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Aug 11, 2009 08:43 AM

Bacon fat: difference between microwave and stovetop/oven

I recently switched my go-to method of cooking bacon strips. I have always saved the fat in a container in the refrigerator. The fat that is left after making bacon in the oven or in a saute pan has little browned bits and becomes as solid in the refrigerator as refrigerated butter.
As it happened, that container was still pretty full when I started using the microwave instead, so I started a new container (both are glass). I nuke the bacon until it is every bit as rendered and brown as that made in the oven or pan. However, the refrigerated fat is slightly less opaque, has no brown bits, and is softer. It would be spreadable with a knife (yuck!!). When I heat it in a pan to fry in it, there's less bacon aroma.

I have a friend who is afraid of microwaves, suspecting that they do something unnatural to the molecules in food. I'm not that paranoid, but am curious about the science here. Maybe microwaved is safer? We've all heard about nitrates and the badness of bacon/bacon fat, but it's one of my vices ;-D

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  1. I have read that microwave cooking of bacon is the safer way, preferred over pan frying. Evidently, you don't get the development of nitrosamines that occur with pan frying (or at least they are greatly reduced).

    I'm only guessing here...maybe someone with a more scientific background will weigh in...but maybe your microwaved bacon fat still had some moisture from the bacon in it. All the water in the bacon is usually cooked away in the pan, and not necessarily so in the Microwave depending on how well done you like your bacon.

    Regarding the "yuk" factor...bacon or pork fat drippings over sliced peppers and onions on good rye bread with a dash of salt is practically a peasant delicacy to the Eastern European traditions I was raised in!
    To me, your "yuk" was a "yum"! LOL