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How to fry bacon?

This is stupid because I am talking about two slices of bacon, but I can't remember the last time I bought bacon and frying the first slice didn't go so well.

I don't want to microwave or bake.

What I want from the remaining piece is most of it with a little fat, but nicely brown and one little piece very crispy.

I found this link which says start low and slow which I did, but the bacon stuck to the pan.

Another response said to drain off the fat as it accumulates ... there wasn't a lot of fat starting slow and the bacon was adhering to the pan. So I turned up the heat a bit and the fat started to render. So do I keep pouring off the fat? Also, if I'm storing the fat do I strain out the little pieces I scraped from the pan?

What do I do to get that one piece to crispy? Should the pan be covered during the frying process? If not, why not? Does that steam it?

Yeah, a lot of questions for one slice of remaining bacon, but this is fancy bacon imported from Texas and I don't eat bacon or cook all that much.

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  1. Use a good nonstick pan that is large enough so the bacon's not crowded. Medium heat, when the bacon gets soft and limp turn it. Turn it again when it's starting to shorten. Keep your eye on it and turn whenever it seems ready to curl or seems to be getting brown enough. When it's done, to the eye, remove immediately and drain on paper towel. Then the fat will be easily retrievable from your pan.

    A good piece of bacon is a thing of beauty.

    1. Start in a small, cold pan, preferably cured cast iron or non-stick. If neither is available, slick pan with a bit of oil to avoid sticking. Keep flame about medium. Don't pour off fat; what's the point? Fat will be coming out of the bacon faster than it goes in, and after all, it is bacon so fat is part of the point. Also it cooks more evenly with the fat in the pan. peek under a corner to see if it's getting brown underneath and turn once it has begun to. Turn it over only once, and let it continue to cook in its fat until it's a crisp as you want it. Don't strain the fat; the brown bit will help to flavor whatever you're going to use it for. If there are burned bits, toss it.

      1. Just remember that if you get five people together, there will be fifteen different opinions about the best way to cook bacon. Each aficionado will have "best way" to bake, to nuke, and to fry.

        For pan-frying, rcallner's method is right-on: turn it as often as it seems to curl. Too much time in one contact point with frypan will result in cooked/uncooked sections along the waves. Keep it at med-lo then maybe up to med heat (electric switch). Use fork to press down individual curls. And if it "looks done", then it's been in there just a few seconds to long.

        Treat each piece as an individual; they will all behave differently.

        1. add me to the non-stick, place the bacon in and turn on the heat to low.

          given your knowledge of cooking rw let the bacon guide you on how to cook, a little more flame, a little less, a little more time or ready to hit the bounty.

          1. It depends on the bacon I am cooking. Most typically I start bacon in a cold skillet with lowish-medium heat. I don't drain fat as it cooks, and I do save every bit of rendered fat, especially from really good bacon with a thicker cut like Nuskes. It makes great seasoning for spinach and cornbread and other things. If it is regular grocery store bacon, not a really thick cut,but average like Bob Evan's pepper crusted bacon, (I'd never buy that thin sliced junk) I tend to cook it in the microwave between sheets of paper towels. 4 strips in about 3.5 mins come out flat and crisp. Bacon for a bunch I do on a rack in the oven. It cooks quickly and you need to watch it 'cause it can burn in the blink of an eye

            1 Reply
            1. re: Candy

              How do you store your rendered fat, Candy?

            2. First of all, trying to fry bacon a slice at a time is asking for trouble, it's just not very "efficient" and very unlikely to be what that web page's author had in mind. A toaster oven or the broiler might actually be your best bet if you insist on trying to eat bacon and "healthy" at the same time. ;)

              The business about starting cold/low is more about minmizing curling, which makes it a pain to cook evenly. I've never felt a need for nonstick and while I don't worry about stuff like teflon much, also don't see a reason to gratuitously use it over high heat for long-ish periods of time.

              With a few slices in the pan to give you more free fat, eventually your sticking bacon would've freed up even over low heat, but even then, you don't leave it on low the whole time - just until the fat starts to render out a little. Then I turn it up to final heat in one or two incremeents. If you add room temp bacon to a hot pan, though, the shape will deform quickly unless it's really thick or you use a weight.

              I do drain off most, though not all, of the fat while it cooks, I prefer a less "fried" texture. With only a strip or two in a pan, though, there may not be more than enough fat to just coat the bottom of the pan in the first place. For that matter, I think baking works great if you use a rack, it's not a second-best method IMO at all, but it's as inconvenient for a few slices as it is convenient when you need to make a lot at once. Microwaves are a distant third, though it's good for a quick between-meals bacon fix. :)

              I don't bother saving the grease - I don't use it much and if I really want it for something, it's a good excuse for a few gratuitous slices of bacon to eat. But I'd strain it on general principle and also refrigerate it unless I used/replenished it regularly. Maybe because it's already been heated to a fairly high temp, it will go rancid more quickly than oils or even properly homemade ghee.

              1. Do you have a bacon press? If you're cooking it on the stovetop in a skillet & want it crispy all over, a bacon press (flat cast iron plate with a wooden handle) is the way to go. Use it to squash down the bacon for faster cooking and crispier fat.

                Do save the grease...great for adding a little flavor to all kinds of things, esp veggies.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Hungry Celeste

                  There is also a round, plate glass bacon press so you can see the state of cooking. I bought this years ago. It's a big help. Also, "country" bacon without additives does NOT stick to the pan. It also doesn't stick to other strips of bacon, so you can criss-cross strips when you need to cook more than fit the pan in one layer. One wonders what is added to mass market bacon that glues it to a hot pan.

                2. Heehee. I'm laughing about this because I just had the same problem yesterday--bought some "organic" bacon with my organic eggs to make myself a "real" breakfast. I rarely cook bacon and have had a few disasters. So I was VERY nervous about screwing up.

                  Basically, I put it on a medium heat and watched it like a hawk. This is hard because I have ADD and like my bacon crisp. So inevitably I get bored while waiting for it to cook and then end up with blackened crisps when my brain wanders. This time though I stuck it out. I did flip the slices pretty frequently, but it didn't seem to cause a problem. I must say though that the organic bacon was MUCH more tasty than the regular stuff.

                  1. I've never used a non-stick pan and I've never had a problem. The only advantage would possibly be clean-up ease, but there's no real need in my opinion.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: HaagenDazs

                      I agree entirely.

                      I have never cooked bacon in a nonstick pan.

                      Start it cold and turn it often. Comes out perfect for 42 years now.

                    2. i just use a non stick pan, and add a splash of water. Chef Michael Smith (on Canadian Food Network), says that it helps render the fat and crisp up...It always worked well for me.

                      1. Best way I ever cooked bacon, but it's more of a story than a how-to, since it involved cooking outdoors and 25# of bacon.

                        I was helping out at a fundraiser pancake breakfast. The old trailhand 'Rusty' had brought his trail kitchen- a huge 3" deep steel fry pan 16-18" across.

                        He got me started, and I continued to cook batch after batch, single layer, mounding it into a steamtable pan once done. As the bacon fat accumulated I wanted to drain the fat, but Rusty looked at me cockeyed, as if to say 'Don't you know anything about cooking bacon?!" and told me to leave it in. I was very nervous, cooking such a big pan with a couple cups of hot bacon grease over a propane burner. (I could read the headlines....) We did have baking soda at hand.

                        BUT the bacon cooked up beautifully in the accumlated fat. It cooked evenly, rendered well, so was tender and pliable, but not 'fatty'.

                        Rusty knew what he was doing and I will remember that day for along time.

                        It wook me several days worth of showers and shampooing to get the smell of bacon grease out of my skin and hair! It was a long time before I cooked bacon again, LOL.

                        1. Hi Rworange!
                          As an Aussie it took me a long time to waked up to why American salad recipes always talked about CRISP bacon. It is because the US is as far as I know the only place in the world that normally cooks its bacon until crisp. My Dad taught me to cook the bacon until the fat was translucent. You put the rashers in the pan, after cutting the rinds off, a cast iron one for preference, so that the bacon on each rasher rested on top of the fat on the rasher below it. The whole lot got turned over just once. The bacon was ruined if it was crisp, it was perfect if the fat was translucent and the bacon meat stiffened with occasional brown spots where it was cooked more than the rest. The rendered fat was used to fry the eggs. The eggs were cooked sunny side up and still runny yoked. People who did not like any runny egg white were catered for by splashing the hot fat over the top of the egg until the white was completely cooked. Turning an egg over to complete the cooking met with rebukes.
                          I know I did not answer your question but I thought you might be interested in how other places do it.
                          Regards, John