Why Bacon Tastes So Much Better At Diners Than At Home

Nothing quite says Sunday morning like a steaming cup of strong coffee and a pile of sizzling bacon on a breakfast plate. While brunching is still important, sometimes a lazy Sunday morning at home is exactly what you need before a manic Monday. But are you willing to forgo that perfectly cooked diner bacon for the slab you make at home? What if you could replicate the diner bacon experience without changing out of your fuzzy slippers and bathrobe?

To start, it's important to consider where you're getting the bacon itself. While many only think to get bacon at the local grocery store — i.e. uniform slices across brands — diner owners purchase their bacon by the number of slices in a pound, Vasiliki "Vicky" Limberis, owner of the now-shuttered Vicky's Diner in NYC, explains to MyRecipes. This means diner owners chose how thick or thin their bacon is sliced, which impacts the meat-to-fat ratio. Keep an eye on the number of slices in your next package to hit Limberis' bacon sweet spot: 14 to 18 slices per pound.

The freshness of the meat is also key. Diner bacon gets cooked pretty much as soon as the delivery comes in (via MyRecipes). Looking for a smaller-scale producer, like a butcher shop, would give you fresher bacon than mass-market brands.

The secret is pre-cooking your bacon

Regardless of the perfect meat-to-fat ratio and peak freshness, the real secret to diner-worthy bacon is the cooking method. According to Epicurious, par-cooking it in the oven is the preferred method of many restaurant owners. Once it's cooked, they layer the bacon slices on paper towels to absorb the fat and refrigerate. When you're ready to eat, simply re-heat the bacon on the stovetop to the desired crispness.

Former diner owner Vicky Limberis actually pre-cooked her diner's bacon on a rack over a sheet pan, to drain away any excess fat while it cooked (via MyRecipes). However, John Koutsouris, owner of The Greeks diner in New Jersey, prefers to confit his bacon (via Epicurious). After smothering the bacon slab in oil, he broils it for 20 minutes, which cooks it about halfway. Then he finishes it off on the grill for 2 minutes, saving the extra bacon-flavored grease for other dishes. 

Now you're one step closer to whipping up a diner-worthy Sunday breakfast without changing out of your jammies.