Deglazing a pan after searing is an obvious, almost reflexive part of cooking a steak or a pork chop, but it’s not so common when frying bacon. But like chops and steaks, bacon is just a piece of meat, and deglazing—aka scraping all those delicious browned bits up with the help of little liquid—ensures you don’t leave any flavour in the pan.
I usually cook big batches of bacon in the oven, but the other day I decided to fry up a few strips for a sandwich and reached for my (cold) stainless steel pan. Once the strips were nice and crisp (and draining on paper towels), I noticed that—in addition to the obvious grease—a fair amount of fond had been left in my pan.
If I had been making an egg sandwich, I would have left the grease in the pan and fried the thing directly in the grease, letting the white latch on to all the little browned bits. But I wasn’t making an egg sandwich. I was making a bacon sandwich on white toast, so I poured the excess grease into my grease crock and deglazed the pan with a little vermouth, scraping up those little bits with a wooden spoon. Once the vermouth reduced, I had a sweet and salty liquid that was studded with little bits of burnt bacon. I let if cool, then mixed it with a big spoonful of mayo and a squirt of Dijon. Then I spread the mixture on my bacon sandwich. Then I was happy (for a bit).
Beyond excellent sandwich spreads, deglazed bacon goodness can be saved and added to pasta sauces, soups, stews, salad dressings or anything that needs a salty, cured pork boost. You can also add a big ol’ knob of butter for a really dank pan sauce. Wine and vermouth both make excellent deglazing liquids, but if you are in the habit of cooking bacon in a cast iron or carbon steel pan, reach for something non-acidic (like stock) so as not to mess up the finish. And, if you happen to be a ride-or-die bacon baker, don’t worry; you can deglaze a sheet pan. (Just be sure to pour off the grease first. I would hate it if you splattered yourself with hot grease.)