honey and Dijon mustard and brush it on the bacon. Then add the peppercorns. It’s sweet, savory, and spicy.
- Spicy pepper bacon: Add cayenne or red pepper flakes to the peppercorns for extra heat. Be careful not to add too much!
- Coffee-rubbed pepper bacon: Rub the bacon with coffee seasoning before adding the peppercorns. The coffee and bacon flavors go great together.
You can still enjoy pepper bacon if you’re vegetarian, gluten-free, or keto.
Here are some ideas:
- Vegan and vegetarian: There are plant-based bacon alternatives that you can use. Brands like MorningStar Farms and Lightlife make meatless bacon that you can season with pepper.
- Gluten-free: Most bacon is gluten-free, but check the label. Serve it with gluten-free toast or sweet potato hash.
- Keto-friendly: Pepper bacon is suitable for a keto diet because it’s fatty and low in carbs. Use grass-fed bacon, and don’t add sugary glazes or sauces.
You can cook bacon in many ways.
Here are four popular methods:
- Oven-baking: This is an easy way to cook lots of bacon quickly. It’s also good for getting crispy bacon.
- Pan-frying: This is the traditional way to cook bacon. You can control how it cooks and get a nice crust.
- Grilling: This adds a smoky flavor to the bacon. It’s suitable for cooking outside in the summer.
- Air frying: This is a healthier way to fry bacon. It uses less oil and still gets crispy.
Best Pairings and Side Dishes
Pepper bacon pairs beautifully with a wide range of breakfast, lunch, and dinner options.
Here are a few ideas to inspire your meal planning:
- Scrambled eggs
- Avocado toast
- Fresh fruit salad
- Pancakes or waffles
- Breakfast burritos
Lunch and dinner ideas
- BLT sandwiches
- Caesar salads
- Grilled cheese sandwiches
- Bacon-wrapped chicken or shrimp
- Loaded baked potatoes
Appetizers featuring pepper bacon
- Bacon-wrapped dates
- Bacon-wrapped jalapeno poppers
- Bacon-wrapped asparagus
- Bacon-wrapped scallops
- Bacon-wrapped figs
Storing and Reheating
Keep your pepper bacon fresh and tasty by storing it right.
- Put your bacon in a sealed container or bag.
- Keep it in the fridge for up to a week, or freeze it for six months.
- Use wax or parchment paper to keep slices from sticking.
Reheating tips for optimal taste:
Microwave: Cover bacon with a damp paper towel and heat for 10-15 seconds per slice.
Oven: Set your oven to 350°F (175°C) and put bacon on a baking sheet. Heat for 5-10 minutes.
Stovetop: Cook bacon in a nonstick skillet over medium heat for 1-2 minutes per side.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How can I make my pepper bacon extra crispy?
Want extra crispy pepper bacon? Try cooking it in the oven at 400°F/200°C and flip it often.
What is the best type of bacon for pepper bacon?
Streaky bacon is best for pepper bacon because it has more fat. But try different types to find your favorite.
Can I freeze pepper bacon?
Yes, you can freeze pepper bacon for up to six months. Then, wrap it tight and store it in an airtight container.
What are some other seasoning options for bacon?
How do I choose the best peppercorns for my recipe?
Choose peppercorns based on your taste. Try different types to find the perfect flavor and heat for you.
Pepper bacon is yummy and can be enjoyed in many ways.
Endless options exist if you like the classic recipe or want to try something new.