How to Cook Hempler’s European Center Cut Bacon to Perfection

As a fellow bacon lover I know the struggle of trying to achieve the perfect texture when cooking bacon. Crispy or chewy? Lightly browned or burnt to a crisp? It’s a delicate art.

That’s why I was so excited when I discovered Hempler’s European Center Cut Bacon. This thick-cut artisanal bacon with its signature oval shape provides a uniquely hearty, meaty bite. And the natural smoking method gives it a rich, smoky flavor that’s unbeatable.

But like any speciality food, cooking it just right takes a little know-how. Through trial and error in my own kitchen, I’ve dialed in the ideal methods for cooking Hempler’s bacon—whether you prefer it crispy or chewy. Follow my tips below to enjoy this gourmet bacon at its best.

A Quick Intro to Hempler’s European Center Cut Bacon

Before we get cooking, let’s make sure we understand what makes Hempler’s bacon special. As the name suggests, it’s a European-style bacon made from pork collars that creates those signature meaty slices The old-world smoking process infuses tons of flavor

You’ll immediately notice how it looks different from regular American bacon Hempler’s comes in larger, oval cuts rather than skinny strips It’s sold in quantities around 20 ounces rather than pound packages.

These characteristics make Hempler’s bacon perfect for sandwiches, burgers, breakfast tacos, and anywhere else you want hardy bacon slices. The rich taste also pairs wonderfully with brussels sprouts, loaded baked potatoes, salads, and more.

Now let’s talk about how to unleash the full potential of this amazing bacon!

Stovetop Method for Crispy Bacon

If you like your bacon crispy to the point of shattering, the stovetop is the way to go. Here’s how I fry up crunchy slices of Hempler’s bacon:

  • Start with a cold skillet. You want the bacon to heat slowly and evenly.

  • Arrange the slices in a single layer without overlapping. Crowding will steam the bacon and make it soggy.

  • Choose medium to medium-high heat so the bacon sizzles but doesn’t scorch.

  • Cook for 2-3 minutes on the first side. Resist the urge to move it around constantly.

  • Flip each slice and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Check for your desired level of crispness.

  • Transfer the cooked bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to soak up excess grease.

  • Sprinkle with a pinch of black pepper or other seasonings if desired.

The key is patience. Letting the bacon cook low and slow ensures crispy texture without burnt edges or underdone centers. Adjust the heat as needed to prevent scorching.

Oven Method for Chewy, Tender Bacon

For me, chewy bacon with a little “flop” is bacon perfection. No crunch, just tender, meaty texture. And the oven is the best place to achieve this.

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with foil. The higher temp helps render fat.

  • Arrange the bacon slices in a single layer on the sheet without overlapping.

  • Bake for 15-18 minutes, flipping the bacon halfway through.

  • When done, the bacon should be lightly browned but still have a soft, pliable texture.

  • Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to blot grease.

The gentle ambient heat of the oven slowly renders the fat while keeping the bacon tender. Keep an eye on it as ovens vary. You want it perfectly done without crossing over into crispy territory.

Pro Cooking Tips

Whether you use the stovetop or oven, these pro tips will help maximize flavor and texture:

  • Choose thicker bacon slices for the best results. The extra meaty bite stands up to cooking.

  • Make sure slices aren’t touching, so they cook evenly with ideal crisping/chewiness.

  • Use tongs for flipping rather than a fork which pierces the bacon.

  • Add aromatics like fresh thyme or rosemary to the pan for bonus flavor.

  • Brush maple syrup or brown sugar onto the bacon in the last 1-2 minutes for a sweet touch.

  • Freeze extra cooked bacon in ziplock bags to reheat later in the microwave.

Time to Try Hempler’s Gourmet Bacon!

Now you’re ready to experience authentic European-style bacon at its very best. Hempler’s center cut pork collars are already a cut above standard supermarket bacon. And preparing them using these methods takes them to the next level of smoky, meaty bacon bliss in every bite.

So grab yourself some of their center cut bacon, and start frying or baking your way to personal bacon nirvana. Trust me—once you go Hempler’s, you’ll never see bacon the same way again!

Side by Side BLTs – Market Cut Shoulder Bacon & Regular Bacon


Is Hempler’s bacon precooked?

Hams (all types), Chicken Roasts, and Canadian Bacon: These products are fully cooked and safe to eat right out of the packaging. Like our smoked sausages, they are best enjoyed heated but there is no minimum cooking temperature required for safe consumption.

What is European center cut bacon?

Authentic European Cottage Style bacon, made from specially-selected pork collars from hogs that are fed a strict diet of lean grains. Slowly smoked over natural hardwoods, providing a rich aroma and savory flavor, with a thick gourmet cut for a meaty bite.

How do you know when center cut bacon is done?

Inspect the bacon to make sure it is brown and slightly crispy. Insert a fork style food thermometer 1/4 inch into bacon slices more than 1/2 inch thick and make sure the temperature is 160 F before transferring the bacon to paper towels to drain before serving.

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