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Cooking Tests: Bacon (Part I)
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 12, 2006 3:24 pm    Post subject: Extinct Cooking Process Reply with quote

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:
Thank you.
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Joined: 31 Jan 2006
Posts: 12
Location: Waaaay Upstate, NY

PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2006 5:02 am    Post subject: stoneware Reply with quote

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! Smile

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PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2006 7:14 pm    Post subject: ffs what is wrong with you guys? Reply with quote

frozen bacon?
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).
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PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2006 11:02 pm    Post subject: I love bacon! Reply with quote

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!
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Larry Hermann

PostPosted: Sat Jun 03, 2006 11:34 am    Post subject: Cooked bacon - MW vs other methods Reply with quote

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?

Larry Hermann
MS Food Sci., U of Ill. 1978
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John Burrage

PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 6:35 am    Post subject: bacon question Reply with quote

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?

John Burrage
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Michael Chu

Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 1654
Location: Austin, TX (USA)

PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2006 8:27 am    Post subject: Re: bacon question Reply with quote

John Burrage wrote:
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).
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2006 3:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2006 5:07 pm    Post subject: Old orange jjice Reply with quote

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
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2006 9:43 pm    Post subject: Crispy or chewy baccon? Reply with quote

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.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2006 9:49 pm    Post subject: Re: Crispy or chewy baccon. Reply with quote

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.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2006 5:51 pm    Post subject: Cold Bacon?! Reply with quote

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. Anger I warn everyone, coming from an American who knows cold foods, don't try cold bacon! Shock
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Posts: 1

PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2006 4:59 pm    Post subject: NITRATES IN BACON Reply with quote

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 04, 2006 5:06 pm    Post subject: makin' bacon Reply with quote

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.
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 05, 2006 4:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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.
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