Vegetarians, read on. This is for you too and there’s nothing too too graphic… you can just ignore anything swine-related.
Since it’s almost the weekend, I thought some breakfast would be good inspiration. And this, seriously anyone can make. It was the first thing I ever learned to make from scratch in the kitchen – pancakes. I still remember making them every Saturday morning growing up. That was my job in the kitchen… and to this day, some 20 years later, it’s still the only recipe that I know straight off the top of my head. I even remember what page it came from in the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. You know the one – the classic gingham patterned book that was on the shelf of probably just about every Midwestern kitchen in the 80’s.
In this photo – everything you need to make pancakes. Goood pancakes. If this is it, why do we ever use Bisquick? I don’t know. These pancakes are so good you’ll never use a boxed mix again, promise.
And then, as if they weren’t good enough already, I decided that since I had a fresh slab of homemade bacon hot off the smoker less than 24 earlier, what better way to put it to use than… in my pancakes. This is the first time I’ve added the bacon twist to these cakes but it definitely won’t be the last. I figured, we eat plenty of bacon with pancakes, why not just cut to the chase and stuff it inside. Kill two stones with one bird, no?
So the first thing I did was fry up the bacon and render off some of the fat. Now this fat – from these amazing hogs – is like gold. And you have to treat it that way… any of it that comes out, gets saved and used in some way later. This stuff is no normal bacon grease… no no no this is some special stuff. Flavor like you wouldn’t believe, and I plan on savoring every last bit – just not all at once. I’m saving up for a bacon fat milkshake…
So actually, after I fried the bacon and poured off the grease, I decided to substitute a little bit of it for about half of the oil that goes into the pancake mix. I also used it to grease the pan I was frying them in instead of butter like I usually would.
So, this is how they go:
Best Pancakes Ever
Adapted from the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook circa 1988
1.5 cups flour
2 Tbsp sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt – just a nice little pinch
1 cup milk
2 Tbsp oil (vegetable, olive, canola – or slightly warmed bacon fat)
Mix the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix the wet ingredients in a smaller bowl.
Mix the wet into the dry.
If the mixture is too thick or too thin, adjust with more flour or more milk accordingly. The consistency can vary, depending on how thick you like your pancakes. I prefer mine nice and fluffy so I tend to make my batter about the consistency of… a milkshake. But not a thin runny one, a good milkshake… but not an extra thick one either. Just a perfect consistency milkshake. I love milkshakes.
This is when I added the chopped up bacon.
When you’re ready to go, heat up a frying pan (I prefer nonstick – it makes things so much easier) over medium heat. I test it by flicking a drop of water on it – If it sizzles, you’re ready to go.
There are a couple of crucial moves to ensure your pancakes are perfect:
1. Don’t overmix the batter. Only mix it until the ingredients are incorporated and relatively smooth. If you beat it forever, you’ll make glue.
2. Only flip once. EVER. None of that flipping and flipping until you have the right color. Get it right the first time. You cook it on one side, flip it and it’s done. End of story, no questions.
Don’t flip until it’s done on the first side and once you get to that point, it doesn’t take more than just giving it a little color on the second side to be done. You’ll start to see little craters forming and filling in on top of the pancake. When those start to slow and it’s golden brown on the first side it’s ready to flip. Usually it’ll take a couple minutes. Then on the second side all you have to do is give it a little color and it’s ready to go.
It’ll look something like this when they’re ready to flip:
And when they’re done, they’ll look something like this:
And then of course, the marriage between bacon and maple syrup is a very stable one, sure to produce many children and last a long long time. And I’m sorry, I don’t care what anyone says about real maple syrup… when it comes to pancakes, it’s just not for me. I’ve had too many years of Log Cabin and nothing satisfies me like it does… sometimes I just need to get my corn syrup on, sorry.