I'm a huge fan of pan frying. But I love bacon the best after it has been cooked thoroughly, then put in the fridge after a day. Mmmmm! Cold bacon!
And 15 minutes sounds about right for pan fry. Do like Emeril says and use the adjustment knob and set it to medium. Keep your eye open for lean bacon at the market!
Instead of cooking the bacon on a paper towel in the microwave, you might want to try a tray like this one.
Looking at the ridged plate made me wonder...could you George Foreman grill bacon? It might end sort of oddly shaped though.
When I was a professional cook we would bake our bacon (pun unintended) in the oven at around 350 - 400 degrees I'm guessing that it took around 8-10 minutes but the bacon could come early or late depending on how you like your bacon (less time for chewy bacon more time for very crisp bacon) it's a fairly consitient way to cook bacon without having to watch it every minute.
-Nik (dakan AT flashmail DOT com)
I think in part II, I will try baking, grilling indirectly, and find someone with a George Foreman grill.
Your experiment made my hungry! I love bacon but I still don't know how to cook them properly. I don't like it crispy because I like them limp in a sandwich.
Will try your method, then maybe I will see some consistency in my bacon cooking.
Thanks for the experiments! Like Nik, I bake bacon at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes. I get mine from my local farmer's market and there is nothing better at brunch on a fall morning.
For an unparalleled breakfast-meat experience, try brushing the bacon strips with a little real maple syrup before baking.
One of the problems I've had with cooking bacon in a pan is that I like turkey bacon which often times has much less fat than regular bacon. This seems to make frying much harder since no juices are let off to cook it in.
Important question -- is the bacon thawed, or frozen, when you start microwaving it?
A popular restaurant method of cooking bacon is to deep fry it. This is quick and is great for large quantities (assuming you have a large deep fryer). The bacon comes out crisp but usually is not very straight - it ends up curled like a pig's tail.
The bacon was thawed prior to cooking in each of the methods.
Which one tastes the best?
Great experiment, got a good feel for cooking methods and textures and evenness of cooking. One Question, which one tasted the best? I have tried them all and found that i like the taste of slow fried bacon the best.
re: Which tastes the best
I felt that the flavor produced by the microwaved bacon and pan fried bacon were similar. The texture contributes to how you feel when you eat it, so for my the pan fried bacon was the best given that it was not hard and crispy all the way through.
Alton Brown suggests broiling your bacon on a cooling rack inside a cookie sheet lined with foil. This allows the fat to the foil and keep the bacon dry.
Hmmm i love bacon. I have tried only frying and micowaving it though. A good possible way would be also to grill it over a flame from either charcoal or propane. when i have the chance i would try it with coal as it always has better flavor than propane. But u gotta get the coal thats real smoky not the fabricated ones. If anyone gets a chance to try this i would like to know the results. Interesting article
I'm definitely a fan of broiling - but with a rack so the grease drips off and lets it get nice and crispy.
When pan frying bacon, my bacon always became really crumbly and came apart like it was made of sand. I finally figured out that you have to clean out the grease before every new batch. Makes yummy bacon!
Ok, so I'm not American and I suspect this is a cultural difference in naming; but what is "broiling"?
For the record, Bacon should only ever be fried, best in a little olive oil or pork fat (handy if you're planning on cooking sausages as well).
The exception to the rule is bacon joints, which should be boiled in (weak) brine.
From the CfE glossary: To cook food directly under the heat source. Typically refers to placing food immediately under an oven broiler.
Most ovens (at least in America) have a broil function where the flame comes from above allowing you to place food directly under the heating element. Other ovens only have one heating element (at the bottom) and have a tray where you broil below the heating element.
Some light -
Broil = Grill depending on which part of the world you live in.
Microwave your bacon between two paper plates to overcome the paper towel problem, also one less dishe to clean.
Thanks Glen, so:
Grilling == Bar-be-queing/Char-grilling;
Broiling == Grilling;
Gotta love i18n
i'm into cooking myself and the greatest problem a(bout bacon)i've yet to solve is how to cook crispy and straight bacon strips. they usually end up curly and crumbly. will definitely try your suggestions. and any suggestions for making gravy?
I cook bacon in the microwave frequently. I use a flat bacon cooker from Nordicware that is different from the round one referenced above. This is a slanted device so the grease runs off into a depression at one end. I put paper towels (2)under the bacon and flap 2 more over the bacon. The paper absorbs almost all the grease, and the bacon comes out straight and crisp. I can get up to 6 slices on this device. Cook times vary with the cut of bacon, it's thickness and degree of wetness (which varies by brand and indeed in brands from one package to the next)and number of slices on the cooker.
I cook the bacon for 2-3 minutes on high power and then turn the cooker plate 180 degrees. After using the microwave for several years, I can gauge the time needed to finish the cooking depending on doneness at this time.
The downside to using the microwave, IMO, is that the bacon comes out almost too crisp vs. using a frying pan. Pros are the speed of cooking, ease of cleanup, and straight strips when cooked.
Cook's Illustrated has an article on cooking bacon in the oven. This is a subscription magazine, but, maybe this link will work to see the article. They use a little different approach than our host did in his test which obviates burning the bacon, but, is a bit work intensive compared to the microwave. Here is the link
Baking bacon gives superior results to pan frying, it saves your sckin (no grease splatters), it requires less active work time for the cook, an entire package can be made on one baking sheet and it doesn't stink up the house as much.
Trust me, one package or bacon spread out on a jelly roll pan in a 350 oven is the way to go.
Bake *all of it*. I like to bake up two pounds (or more) of bacon at a time in the convection oven. Most of it goes into zip locks in the freezer. Then when I need a piece or two I just give it a quick warm up in a pan (if I want a little bacon fat) or in the microwave.
This way you only need to do the big messy clean up once in a while.
I have read that Protein 'curls' above approximately 170', and consequently I try and cook protein slowly, and attempt to avoid 'curling the protein'. I also note that most meat thermometers state 'doneness' at +/- 170'. This also seems to work cooking broths, soups, stews etc., as there is less crud (protein??) floating on top. Apparently, also, when the protein is 'cooked' the food won't stick to a non-coated pan or grill. When the food can be 'pushed (not sticking!) it is the earliest, a good time to flip or move.
George Foreman works great. Grease slides all down into a tray.. It doesn't get wavy and cooks both sides at the same time :)
I just use a Pyrex square pan (the kind you would cook Lasagna in), in the microwave. Every three minutes I drain it. You can cook 1/2 a pound of bacon this way, and it is a lot easier than frying.
re: microwaving bacon
I must have a small microwave oven... The largest pyrex container that I can fit is an 8 in. square. My bacon is 12 inches long... There's no way I can fit 1 lb. of bacon in the pyrex dish without stacking. Do you microwave them stacked?
The best bacon in my opinion is turkey bacon, and the best way to cook it (or at least the easiest) is to put about eight strips on a piece of parchment paper on a baking tray (or cookie sheet) and bake in the oven at about 350-375 F for about 10 minutes. Delicious.
I consider it borderline sinful to waste something as wonderful as pork fat, so frying a few strips of bacon is usually a prelude to frying something else in the rendered fat -- some eggs, or asparagus, or a steak. Panfrying just makes more sense when I'm going to toss something else in the pan right after I take the bacon out.
Everything but the squeal...
I am wondering about the effects of microwaving the bacon at different powers.
Is the "paper stick" factor reduced by cooking it at 50% power instead of 100%? Is there a desirable change in texture? eg: less crispy; more chewy?
If you need to cook a lot of bacon in a small microwave, you can stack it. Using the paper towel technique, just put a couple on the bottom, around 4 pieces of bacon, another paper towel, more bacon, paper towel and so on. I always throw a couple of paper towels on top of the pile to keep splatter down. You just need to increase the cook time. You can do an entire package and get crispy, straight bacon in approx 6 mins or so (depends on your microwave). The paper towels absorb all of the grease, but if you can fit some sort of plate in there, it is helpful for any run off.
I'm a bit late to the game but my prefered method is to use a sandwich press (2 flat hot plates, pressing the bacon in between) this lets you cook to the desired level of crispyness (or not in my case, I like lean non crispy bacon) and keep it falt. cooks really quickly too.
RE: Cooking bacon in the microwave.
We use the trick of using two plates together: 1 dinner plate, and a smaller side plate.
Upturn the side plate in the middle of the dinner plate, and drape the bacon on the bottom of the side plate (which is now facing up).
The bacon cooks; the grease drains down the sideplate and is caught by the dinner plate.
We also use a piece of kitchen roll over the top (so it doesn't spit everywhere) and voila!
PS: It's an idea to intermittently open the microwave and unstick the kitchen roll from the bacon.
please no cup measures - why not weigh (in g/kg).
temps in C not F please.
re: measuring cups
Unfortunately, here in the United States, most recipes are written using volumetric units for solids. I have been endeavring to provide the correct mass units as well in more recent articles, but haven't had the time to go back to fix the older articles.
I was wondering if on the next iteration you could try pan frying using a cast iron pan. My sister insists that this is the only way to cook bacon (for evenness, etc.) and I'd love to see a comparison.
Great site! I love to cook, and I love the layout of your recipes ... they make perfect sense!
Bacon, difficult topic.
The americans like crispy, streaked bacon.
Brits like bacon back and cooked not burnt.
Interesting article, but for me and most of the people i know, well we cook it in the pan or the grill (americans: broil). the biggest difference once the meat is cooked and the fat has coloured then it is ready. teh use of back bacon means that there is more meat less fat.
also crispy back bacon is not very edible.
Best of both worlds - bake your bacon on the broiler pan!
The grease drains down below - where it can be collected for frying up stuff like home-fries - and the bacon lays straight and gets cooked. I like mine particularly crisp, so I let it cook for about 20 minutes at 350.
I have a smaller microwave, too - and my experience is that messing with paper towels and whatnot is a pain. Baking is just as fast as "slow frying," but without all the popping and splattering!
I have found a new way to make bacon, the "makin bacon" dish. I dont like to cook but love doing this.
All of the fat drips off durring cooking, an amazin amount of fat actually.
Curling of bacon strip while frying/broiling can be minimized by making a series of little cuts along the meaty edge of the bacon. M.E. in DSM, IA
Do not cook bacon at any temperature above 300 degrees. The sodium nitrate used to cure and preserve bacon converts at high temperature into (potentially) cancer causing compounds. This is information was put out by the FDA in the 70s (and in many current cookbooks) and you can confirm it yourself. Take some pieces of bacon from the same package, so it should taste exactly the same, and fry some fast and hot in a frying pan. The remainder put in the oven on bake at about 250. It will take approximately 6 hr to crisp bacon in the oven this way. The pan fried bacon will have a bitter taste where the oven baked will taste much better. The drawback is the cooking time. On weekends I put my bacon in our electric oven set as low as it will go and leave it on overnight. I also use a pan with a rack to drain the grease away. Sodium nitrate is also used to cure hams, sausage, and jerky but has not been shown to produce the same cancer related compounds in those products no matter at what temperature they were cooked. A great referance still in print is "Great Sausage Recipes and Meat Curing" by Rytek Kutas
As an alternative, buy uncured and/or perhaps organic bacon at a natural food store if you can. It may cost more now, but compare to the price of your health and health cost later. Plus, no worries over antibiotics or meat fed other animal parts with mad cow yuk-yuk.
I've been using one of those special microwave trays that the second poster linked to. It works OK, but it is hard to time it right to get crisp bacon. I used to use the paper towel method but it gets frustrating because my wife buys whatever brand is on sale and some brands of paper towel and bacon stick together like crazy.
So now I am back to the pan fry method of my pre-microwave days. This was taking me 15 minutes, too, in a cast iron skillet, but I figured out if you are only doing three or four strips, use a 9 inch teflon pan. Yes, it is too small for the bacon when you start out. You have to scrunch it in there a little. But, soon, the bacon shrinks to fit, out comes the fat and now you are "deep" fat frying. I can do four strips in about six to eight minutes. You did not mention to drain the bacon on paper towels to crisp it (it only takes 30 seconds longer), but I think this is key also. I like this bacon better than any microwave. And the teflon pan is easier to clean than the microwave tray.
For weekend breakfasts, I melt bacon. Using an AllClad double-burner griddle, I cook eight to ten strips of bacon over very low heat - 1½ on a scale of 9 - for 90 to 120 minutes. The strips cook nearly flat, and turn a mahogany color unique to this process.
As to keeping the bacon flat.
My Dad alway used what he called a "bacon press", he made it out of a peice of stainless steal about 4"x8" and welded a handle to it. While the range was heating he would let the press sit on the range also, heating with it. Then when he placed the bacon on the range he would put the press on top of it, the bacon couldnt roll up because of the weight of the press.
tada, flat bacon :-)
Thanks for the kitchen science!
I found a recipe this weekend for Amish peppered bacon.. it sounds bizarre, but also fabulous.. dip the bacon in egg, then coat it in a light coat of peppered flour, THEN fry. Doesn't end up with a thick coating, but is crisp and strange and different!
My arteries don't feel quite strong enough to try it yet...anybody feeling invincible? Let us know how it tastes!!
Roasting (baking) it keeps it flat. This is really the best way to go because when you pan fry it the ends cur l up and dont cook through (yuck). I always buy thick cut bacon that's not commercial, so it doesn't have much sugar. I roast it at 425 degrees for 15-17 minutes, depending on the thickness of the bacon. If you're using bacon with lots of sugar, it might burn at 425.
I believe it was a comedian that said this although I do like the slow cook pan fry method. Most people like to rush it. The quote was something like "The only way to cook good bacon is in the nude". The idea being that if you cooked it at a low enough tempurature it wouldn't splatter and the fact that you were nude would ensure you didn't get impatient and raise the heat. All said and done, microwave works great and is quick. Also, if you bake your bacon (350 unitl sone on a cookie sheet) which I did for years in restaurants and then let cool and put in a freezer bag you can cook a months worth in one setting. Heat in the microwave for 20-30 seconds and its good enough for family table. you might want to just under cook it because when you reheat it will cook some more. It's not crispy
this way but fuctional
My two cents on this subject.
Clean brown paper bags can be used instead of paper towels.
If you add clean up time, the microwave wins hands down. Toss the paper towels and you're DONE.
I like my bacon backed. It seens not to shrink as much. I would like if it you would put it to the test.
Cook it on low heat and it will not burn, cur l or have a weird texture. My mama taught me how....you have to be Southern to cook bacon right!
i'm another "bakin' bacon" fan. i've tried it all ways like you did and baking is now my favorite method -- it's slower, but unless i leave my oven for too long i always get perfect results.
Yum, bacon. :) Try microwaving at 33% power for 3x the duration. I think microwave energy behaves much more like a conventional heat source when "derated" this way. I'd be interested in seeing how much more fat slow microwave-ing renders (if any.)
My favorite it grilling bacon. Especially if you're using a thicker cut. I prefer maple smoked country cut. Unfortunately, it is almost too cumbersome to start a real fire just for bacon, but a medium heat gas grill works fine . . . just keep an eye on the flame ups.
I cook my bacon in a contact grill, similr to the George Forman EXCEPT I have temperature control and flat OR ridged plates. I use the flat & usually turn the bacon once because its so thin it doesn't contact both sides. I set the temperature anywhere between 350 & 400. Slight variations in the temperature make a big difference. The bacon comes out crispy but not crunchy. The fat & meat are equally edible (I hate overcooked meat)
I LOVE contact grilling my bacon & it's so much less messy & so much easier.
My wife, a reformed vegetarian, figured out the best way to cook bacon at home. Lay it out in a big frying pan and put an upside-down plate on top of it. Drain the grease off once or twice while cooking. Takes 15 or 20 minutes. The advantage of this method is that the bacon cooks a little faster but it doesn't get burnt and it tastes excellent.
I HAVE A BIG FAMILY THAT I COOK FOR AND USE THE OVEN . I PUT THE BACON IN A CAKE PAN AT ABOUT 350 FOR 8 OR 10 MINUTE. IT'S GREAT.
For this bacon thread, Call me Porky. I've tried all methods, even carbon steel wok-frying at 40,000 BTU's. But for 10 years I've been most pleased with BAKING.
Baking has several advantages: Flatness; full rendering of fat; an even and rich browning; collectible fat with few particulates.
Method: 1) Use broiler pan with slotted top, or rack on baking sheet. (Slotted top is easier to clean).
2) To facilitate peeling of strips, microwave the 1 lb chunk: 3 pulses of 20 seconds, rotated.
3) A light spray of Pam or a swab with lecithin on pan helps prevent those curious bacon proteins from sticking.
3) Lay pieces on pan, overlapping 1 cm., as they will shrink. Center a "column" of ca. 10 strips down middle on X axis, then use 2 side areas for 2 strips each side on Y axis. This uses ca. 13 oz, leaving 4-6 strips for other uses. Trying to crowd the whole 16 oz in causes conjoined strips that are difficult to separate.
4) Oven should start at 350F, but turned down to 225-250 after 5 minutes (Standard anti-microbial technique). At 250 it will take about 40 minutes; 225 takes 60 minutes, etc. THE LOWER, THE BETTER for slow complete rendering. Going to 150 would be safe, if initial 350 "killzone" is observed.
5) Turning: In a NON-Convection oven there are two temp zones to observe: 1) the standard "hot spots" unique to each oven, and 2) the cooler center of mass vs the hotter perimeter of the pan. Thus, turning AND re-positioning (move from center cool to edge hot, and vice-versa) yields most even results. Use tongs and a teasing fork. Ideally, each piece gets 3 turns and rotations. Remember, the factory slicer is somewhat erratic, so each piece is unique in thickness. Check every 10-12 minutes if at 250. This is all not nearly as labor-intensive as it might sound.
6) Drain on a flat paper bag with single paper towel.
The local grocery store has a twice-yearly sale featuring 7-to-10-lb packages of thick-sliced deli bacon. We fire up the smoker and smoke anywhere from 10-20 pounds of the bacon (obviously, we do it in cycles, so this is a time investment of a few hours). Once it's smoked but only about half-cooked, we take it off the smoking racks and finish it by baking it in the oven on cooling racks placed on baking sheets (with lipped edges, of course), on fairly low heat, for another 5-10 minutes. Then we store it in airtight bags and plasticware in the freezer. Whenever we want bacon, we just pull out however many strips we need, microwave for 10-15 seconds, and that's it. If we invest a few hours of one day in the smoking-baking process, we get enough bacon to last months (even when some family members go on low-carb diets and start practically living on bacon *G*).
I have the best method. Get ready made bacon like this kind
Pop it in the microwave for a minute, and you have perfect bacon when you hear that microwave go "ding!"
I used to be a skeptic of buying ready made bacon, but after trying this out, I wouldn't go back to cooking bacon. It seems to me that the people who make this product have more concerns about perfectly cooking the bacon, and they have executed accordingly.
The bacon tastes great. It is cooked throughout, and no matter how thin it is, it still has that crisp and chewiness that makes it the ideal bacon.
The only problem I have with is the greasiness. I think they flash freeze the bacon once they cook it, so the fat is kept. My husband gave me the perfect solution:
Place the bacon on top of rice when you pop it in the microwave. The fat runs down the rice and you'll have tasty rice and not-so-greasy bacon.
I guess this would be the solution if you like bacon on rice like we do. YUM. If not, then I'm sure the paper towel trick will do after letting it rest for a bit.
It's probably more pricey than raw bacon, but hey, if you're going to live it up by eating bacon, go all the way and get ready made bacon!
Microwaving, broiling, baking and ready-made bacon may be easier/quicker/cleaner, but none can beat the flavor of bacon fried in its own grease!
For perfectly flat bacon, I recommend using a clothes iron set on "linen" or whatever the highest setting is.
Place the bacon on parchment paper or yesterday's Times and have at it usng firm pressure to render the fat. Be sure the water reservoir on steam irons is empty, otherwise you will have difficulty reaching the proper temperature.
I will say that if you are at all meticulous about your appearance, (as you may be if you require ultra-flat bacon) you should probably use a separate iron from the one you use on your clothes. This technique is also handy for those late night BLTs after the bar closes when staying in a hotel, as most hotels supply an iron these days, but not a microwave or stove! I have not yet found a means of using a coffee-maker for cooking bacon. The hot plate just doesn't get hot enough.
I use a microwave disch made for bacon. I believe the second poster has a link. I cook the bacon about 3/4 of the way and then transfer to a pan to finish. This has some nice effects: 1 - the bacon keeps its shape. 2 - the pan doesn't fill with the grease becuase its in the microwave dish. 3 - The microwave dish is easy to clean since the bacon was browned.
Mistake in my post above - the 3rd item should have read:
3 - The microwave dish is easy to clean since the bacon wasn't browned.
Try Hormel Black Label pre-cooked.
Eat it cold or warm a few strips in the microwave for 30 seconds.
We mostly buy frozen bacon from the meat packing plant here in Ohio. This butchered bacon never, ever curls up. Thick, thin or medium sliced, it is straight. We love it. I cook bacon on a really high temp on the ceramic stove top in a huge pan. My bacon cooks up in less than 5 minutes.
The problem we have is...the bacon tastes different. We can got a side of hog and the first bacon was scrumptious. Months later we bought a bundle pack of beef, chicken and hog. The bacon tastes weird and smells weird while cooking. Not spoiled.
What is up with that?
Someone posted about brown paper bags. In the 50's & 60's the trend was brown paper bags for turkeys.
Now a days the paper has too many chemicals in it. So please do not cook in said bags..unless you like chemicals.
Least hassle method for me is to cook in the oven at about 350F on a cookie sheet covered with paper towels folded 2 deep. Advantages: smells great, requires little supervision, grease/fat gracefully dealt with by paper towels (paper does not burn at 350F), cleanup is easy, product is consistent: 5-8 minutes partially/mostly cooks the bacon for use in other recipes, about 10 minutes for mildly crispy, breakfast-type, 12-15 minutes for crunchy, crumbly (salads and garnish). Disadvantages: uses a lot of paper towels, you still have a pretty greasy mess to deal with, in summer one hates to fire up the oven.
You can miss by a couple of minutes and repurpose the product to the next higher grade of crunchy... miss by 10 minutes and there will still probably be a some salvageable bits, depending upon your purpose and tolerance for carbon.
Next best: cast iron skillet with cover. Advantages: smells great, tasty seasoning for your skillet and the eggs you'll cook next, does not heat up the entire house in summer, leaves you with uesable bacon grease for other cooking tasks; a good system if you need not cook a great deal of bacon. Disadvantages: needs constant supervision, cooks more quickly than I think (unless I'm right on top of it I always get very crispy/carbon), bacon grease gets into the atmosphere and winds up everywhere in the house, especially the air cleaner filters
The best way to cook bacon (I worked in the restaurnat industry for over 20 years) put a rack over a backing sheet, set the oven to 350-375 and bake the bacon until crisp and golden. The bacon does not sit in the fat while it cooks allowing for perfect crispness.
OK, my husband thinks you cook bacon in the frying pan with a lid on it. Can someone explain why this is a bad idea (i.e. moisture and oil don't mix etc...).... I would appreciate it.
I'm guessing your husband just doesn't want the grease splattering everywhere. Get him a big mesh grease splatter guard, and tell him to use that instead. It gets better results, with less chance of splattering grease on yourself when removing the lid (due to the trapped moisture condensing on the lid).
YOU CAN MICROWAVE BACON IN LAYERS WITH PAPER TOWELS. EX: FOUR PIECES ON THE BOTTOM LAYER, FOUR PIECES ON TOP OF THAT ON A PAPER TOWEL AND SO ON. MY MOM ALWAYS DID THAT. YOU CAN COOK A PACK OF BACON IN ABOUT 10 MINUTES. USUALLY 1 MINUTE PER SLICE.
Back around the late 1970's my mother bought a West Bend sandwich press which had FLAT burners on top & bottom. We would lay the strips of bacon in the press and close it and cook for about 5 minutes. The bacon didn't shrink, was very crispy, and had virtually no grease because of the angle of the cooking surface and grease drain-off.
Unfortunately, (and probably because it was a good product) they don't make them anymore. Everyone switched to those ridiculous sandwich grills that "form" the sandwich into triangles.
Eventually (15 years or so) the grill burned out and was discarded.
Today I am toying with the idea of buying two large flat griddles and mounting them so I can press my bacon and cook both sides at once in the same fashion.
Bacon is probably my all time favorite meat and this is the best bacon I've ever tasted for texture, crispness, flavor, fat content, ease of cleanup (I could go on).
Most "flat" sandwich presses today don't have sides which actually press against each other. The idea being the sandwich would be too thin if compressed to 1/16 inch (1.58 mm).
If anyone knows of a product which presses completely together and has two sided flat grilling, please let me know: firstname.lastname@example.org
I cook, or rather bake/broil, my bacon using a Pampered Chef Stoneware Bar Pan. The bacon doesn't make a mess, it comes out crispy (no having to turn it midway through the cooking process), and stays flat. The fat from the bacon (we generally use turkey bacon, but occassionally use "real" bacon from a pig) seasons the stone and I don't have to use paper towels (is that safe from a health/chemical standpoint anyway?). 10-15 min at 400*F and it's done. Cleanup is easy--I just let the pan cool, run it under hot water (soak in hot water if it's really stuck on), and scrape the stuff off with a scraper/brush, and then towel dry. (NEVER use detergent on stoneware or your food will taste like soap forever--like cast iron, it takes the seasoning off anyway) I love my stoneware and recommend it to everyone and anyone who asks about it! :)
ready cooked bacon?
If people who read this site really care about taste then these options should be thrown out the window without even trying them.
Microwaves are very good machines for heating food but cook things very badly (especially meat because they don't sear any of the juices). I've had bacon cooked in a microwave - it's floppy and chewy and insipid.
Next time you buy ready cooked bacon, look at the ingredients. If it's 100% pork, then go ahead and buy it, but remember it will never taste as good as the 'fresh' kind, in the same way that fish fingers don't taste like freshly caught cod.
As for frozen bacon - freezing meat breaks the molecular structure and ruins the taste AND the texture of the meat.
Cooking slowly in an oven, pan, under a grill or on a barbecue, however, all taste great (depending on how you like your bacon).
The best way to cook bacon is in the oven...convection if you're lucky enough to have one. Place the bacon on parchment and put it in a 350 degree oven until it's nice and crispy. MMMMM I love bacon!
Couldn't find where any analysis of bacon fat after rendering was conducted. With today's restaurants and other folks wanting reduced fat it would make sense to state what the fat content was. I suspect microwaving on paper towel removed over 60% of the fat, but that's a guess. Does anybody know?
MS Food Sci., U of Ill. 1978
Hi, I'm a long time reader...blah..blah. My family pan fries our bacon, but I always taste a metallic flavor like blood. is this because we cook our bacon too long or at too high of a temp?
Cooking the bacon at high temperatures might be the curprit. Try cooking your bacon in the oven at 200 - 300 degrees F and see if the bacon tastes any different.
Are you using nitrate free bacon? Sometimes the nitrates can also produce an off flavor when cooked at high temperatures. This is also generally believed to be unhealthy (may promote stomach cancers).
Above, Kevin extols the virtue of a flat sandwich press his mother had and it reminded me of the Cuisinart Griddler. It's like a panini press, but it has reversable plates so you can use it as a flat sandwich press as well as open it up for a conventional griddle. I've used the flat press for bacon, and it works great. There is also a little spout in the corner where you can put a tea cup to catch the grease. The only caveat is that it's good to put a foldered paper towel behind the press so that you can catch the few drops of grease that might drip down in from the top plate.
Sir, Read all the comments to your old orange juice article as of today.
I have a neighbor who is a Chef and a wife who is a follower of the dates on food products. I always argue with them about throwing out food from my refrigeratior. However, I let them toss what they want 95% of the time.
Years ago, I looked into the expiration date problem Look at the Federal government site and then look at other sites.
Your arfticle was one of the best that I have seen on the expiration problem.
I am pleased that you went to Tip Top. Thank you. JR Sligoe[/b:6aadbc08eb]
In my experience, the starting teperature of the pan is the biggest determinant of the crispyness of baccon. If one wants chewier baccon, place the baccon in the pan shortly after placing it on the heat. If you want crispier baccon set the pan on the flame and pre heat it. The right temp. is when you sprinkle water in the pan and it dances and sputters. Perfect baccon is not something you can walk away from when using a pan, you're going to have to sit and watch the paint dry.
Other factors need to be considered, namely, the thickness of the cut. Thin baccon will come out crispier in general. Thicker baccon needs longer cooking at slightly diminished temperatures to make crispy.
Oh yea, one more thing. If you let the baccon sit in its drippings after cooking it will come out chewy. If you promptly remove the baccon when done and place on a napkin/ paper towel and pat off the oil it will come out crispier.
I have always been one for eating cold leftovers. I became very excited when I saw a new food to eat cold! So I went home to cook my bacon, but was disheartened to find it tasted rather disgusting. :angry: I warn everyone, coming from an American who knows cold foods, don't try cold bacon! :shock:
I RECENTLY READ THAT MICROWAVING BACON REDUCES THE AMOUNT OF NITRATES IN THE BACON. DOES ANYONE KNOW TRUE OR FALSE?
As to the previous post about microwaved nitrates, I worked on radar systems for years. I don't think RF energy from a consumer microwave is going to decrease nitrates. it sounds similar to saying toast has less calories then bread, it's just not true.
I have one favorite way to cook bacon, in the frying pan but I have two favorite ways of preparing the bacon. before frying the bacon rinse it with fresh water then fry it, for some reason the bacon won't shrink in length near as much but you still get a crunchy/chewy bacon. the other way is to dredge the bacon in flour first, shake off as much flour as you can then fry it up. the flour will help the bacon stay flat and not curl and it decreases "shrinkage" it also adds a slightly different texture. take a bite of this bacon, chew it up good, swallow, now take a drink of coffee, this floured bacon can make any cup of coffee taste fantastic, it has the same effect on eggs and low calorie toast too I don't know why that is though.
If you prefer not to fry your food and aren't a fan of the microwave....I suggest baking in an oven on a sheet pan with a cooling rack on the sheet pan, that way the fat just drips through and isn't in contact with the bacon while cooking. 10 minutes in a convection oven at 300 F .....or 15 minutes in a regular oven at 350 F works nicely - you have perfect bacon every time without the grease.
Try cooking the bacon in the oven on 350 F for 15 minutes. I cook mine on a wire rack sitting on a baking tray. This allows the hot air to circulate under the bacon making it crispier. This method also prevents the bacon from curling up or shrinking much. After cooking remove and set on a plate covered in paper towels. It's crispy baby!
I have a couple wire racks which go in my microwave, one short, one tall. Basically, I put a layer of paper towels on the tray, but the tall rack in there, hang the bacon on the rack (bridging at least one space at the top), then put another layer of paper towel over the top.
The towel on top keeps the fat from splattering all over the microwave. The paper towels on the bottom soak up the fat which runs off the bacon. Since the fat runs off, the bacon renders VERY well. You can make it as soft or crispy as you like, by altering how long you cook it (I like it soft, the wife likes it crispy).
You end up with U-shaped pieces of bacon, but the sides are straight because gravity has kept them that way while it was cooking. No need for a bacon press.
This works pretty well. The bacon never sits in a pool of fat, so this definitely reduces the calories. And yet, you still get all the flavor.
For everyone who is complaining about their bacon curling, you should look into getting a griddle pan or electric griddle and a bacon press. This is how short order cooks keep their bacon from curling. Ya know, the ones who've been cooking in the back of that little diner for the last 40 or 50 years? I'm not about to argue with how they do things, because they know how to make some damn good bacon!
On a trip long ago to visit my sister in Houston, her husband sprinkled sugar on the bacon while it cooked in a frying pan. Outrageous. Till I tasted it. Try it. Earlier in this forum a person suggested slathering the pre-cooked bacon with maple syrup and frying it up. This too is outrageous, and I've just put maple syrup on my grocery list......
The solution is simple. Use two plates. One with 2-3 paper towels on the bottom, then place a paper towel on the top of the bacon and then another plate. Place in the microwave for as many minutes as there are slices of bacon (thin) + 1 minute. The bacon will draw up flat with most of the grease removed. You can tap the bacon when removed with a clean towel and you will have perfect bacon. The setting of your microwave may vary slightly.
After reading this forum through extensively, I felt the need for some dead pig ingestion myself, so i set up my brand new foremen grill in my dorm (not sure its supposed to be here, but thats not stopping me...)
Bacon is GREAT on a foremen grill. As long as the dorm mates dont mind the smell early in the morning, the grease is easily collectible in the runoff tray, and the 1/2 strips of bacon fit perfectly when cooked perpendicularly to the grill lines.
Everyone loves to use paper towels for cooking bacon in a microwave, but I need to point out that my brother managed to catch our microwave on fire using paper towels. It's the unknown impurities that can cause such an event to happen.
Try broiling the bacon in a convection oven. Overlap the edges of the bacon. fat side up. Bacon cooks much more evenly and you can save the grease for seasonig and cooking purposes. Watch the bacon close though, it doesn't take much to burn the whole pan.
I tried with intrest your bacon cooking methods but personally, still like it fried on a reasonably hot gas in olive oil. This gives golden brown bacon to me, the best.
Regarding John Willis's comment on Feb 8 about setting paper towels on fire, I can confirm this. Yesterday I cooked four strips of turkey bacon in the microwave with a paper towel covering it. After two minutes, several points where the towel touched the bacon blackened, generating glowing embers, which burst into flame as I removed the pan from the microwave. I have never seen this before in years of microwaving bacon products, but this will discourage me from ever doing this again.
I love the smell of a little burnt fat... So the smart way to prevent it from burning the entire surface of the bacon, is to cover your bacon with strips of carrots. The result is juicy, yet crispy bacon with no carbon. :)
I agree with (and have felt illuminated by) your findings re the perfect cooking method for Bacon, a food which needs capitalization due to near-deity status.
I found a summer method I love: Get a charcoal grill going for some other kind of lucky viand - and when the coals have ceased to become useful for meat-cooking, bung a few strips of Oscar Meyer thick=sliced on there.
Bacon results = crispy & delicious - no fat to clean up, and MMMM char-residue...
Two words for you "engineers". BACON PRESS. Cast iron and a press, makes all varieties, thick or thin, the same quality.
Developed by an engineer, check out this site
just a few quick words,
Nitrosamines are known to cause cancer in laboratory animals, when these substances are used to induce cancer, they are in much higher levels than that that bacon can produce....however, there is still much uncertainty as to how dangerous these compounds can be at levels produced by cooking bacon at high temperatures.
health officials in the united states, back in the 70's, because of this risk, require all prepackaged sliced nitrate/nitrite cured bacon to be treated with vitamin C (an antioxidant) which is known to neutralize Nitrosamines to a degree.
that said, if your smart, and consume nitrate/nitrite cured bacon or ham on a regular basis, your best off cooking either at a low temperature, under 300 degrees F.
Whether pan frying or cooking in the oven you can have great results with bacon at around 200F for several hours...the exact timing being heavily dependant on the intitial temperature of the bacon.
besides reducing the risk of cancer, there are a couple of other benefits of cooking in this manor, most of all the texture....when done right the resulting bacon is the perfect blend of chewiness and crispiness. Another being the low maintenance requirements....you CAN do other things around the house while cooking in this manor....and to top it all off, there is much less concern about air currents (leading to uneven cooking in the oven) or overcooking one side due to not flipping or even flipping at all...you dont need direct contact with the metal to cook in this manor, the bacon grease does the work.
the major drawback is that to justify the hours of waiting....your going to need to make alot of bacon at once....whether in the pan or the oven, i typically cook about 3-5 lbs at a time...it keeps for about a week or so in the fridge, provided you microwave it for a few seconds prior to consuming or can be stored in the freezer for 6 months or so.
some people like meat burnt...people are going to cook how they are going to cook, and I'm an example of that with chicken and beef on the grill and smoker.... I would just suggest that anyone who regularly injests foods that have visible charring, and in particular, foods that contain nitrates/nitrites also consume large amounts of antioxidants...it's not going to hurt you, and may just let you enjoy the foods you love a little bit longer.
I found that when pan frying bacon that using two forks to grab the bacon and turn it works better than tongs or any other utinsel i've found. Give it a try!
Your pages on bacon are great. I just wanted to let you know that I linked to you from this page:
Depending on your wattage and amount you are cooking this may differ. I have a 1700 watt microwave. On a paper plate lay two paper towels down. Place your bacon on the paper towels. Cover with one paper towel. For 6 slices, go 2:45 on high. For 8-9 slices go 4-4:30 on high. Perfect bacon every time!
I baked my bacon in the oven on a cookie sheet in the past. I neglected to remove excess grease between batches, and the grease caught fire in the oven....just something to keep in mind.
Next time you BBQ, throw some bacon on there. the extra smoke of the BBQ adds to the flavor. Makes a really great BLT.
try putting it backers sheets in the oven at about 180 deg. F it takes about 30 min but you don't need to turn it or do anything until you take it out. with this method you will get the best bacon with the least shrinkage and every peace will be the same. this is the way I prefer for preparing large batches for the restaurant.
I have tried the Alton Brown method listed below, using a shallow baking pan and placing the bacon on a cooling rack inside the pan. I used thick sliced bacon and baked it at 400 degrees, just checking for doneness after 10 minutes or so. The bacon stayed flat and was perfectly crispy.
They make ridged plastic bacon racks specifically for microwaving bacon. They're very handy -- you just put the bacon on there, pour out the grease when you're done, and voila. Mmm...bacon...
^ Check Bacon Part II.
Here's the ultimate bacon recipe.
now that's bacon!
I'd be tempted to plop it on an omelet then flip inside out . . .
but cheese is good <g>
A great trick to keep your bacon cooked evenly--and flat--is to simply place another pan on top of your pan.
E.g., 250F put a cookie sheet pressed down on top of your bacon on foil on its cookie sheet. With contact, cooks evenly, flat like pancake, so much better than micro. Takes a little longer, though.
The best way to cook bacon in my opinion is gas grilling. Cook it as fast as you possibly can (highest heat, top rack). To avoid bacon curling up, make cuts into the fat every inch and a half or so. Also, as soon as the fat goes golden and crispy turn the bacon over. This will then make the bacon contract in the other direction towards the heat.
Also, for extra flavour only butter one side of the bread. Place sauce on buttered side. Keep one slice of bread spare to dip in the fat after you're finished. This way you don't waste any flavour. Don't worry about calories, we're cooks not doctors.
this is the way ALL my family cooks bacon and im yet to find anyone who can challenge me on my bacon sarni skills.
I think that guy who said bacon is healthier baked at a low temperature so he cooks it overnight (while sleeping I presume) should reconsider leaving an electric oven on overnight with a flammable high-fat item inside. I mean, if you care about your health, the fire will get you before the cancer. Be that as it may, I am excited about baking bacon for the first time, following the advice of using a low temperature, but only when I'll be close by and awake to do so. Thanks for the tips.
Just for entertainment value, you can see Ina Garten's approach to baking bacon here: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/maple-roasted-bacon-recipe/index.html
It was on Barefoot Contessa today.
The hands down best way to cook bacon is to bake it, not broil it, in an oven. Place the bacon in a shallow pan and stick it in the oven at 300-325F. Bake for about a half hour until browned, turning once. When it's done, remove it from the pan and blot between paper towels. Every piece will be an even golden brown and it will literally melt in your mouth. The bacon will have an even texture throughout with no hard areas like you get in a microwave or by frying.
I just wanted to mention as someone spoke of buying organic or nitrite-free bacon (aka "naturally cured," etc etc) that when I researched this, it turns out the natural curing process, which utilizes celery seed, ultimately actually creates the very same sodium nitrite that the regularly cured bacon does. Therefore, it stated in whatever I was reading that there was no real health benefit from the naturally cured vs the normally cured, because they both contained the potential cancer-causing nitrites either way.
Just throwing that out there, and wondering if this is true / known. Why does something as good as bacon have to be so bad for you? Harumph.
ps Thanks for the experiments!
I wouldn't broil it, personally. I usually lay the bacon directly on an oven rack in the highest position, and then place a drip pan under the bacon on the next rack down, and bake rather than broil. This causes the bacon to render properly and prevents scorching, although it takes a while.
Around 400 degrees should be enough. Probably 7-10 minutes a side.
One thing to watch for is the amount of water in your strips of bacon. Companies will add water weight to your pork to make your pieces of bacon seem meatier. When purchasing bacon, look for packages with as little water/juice. Though don't go out of your way to pick bacon that is bone dry either.
You may want to check out a butcher's for the choicest cuts of bacon (yummy, but more expensive). This way you will know the qualities of the premium bacon, and can look for the same qualities in the store-bought stuff. This applies to all meats in general though...I highly recommend becoming friends with a man/woman who can teach you about meat.
I use Cast Iron for pretty much anything, and the bacon comes out great. Like one of the posters said though; when it's done you gotta remove it or else it will suck the oil back and become soggy. But bacon on teflon vs bacon on Cast Iron.. there's no comparison.
Also, as a fan of cooking and of good health, I highly advice people NOT to microwave anything. I've not used a microwave in over 7 years. Microwaved food is bad for your health. A quick google will confirm it. It's called "Microwave sickness" and happens when you nuke food, the protein strands get so big your kidney and liver have a difficult filtering it. If you love your kidneys and liver, don't nuke your food.
The only thing I use a microwave for are to nuke my sponges at the end of the day. Damp sponges 2 minutes on high. That's ALL a microwave should be used for.
Beware of "Teflon Flu" as they call it.
I only use 3 cooking items:
Earthernware ~ unglazed, or if glazed, nothing with bright colors as it might contain mercury and other funky stuff you don't want.
I use a small George Foreman grill that is great to use for bacon as the fat drips away and I can shut the lid and cook my eggs and not worry abut having to turn the bacon and the fat splatter. I do cut my bacon in half though.
I love bacon but eat it only occasionally. The best for taste and for getting rid of the most fat is to cook in the oven at 375 degrees. Line the bottom piece of a broiling pan w foil for easy clean-up. Place bacon in a single layer over the slotted top part of the pan. Cook for about 10 to 15 minutes until crispness desired. No need to turn. Cool on plate covered with a paper towel. Tastes crisper and better than microwave bacon and is less fatty than skillet cooking because as much as possible simply drains into the foil below.
I'm surprised that no one is mentioning the real differences between good and not so good and just plain sick bacon. If you have good bacon, cured properly, from a good porker before you start frying, grilling, baking, microwaving, waffle ironing...you're going to end up with good bacon. I don't really consider "turkey bacon" to be bacon. It could be called a "bacon flavoured turkey product" however, and if you're into products as opposed to produce, it is nice and lean. The best bacon I have ever had was from a range fed gilt about 250 pounds lean and dry cured at a local abattoir. It was also the cheapest as we raised her ourselves.
The absolute best way to cook bacon:
Aluminum Sheet pan
13-17 cut Bacon (meaning 13-17 slices of bacon per pound)
1. Lay your bacon out with 1/2 inch between each piece, without stretching the meat and causing tearing. (Make sure your bacon is ice cold and not overly handled this will cause it to tear easily)
2. Refridgerate uncovered for 1 night to dehydrate the surface of the bacon, water being the naturally enemy of maillard reaction.
3. Cook the Bacon with low fan at 325 degree farenheit for 18-22 minutes depending on the quality of your oven.
4. When the bacon just starts to show caramel colors on the meat pull and allow to rest in a temperature controlled environment where it will not get cold.
If you have done this correctly the fat portions of the bacon should have a literal "melt in your mouth" quality, instead of stringy and nasty. The meat should be slightly crispy but not crunchy, Low moisture qualities in bacon can cause it to quickly turn into jerky if cooked at too high a temperature.
<b>That</b> is a fine observation!
I have discovered the absolutely best way to cook bacon. Since I only eat bacon about once every 2-3 months I don't feel bad about this method.
I save the grease from the last time I cooked, (actually, several times) and melt it in a frying pan, enough grease to completely submerge the curled up bacon, and cook it to my liking. The bacon cooks evenly because it is totally submerged in the bacon grease. It is the best bacon ever, bar none.
To those that worry about how the bacon looks, seriously? THAT is what matters to you? Curled up, flat, looking like Michael Jordans collar? None of that really matters as long as the bacon tastes good.
On a side note, today as I was cooking my bacon I decided to speed the meal up by deep frying the breakfast sausage i was preparing to cook. Ummmmm, wow!!! The best ever.
Try it before you knock it!
If you use parchment paper (for baking) instead of paper towels, you get super crispy bacon without all the mess of stuck paper. :)