Bacon adds a smoky flavor and delectable fattiness to salads, dips and soups — usually in the form of bits. If you’re foregoing the fluorescently colored jarred versions for homemade, you have to wrestle first with the raw slimy strips. Bacon bits are best made from small cubes of raw bacon and then cooked, not from crumbled cooked strips. With a few easy steps, cutting up raw bacon can be a cinch.
Raw meat, including bacon, cuts more easily when it’s slightly frozen. Simply wrap the bacon in plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes. It’ll be much stiffer when you take it out and easy to cut into squares or strips.
A sharp knife is key in cutting the bacon into clear cubes, rather than creating a mangled mass. Take advantage of a sharpening stone or an electric knife sharpener, or have your chef’s knife professionally done several times per year.
If you don’t have time to freeze the bacon or sharpen your knife, stack several slices of bacon together to make a bigger cutting surface, which is easier to tackle. Three to five is a good number to choose.
Place one hand on top of the strips with the fingertips curled under.
Put the side of the the chef’s knife blade against your knuckles and cut off a slice of the bacon — go straight through the whole stack.
Move your hand back a bit, line up the knife and cut another slice. Continue until all the lardons are cut; aim for about 1/4-inch strip.
If you want to cut the bacon into cubes, pile up several of the lardon strips and cut them into smaller squares.
If the strips or cubes stick together, it’s OK. They’ll separate as they sizzle in a hot pan.