Food

Why does bacon smell so good? Let me count the (150) ways

May 29, 2014 at 10:25 AM ET

Ahh, the sizzle of bacon in the morning!

We've all been lured by that irresistible smell, and now the American Chemical Society, in collaboration with the folks at the Compound Interest blog, have cooked up a video to explain the intricate science behind the aroma.

As the video explains, there are about 150 volatile organic compounds that contribute to bacon's meaty fragrance. When you toss bacon strips in a hot frying pan, reducing sugars react with amino acids in what’s known as the Maillard reaction. It's actually a series of reactions (not specific to just bacon), named after French scientist Louis-Camille Maillard, who was the first to study this food chemistry in the early 1900s.

Also called the “browning reaction," the combination gives cooked bacon its dark, crispy color and unleashes a smell that makes your mouth water.

(Scientists aren't the only ones who talk about the Maillard reaction; some cooks have it in their vocabulary, too.)

Crave the smell of bacon but too lazy to get out of bed? Yes, there’s an app for that.

The science behind why bacon smells so good

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