Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Best Way to Cook Bacon

Who doesn't like bacon?  OK, it's not the healthiest food in the universe.  But come on, it's BACON.  Even my doctor advocates all things in moderation.  So I eat bacon, but not very often.  After frying bacon in a pan my whole life, I came across a new method a few years ago and haven't looked back ever since.  The problem with frying bacon is that it never fits the pan.  Therefore it cooks unevenly so some parts are burnt while others are still soft.  It curls up funny.  It smokes up the house and spatters all over the cooktop.  If it wasn't BACON we'd never put up with it.  But eureka, there's a better way.  Baking bacon in the oven eliminates the mess and results in large quantities of perfectly cooked, perfectly straight bacon pieces.  Cleanup is as simple as tossing a piece of aluminum foil.  I've seen two variations of this method - one advocates using a cooling grate on top of the baking pan to elevate the bacon while cooking, and one simply calls for putting the bacon in the pan.  I've tried both methods.  Although both work, I didn't notice any difference in the result and the bacon did tend to stick to the  grate.  Plus, it's one more thing to clean.  Therefore, I use the simpler method that is described below.

Baked Bacon
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Cover a large baking sheet that has a lip with heavy duty aluminum foil.  Place the bacon on the sheet without overlapping.  Bake in the oven for 6 minutes, then rotate the baking sheet 180 degrees and continue to bake until the bacon reaches your desired degree of crispness.  This will depend on your preference, your oven, and the thickness of your bacon.  In general, I allow about 10 more minutes but start checking after about 6 minutes and stay close to the oven to keep watching (bacon goes from perfect to burnt fairly quickly).  Lift the bacon off the pan with tongs and place on a paper towel-lined plate.  Pat the top of the bacon with another paper towel.  Serve.

Allow the aluminum foil and grease to cool before tossing.

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