Sizzling and smoky, crispy yet tender…bacon is the best reason to wake up in the morning. But even if you’re a total boss at frying bacon or baking bacon indoors, all that oil and smoke makes it a bear to clean up after cooking. Remember that enticing aroma that drew your entire family into the kitchen at the same time? Of course you do, because it’s still lingering, a subtle reminder it might be time to clean your dusty, greasy oven hood.
You can have your bacon—and a clean kitchen, too—with our easy, step-by-step instructions.
How to Make Bacon on the Grill
Bacon on the grill is everything you love about cooking bacon, minus your kitchen’s bacon hangover. But how? Turns out, there are many ways to grill bacon, but one method stands out above all others: Use a cast-iron skillet.
Step 1: Heat things up.
Preheat your grill to 400°F. Place your cast iron skillet on the grates to preheat, too. (For any skillets that are old and rusty, do this first.)
Step 2: Place the strips down.
Lay the bacon out on the skillet, close the grill and let it cook for 7 to 10 minutes, depending on thickness.
Step 3: Flip!
Open the grill and use tongs to turn the bacon over. Cook for an additional 3 to 5 minutes or until golden and crispy. (Take a moment and be amazed at the color. It’s quite gorgeous and unlike stove-top bacon.)
Step 4: Enjoy.
Use tongs to place bacon on a plate lined with paper towels. Enjoy!
Why Other Methods Paled in Comparison
We tried ’em all, and none came close, although as with pizza, there’s really no such thing as “bad” bacon. (You can make pizza on the grill, too.) Even the worst is still awesome. But here’s a rundown of what happened with the other methods we tried:
- Directly on the grill: First we laid out all the bacon and grilled the strips over direct heat. They were burnt to a crisp within two minutes! So next we tried indirect heat (we turned off the burners as soon as we laid out the bacon). After two minutes, they had lovely grill-marks but also some blackened spots. While this method works about as well as stove-top, it seems like an awful lot of work in a very short amount of time, with almost no room for error.
- Hanging on the second shelf: Can you say “massive flareup?” Yeah, don’t bother trying this one.
- On a skewer: Threading bacon on a skewer like a ribbon (and cooking directly on the grill) seemed a lovely idea. But the bacon cooked unevenly, alternating burnt spots and undercooked spots wherever the “ribbon” bent. If you do want to try it at home, be sure to place your bacon in the freezer for a few minutes before threading to make it easier to work with.
- On a cooling rack: This was the second best method and certainly works if you don’t have a cast-iron skillet. To use this method, simply lay the bacon on the cooling rack, and turn off the heat as soon as you close the grill lid. Your bacon will be crispy in about two minutes.
- On a baking sheet: This took about as long as the cast-iron method but produced chewier bacon. If you want to use a baking sheet, try placing a cooling rack on top of it for a crispier result.
- On parchment paper: Parchment paper is essentially a thin, disposable, non-stick surface. But it burns at temperatures over 400°F, and grilling bacon can quickly raise the temperature in your grill above that, which means you end up with burnt paper.
Now that you’ve grilled up that bacon, here are 62 ways you might want to enjoy it!