A Step-by-Step Guide to Cutting Bacon Crosswise for Perfect Results

Bacon is a breakfast staple loved by many for its smoky, salty crispy texture. While most bacon recipes call for the meat to be cut into strips lengthwise there are instances when cutting bacon crosswise can be preferable. Read on to learn what cutting bacon crosswise means, when to use this technique, and step-by-step instructions for properly cutting bacon crosswise to get picture-perfect results every time.

What Does Cutting Bacon Crosswise Mean?

Bacon is most often sold in long rectangular slabs with visible streaks of pink meat and white fat running lengthwise down the slab. This is referred to as the “grain” of the bacon.

Cutting bacon crosswise means slicing perpendicularly across the grain rather than parallel to it. Instead of long strips, this produces shorter, rounder pieces of bacon.

When Should You Cut Bacon Crosswise?

There are a few specific situations where cutting bacon crosswise is recommended over the traditional lengthwise strips:

For Appetizers

Shorter, rounder pieces of bacon are perfect for appetizers. They can be skewered for bacon-wrapped bites or placed on top of canapés. The smaller cut allows the bacon to cook faster as well.

For Soups and Salads

Cutting bacon crosswise yields pieces that make tasty crunchy toppings for soups, salads, and grains like fried rice. They provide little bursts of bacon flavor in each bite.

For Sandwiches

Cutting bacon crosswise helps it fit better on burgers and sandwiches compared to long strips. The proportions work out nicely.

For Baking Dishes

When bacon is an ingredient in casseroles, potatoes, pasta bakes, etc., crosswise cuts allow the bacon to be evenly distributed throughout the dish.

For More Controlled Portions

Cutting crosswise makes it easier to portion out bacon for multiple servings, like at a brunch buffet. The rounded pieces are quicker to grab as well.

Step-by-Step Guide to Cutting Bacon Crosswise

Cutting bacon crosswise takes just a few simple steps:

1. Start with Good Quality Bacon

Look for thick-cut bacon with long streaks of fat and meat. Avoid thin or overly fatty bacon. Thick, quality bacon holds its shape better when cut crosswise.

2. Chill the Bacon

For clean cuts, it helps to chill the bacon for 30 minutes up to overnight in the fridge or 15 minutes in the freezer. The firmer the bacon, the better it will slice.

3. Place on a Cutting Board

Take the chilled bacon from the fridge and lay it flat on a clean cutting board. Make sure you have ample room to work.

4. Cut Perpendicular to the Grain

With a sharp chef’s knife, slice the bacon crosswise into rounds roughly 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut straight down perpendicular to the grain.

5. Separate the Slices

Gently separate the round slices from each other if they stick together, being careful not to tear them.

6. Continue Until the Slab is Cut

Keep slicing crosswise until you’ve cut the entire slab of bacon. Try to make the pieces as consistent in size as possible.

7. Cook as Desired

The crosswise bacon cuts are now ready to be cooked by pan-frying, baking, or other methods. Use as needed in recipes.

And that’s it! With a properly chilled slab of good quality bacon and a sharp knife, cutting crosswise slices is quick and easy.

Tips for Cutting Crosswise Bacon Slices

Follow these tips for neat, consistent crosswise bacon cuts:

  • Use a sharp, non-serrated knife for clean slices.
  • Let the weight of the knife do the work, don’t force it.
  • Cut in one smooth motion, don’t saw the knife back and forth.
  • aim to make all pieces roughly equal in size.
  • Separate slices stuck together gently to avoid tearing.
  • Keep your knife tip on the board so slices stay intact.
  • Work carefully to maximize usable bacon.

Take care when cutting to get beautiful crosswise bacon slices every time. The extra effort is worth it!

Storing and Cooking Crosswise Bacon

Store, cook, and use crosswise bacon the same as you would traditional bacon strips:

  • Store in a sealed container in the fridge up to 7 days.
  • Cook in a skillet, oven, microwave, or air fryer.
  • Cook a little less time than bacon strips since pieces are smaller.
  • Use in any recipe calling for bacon pieces or chunks!

The crosswise cutting technique doesn’t change how you store, cook, or eat the bacon – just the shape. Enjoy!

Creative Ways to Use Crosswise Bacon Pieces

Once you’ve mastered cutting bacon crosswise, get creative with how you use it! Crosswise bacon brings tasty crunch and saltiness to all kinds of dishes. Try it:

  • As a soup topper – crumble over baked potato soup.
  • In salads – top spinach salads for a BLT feel.
  • On sandwiches – layer on burgers or club sandwiches.
  • In pasta – toss with spaghetti carbonara or mac and cheese.
  • On pizza – sprinkle over cheese pizza or Margherita.
  • In baked goods – fold into cornbread, biscuits, or scones.
  • As a breakfast side – serve crispy next to eggs.
  • On veggies – mix into roasted Brussels sprouts or green beans.
  • On meat – wrap around scallops, shrimp, or filet.

Let crosswise cut bacon enhance your favorite savory dishes with its iconic flavors – the options are endless!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it better to cut bacon crosswise or lengthwise?

Neither is better overall. Lengthwise yields the classic breakfast strip shape. Crosswise gives smaller pieces better suited for toppings, recipes, and portion control. Choose based on intended use.

Should bacon strips be cut thick or thin?

Thicker bacon slices are easier to handle and tend to cook up with a better meat-to-fat ratio. Around 1/4 inch thick is ideal, but adjust to your preference.

Can you cut bacon slices in half?

Absolutely. Cutting pre-sliced bacon strips in half crosswise makes shorter pieces perfect for sandwiches, wraps, and toppings.

Should bacon be cut before or after cooking?

For best control, it’s better to cut bacon before cooking. The firmer raw bacon holds its shape for neat cuts. Bacon is more prone to shredding once cooked.

How small can you cut bacon?

There’s no minimum size. For flavoring, bacon can be diced extremely fine. For texture, keep diced pieces at least 1/4 inch. Too small and the crisp bacon texture is lost.

Get Crispy Crosswise Bacon Today

Understanding how to cut bacon crosswise opens up new possibilities for enjoying this versatile breakfast meat. When used as a topping or mix-in rather than the main attraction, crosswise cut bacon really shines. So grab a pack of your favorite thick-cut bacon and start slicing perpendicularly across the grain. Then get ready to sprinkle crispy, salty bacon goodness into soups, salads, pastas, sandwiches, and more!

how to cut bacon crosswise

What Does It Mean to Slice Lengthwise?

Cutting something “lengthwise” means slicing vertically along the length of something. This is especially easy to do with things like carrots or bacon strips that have long sides. It can be trickier to find the long side of round foods like onions or cabbage. Think of lengthwise as going from pole to pole, like the two points on a lemon, the root to the bud of an onion, or the stem to the base of a tomato.

Produce sliced lengthwise should look like this:

how to cut bacon crosswise

What Does It Mean to Slice Something Crosswise?

Crosswise is just cutting in the opposite direction of lengthwise. For example, the lines of latitude on a globe or the sphere’s circumference are examples of crosswise cutting. Cut across the grain when you want to make rounds that are all the same thickness, like onion rings or tomato slices for a bagel.

Produce sliced crosswise should look like this:

how to cut bacon crosswise

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