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how do YOU cook bacon?!?

I know HOW myself, but wondering if you have a special technique?? I don't cook a lot of bacon & agree it can be a bit messy. Today, decided to make a wilted spinach salad with hot bacon dressing. Had maybe 1/4 lb of bacon in fridge. I layed it out in big non-stick skillet, set it on LOW and ... just walked away. Turned it over once and pretty much just let it go on a VERY low sizzle... coulda been 30-45 minutes. Pretty much NO spatters & result was crispy pieces ready to crumble. Thinking a big old cast iron skillet would thing it was at a SPA to enjoy all that bacon grease for 45 minutes.

Thinking the mess comes from rendering the fat. Once it's pretty much liquid... not much spattering at all.

Have baked it in overn... rack on baking sheet. Another method that needed little attention. And sprinled with raw or brown sugar... bacon CANDY.

Have cooked it in microwave, between layers of paper towels.

And HOW do you like it cooked? Neice & I agree that we don't like it "bendy". We like it just this side of crumbly/crispy.

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  1. I prefer oven-baking but NOT on a rack. It stays flatter and renders more evenly and thoroughly when laid directly onto the sheet pan. 375, check at 15 min. Timing depends on thickness and type of cure, those with sweet ingredients being more prone to over-browning sooner. When close to done, I shut off the oven and let the pan stay there until the rashers look right. I pour off and save the fat for cooking. Microwaving renders well, too, but the bacon will be more leathery than crispy. And the fat does not develop the browned flavors of heat-rendered bacon fat (to collect it, instead of paper towels just lay a piece of parchment loosely atop the bacon before nuking it. That prevents spattering.

    1 Reply
    1. I cook it in the oven. I just place it on a rimmed baking sheet. Perfect, crisp, melt in your mouth bliss!

      The only time I cook it in a skillet is if I'm camping.

      1. COLD oven, bacon on a lined sheetpan. Turn oven on to 425, perfect bacon in about 17 minutes,

        3 Replies
        1. re: twyst

          I do the same thing, but 400 instead and it takes about 20 minutes. ;) Oh, and I don't line my sheet pan, I use a stoneware "bar pan" instead.

          1. re: tzurriz

            Yeah lining the dish isnt really necessary, but it makes cleanup a ton easier when you can just roll up all the grease in the foil and throw it away without ever getting the sheet pan dirty!

          2. re: twyst

            must have followed the same recipe. Works like a charm

          3. I like my bacon crispy without any drippings plus easy clean-up. So I prefer microwaving in between paper towels.

            1 Reply
            1. re: selfportrait93

              I'm with you self. Unless I'm doing a lot of bacon--in which case I use a large SS pan--I go for the microwave which gets it nice and crispy with easy clean-up.

            2. I'm a fan of oven, on a rack, except this time of year when you don't want the oven on.

              I alternate between just past bendy and crisp enough to be cracklins.

              1. I am in the opposite school and like non-crispy bacon. I like it well browned on the edges, but still mostly pink, moist and the fat mostly intact. Much more porky that way.

                To achieve that, I heat up a heavy pan at moderate high heat, then quickly sear each side for about 1 min., before too much of the fat is lost. Usually I proceed with cooking my over-easy eggs with the grease right after. That is what I am probably having for breakfast today!

                3 Replies
                1. re: vil

                  Similar outcome desired here but different method. I like bacon just the right blend of crispy edges and moist, pink centers. I also use a CI skillet but over low heat so as to render some of the fat and not cook (brown) too quickly. That way, I get enough fat to fry eggs. Drain the bacon on paper towels and cool slightly, then strain the fat to remove any egg bits, and reserve for future porky delight.

                  1. re: tcamp

                    Yes, porky delight it is.

                    Do you find the low heat method drying the centres still a bit too much? I do, and always wish that the slices were more thickly cut.

                    Bacon fat and eggs are the best, especially when you are partially deep frying the whites in the grease.

                    1. re: vil

                      I generally use a very thick cut bacon I get from a local farmer so I haven't had the drying problem. After a bit of rendering, everything is pretty much swimming in fat so I have to keep a close eye not to overcook.

                2. when I'm cooking more than just a couple of strips, I bake it in the oven on a sheet pan. never even heard of the brown sugar method

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: ctfoodguy

                    brush some sriracha sauce on before you sprinkle with brown sugar and bake and you have a wonderful spicy sweet salty appetizer. First time I tried it my youngest daughter and I almost ate a pound by ourselves.

                  2. Shoot...I'm old fashion I guess....I just fry it up nice and crisp in a Cast Iron skillet....drain on a towel.....Save the 'grease' for later..........

                    Fun!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Uncle Bob

                      same here but in deference to a nice new backsplash I cover the pan with a mesh thingie to keep the grease from spattering everywhere.

                    2. Another baker here... on a rimmed sheet pan, I pour the grease off halfway through, cook until browned, yet still bendy. My husband really likes a chewy bacon. We usually get what's on sale, but also compare prices, and sometimes the farmer's brand, or the thick cut wrapped and on a styro tray is cheaper per pound than the super thin cut less-than-a-pound package.
                      I cook the whole package then have cooked bacon for the week in the fridge in a plastic bag, ready for salads, sandwiches, beans.

                      1. If I'm going outside the box, I cut into 1 inch pieces, then stir fry with leeks and onions and copious amounts of garlic.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: ipsedixit

                          Sounds good. Does that make it a vegetable dish flavoured with bacon, or are the aromatics just a side to complement the bacon?

                          1. re: vil

                            The latter.

                            But really, they are more complementary than anything else.

                        2. At home - If it's a large quantity, in the oven on a foil lined sheet. If it's a small quantity, then in the microwave between paper towels. The only time I do stove top if it's to be chopped up and the fat rendered to complete the recipe.

                          If camping - in a large cast iron skillet.

                          I DO save all of the fat when doing the oven method and keep a small canning jar of bacon fat in the frig.

                          1. I am too lazy to deal with frying it in a pan, too much a clean up for me and even with my biggest pan, it takes too long.

                            We get our pork from a farmer and I get the bacon cut on the thick side. I do at least a pound at a time, sometimes two, and freeze for later use. I use a half sheet pan with a rack, 400 degrees.

                            1. During the summer, thick cut bacon on a charcoal grill... I keep several strips on the outer edges of the grill. There is some splattering (and you can't collect the grease), but it's got a nice smoky flavor. And I get to snack while I'm grilling everything else...

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: NinaS

                                On the charcoal grill is my favorite.
                                I put it over the coals, shut the lid and all the vents, wait a minute or so until smoke is coming out of anyplace not airtight, then open one vent. You have to be really careful, and the first time you open the lid to turn it, it can tend to burst into flames like you through gas on it, but the smoke rolling out across the neighborhood drives em crazy.
                                The fat drips away, but returns as carcinogens, so probably no heath benefit. After all, it is bacon.

                              2. If cooking in large amounts, I do it on lipped cookie sheets in the oven.
                                If doing for only one or two servings, I do a small lipped pan in the toaster oven.

                                Both cooked at 350 F for about 12 minutes and flipped at the 6 minute mark.

                                i couldn't tell you the last time I did it on the stove. Too messy Too greasy. Too much cleanup. Ick.

                                1. A little hijack of my own OP?!? Food wrapped in a strip of bacon... scallops, filets, chicken livers, even Texas Tommies... I precook bacon about half way. Since I like bacon relatively crispy, if I start with raw bacon... have to seriously over-cook whatever it's wrapped around to get it done the way I like it.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: kseiverd

                                    Yep. Same here.

                                    Only way' I've gotten around that is with a SMOKIN' hot pan that will do a number on the bacon on all sides without impacting the item wrapped. Then finish cooking item as assembled unit.
                                    Ultimately too much work that way to me.
                                    Par cook. Wrap. Finish. Voila'.

                                  2. I only use thick-cut. I lay it on the dehydration racks that came with our countertop convection oven/toaster. The fat drips through the metal grid and is caught in a pan underneath. Once I started this method, I never have had comparable success any other way. Sometimes I brush with maple syrup toward the end, just for kicks.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: sweetpotater

                                      I start it in a cold skillet and cook at fairly low temperature on the stove top. Save the grease in a jar in the refrigerator. Generally leave the "dirty" pan on the stove until dinner time and cook something else in it to take advantage of the fond.

                                    2. I cook mine on a flat-top griddle, start with it cold, turn on high and reduce a little when it starts sizzling. I'll usually sop up some of the fat with paper towels 1/2 way through. I use a fork to press it down to make sure it cooks evenly.
                                      Great to cook eggs when you're done with some of the residual fat.

                                      1. I use a griddle on my lame flat top stove, because I often cook a lot of bacon at once. I hide the drippings in my bacon grease collection to season pots and pans.

                                        1. I've baked it, broiled it, microwaved it... but typically I just toss what I need in a pan on med-high heat and cook it up pretty quickly. I like it crispy, husband likes it a bit bendy. Then I drain some of the fat and tend to use what's left in the pan to saute onions or make eggs or whatever I'm cooking in that pan next....

                                          1. Somewhere, on the net while browsing, I saw a video where bacon was cooked in a skillet on top of the stove, covered in water. The water eventually evaporated and the bacon browned and looked crispy and delicious. Has anyone else seen - or tried - this?

                                            1. I'm surprised to see so many oven-bacon-cookers but I strongly support that camp. Doing the whole pound at once, I take it out of the oven before it's quite done, sop up as much of the grease as I can by laying it on paper towels covering several thicknesses of newspaper, and then put it in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. When I want it, I zap it wrapped in a paper towel until it is crisp. Using this method I actually use the whole pound of bacon. Otherwise the thought of getting a frying pan out for two slices of bacon overwhelms me and I don't.

                                              1. I've gone back and forth using different methods, but I'm back to is baking in the oven, mainly for the convenience. For an entire package of thick sliced bacon, i bake at 425 for 20-25 minutes followed by 3 to 4 minutes under the broiler to crisp up the bacon.

                                                1. If I'm going to be eating the strips (such as for breakfast, or brunch, or lunch, or dinner, or special bacon snack time), I use the oven. However, when I use it as the base for soups, stews and braises, I usually cut it up into small pieces and fry it over medium-low heat. I find that's easier than cooking strips and them crumbling it up later.

                                                  Of course, the most important part for me is saving the bacon grease. I strain it through a paper towel into a mason jar. My southern mother would not allow me to waste it; I usually use it to sauté vegetables.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: caseyjo

                                                    My gramps use to pour the grease into a pot used for deep frying. The best french fries I have ever tasted came out of that pot.

                                                  2. Let me start by confessing I have not read every single post in this thread, so if I'm repeating something someone else has shared, my apologies.

                                                    I like crisp bacon, I like minimal mess, and I like easy. So when I want bacon, I get a tall tumbler out of the cupboard, set it in the middle of a soup bowl, drape slices of bacon all around the rim, careful they don't touch or overlap, then I nuke them until they are as crispy as I like. The fat pours out of the bacon and is caught either inside the glass or in the soup bowl. The bacon goes into me, the glass and bowl go into the dishwasher, the housekeeper wipes out the microwave. All is well with the world and I have crispy, delicious bacon! I used to cook bacon between paper towels. I'm saving a fortune! '-)

                                                    1. My favorite is in a fry pan with the lowest heat setting possible, leave for one and a half hours.
                                                      I like mine bendy and almost jerky-like but with some crispness to it.

                                                      1. I'm in the baked camp. On foil, not a rack - it doesn't fry properly if the grease is allowed to drip away. 375 for thicker and 400-425 for thinner bacon.

                                                          1. re: gaboocho

                                                            Wow...that sounds like a heart attack waiting to happen. =)

                                                            1. re: gaboocho

                                                              Deep frying is a good way to do a lot of bacon fast. It is not as greasy as pan fried, and is easy to cook it to whatever level of crisp you like. It does tend to curl up though.

                                                            2. I'm a convert to the new pre-cooked bacon, either Oscar Meyer or Hormel. Crisp it to your liking between paper towels in the microwave and never again worry about disposing of the grease.

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: Big Easy

                                                                Ya know, that sounds so practical. I just added precooked bacon to my shopping list. AND lettuce and tomatoes. Thanks!

                                                                1. re: Big Easy

                                                                  Costco was our source for Pre-cooked bacon. However, now that we bake a package at a time, we don't buy the precooked anymore.

                                                                2. In England "bacon" tends to refer to what the US calls Canadian bacon (I think) or "back bacon", and the US kind is called streaky bacon, but is usually specified as such.

                                                                  It seems like a lot of people would expect their streaky bacon to be brittle and crumbly, but since I don't eat that kind much, I'll just say that I grill (broil) back bacon. MMMM, bacon sandwiches...

                                                                  1. The bacon l use, double salted, double cured poitrine fume in France is a different animal, and what a wonderful different animal. l cut into lardons about half the length of my little finger and saute from there, always perfect for salads or eggs or anything.

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                      1. re: scubadoo97

                                                                        If l could smuggle anything, this would be the item!

                                                                        1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                          If you could smuggle it in, I'd ask you for some.

                                                                    1. Cooked under the grill. And only lightly cooked - can't abide crispy bacon.

                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Harters

                                                                        Is your "grill" an American "broiler"?

                                                                        1. re: sandylc

                                                                          yeah, same as my post - we're in the UK.

                                                                          Only takes 5 minutes.

                                                                          1. re: Soop

                                                                            Five minutes for crisp or for limp? ;-)

                                                                            1. re: sandylc

                                                                              For me, it's around 5 minutes till it's cooked but still nicely limp. That's because at breakfast I can't be bothered waiting for the grill to heat up properly. I've never really timed it as I prefer to go by how it looks but, say, 3 - 4 minutes one side and then turn it over for another minute.

                                                                      2. Depends on the situation, but it's either cast skillet or sheet pan. I only used a rack on the sheet pan once, and the first peek into the oven filled my parent's main level with smoke. Never again.

                                                                        If I have my choice, it's GG's method from way up top...375F in the oven, check it after 15.