Everybody loves grilling out, and everybody loves bacon. So bacon on the grill should be a match made in heaven, right? Unfortunately, you may find that if you put bacon directly on your tailgate grill, it may either catch fire instantly because of its fattiness, which can pose a safety risk or it could end up charring black in a matter of minutes, which would just be a waste.
The good news is that there are some tried and true cooking methods for bacon on the grill.
You can cook your bacon on the grill using indirect heat, or by removing the direct heat and then placing the bacon strips directly on the grill to cook via latent heat. You can do this at the end of a grilling session when you’re ready to put out the flame, or you can place the bacon on the opposite side of the grill from the fire source. Cook and flip the bacon for two minutes.
The advantage of this method is that you get the lovely grill marks that you can only get by cooking your bacon outdoors. One downside is that you’re going to end up with chunks of bacon that render and stick to the grill grate. Cleanup involves a fair amount of work because the fat will be charred on the metal grates.
A more gentle indirect heat method is to cook your bacon directly on cooling rack if you’ve got one. All you have to do is to put the strips on the rack and turn off the heat. Close the lid of the grill and wait two minutes. Your bacon will be cooked all the way through and will be crispy. You still will have to scrub the racks, but the taste of your finished product may be worth it.
For safety and easier cleanup, take a sheet of aluminum foil that is double the length and width you actually need and fold it in half so you have a double layer. Fold up the sides so you can catch the grease, and it won’t drip off onto the coals. Make sure you have a plate lined with a paper towel handy, but make sure it isn’t too close to the fire. Put the strips of bacon on the foil and turn it over so both sides are crispy. The advantage of this method is that it is easy to clean up since you can just throw the foil away. The disadvantage is that it doesn’t have the telltale grill stripes of something cooked directly on the grill.
Pre-cook and Reheat
It may be tempting to cook the bacon ahead of time inside the house and reheat it on the grill for some extra smokey flavor. If you go this route, be quick to avoid leaving the bacon too long on the grill. Be ready with tongs to toss it on both sides in a matter of seconds, because it takes just two minutes to char a strip of bacon placed on the grill. You’re there to warm it, not cook it.
If you succeed, you may add some extra flavor to your bacon with minimal extra cleanup.
Skillet or Griddle
This is a favorite method for cooking bacon on the grill. It is safe, involves simply cleaning the skillet (which you would have to do anyway if you are cooking inside), and it adds a smokey flavor without compromising on color or texture.
Heat your skillet to 400 degrees Fahrenheit on the grill (water splashed in the skillet should sizzle instantly). Put the bacon on the skillet and close the top of the grill for 7 to 10 minutes. Open the top and turn the bacon over with tongs. Cover the top and cook for an additional 3 to 5 minutes until it is crispy.
You may not see the stripes from the actual grill, but you can enjoy the barbecue flavor created by the smoke, and you don’t have to scrub your grill harder. Of course, this may be a lot of work just to make some bacon, so it is a good idea to save this trick for when you are making other food on the grill.
Use a Custom Bacon Grill Rack
Aside from cooking your bacon in advance and just warming it at your tailgate, the easiest way to grill bacon could be buying a teepee rack designed especially for bacon on the grill. This isn’t a new problem, so of course somebody has come up with a product as a solution. Look no further: