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Cooking bacon in the oven... why the hype?

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So, OK, I read everywhere how much everyone LOVES cooking bacon in the oven. Well, I've done it many times and I don't see what the big deal is, other than it being rather hands-off and it's easy to cook a lot at once. Whenever I do it, the bacon doesn't really get crispy, but parts will burn. Also it creates a ton of smoke, I even set off the smoke alarm this morning.

I cook at 400 degrees, use center-cut bacon, and put the bacon on a cooling rack on a foil covered baking sheet. I generally do an entire package at once, which is like 12 or 16 slices I think. Oh and it also takes twice as long to even get into the flacid cooked stage than most instructions call for. My oven is electric, and I do live at about 5500 elevation.

So, what am I missing?

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  1. If the bacon is burning before crisping, lower the temp and cook longer. Might try different positions in the oven or turning the pan part way through cooking if that alone doesn't solve the problem. You're cooking in a single layer, right?

    There's nothing earth shattering about oven cooked bacon - you can make perfectly good, well-crisped bacon in a frying pan on low heat, too. People like the oven method because it yields good results (when done right) and because it's very easy and low maintenance.

    17 Replies
    1. re: cowboyardee

      I add further, that cooking directly on the metal pan/cookie sheet and in it's own rendered fat ....will crisp the bacon better. i would not recommend using glass or ceramic bake ware.

      1. re: fourunder

        I tend to agree, and I normally cook without a rack and directly in the sheet pan when I oven-cook bacon. That said, you should be able to get pretty decent results with either method if you do em right.

        1. re: cowboyardee

          Placing another sheet pan directly on top helps the bacon to cook evenly by pressing it down on the cooking surface of the sheet pan below. Remove it during the last few minutes to commence the browning, crisping stage.

          1. re: letsindulge

            The idea of a second sheet pan is one I have not heard of before, and I don't think it is at all necessary. Rashers lying flat on the sheet pan stay perfectly flat all by themselves, and render very thoroughly and evenly as they confit themselves in their own fat. Once they are brown and crisp, I use tongs to hold them up so excess fat drips off them, then lay them on paper toweling. I use 375F. Time varies according to the thickness of the slices.

        2. re: fourunder

          Bacon in the oven....baked to a point where it can be eaten right away...or pre-cooked with the rendered fat for future use

           
        3. re: cowboyardee

          Thanks, I've found pan frying in a cast iron to yield the best bacon, and my big Foreman grill is the easiest :) It's just annoying to lug that thing out just to cook bacon, as I don't use it for anything else these days. I just read everywhere about how much everyone loves the oven method, and I like to cook large batches so I have extra to add to salads or sandwiches.

          I could try a lower temp for longer... but I'm already doing 400 for 30 minutes... at that point I might as well just pan fry in batches :) Yes, doing in a single layer.

          1. re: juliejulez

            The bacon should be layered carefully with just a smidge to seperate it and have your oven on a medium to low heat. Set the bacon out befor you go to bed and rthe minute you are up pop it in the oven and cook it slower than in a pan. this will crisp it up,and you can pour off the bacon grease and use it anothew day.

            1. re: juliejulez

              For ordinary supermarket bacon, that's way too hot and too long. 375, check at 15 min.
              Since I do not use a rack, the bacon continues to finish cooking once it is out of the oven.
              Typically I pull the pan at 15 minutes and wait another 10-15 before removing the bacon from the pan, both to finish it and for safety's sake, let the temp of the pan and fat drop a bit before attempting to pour off the fat into a jar kept in the fridge.

              1. re: greygarious

                Hi, grey! Got the family coming in in a couple of weeks so seeing this thread was good. After you remove from oven, does the meat stay warm enough for serving? We keep our house so cold :) but I do have a convection MW that would be big enough to hold it on low. Your input is appreciated. C

                1. re: c oliver

                  Hi C - you've been AWOL for ages, nice that you're back!
                  I think it stays warm enough but the microwave is always handy. I use a regular microwave to reheat what I take from the fridge if I'm making a club sandwich. If I'm making eggs I put the bacon into the pan when the eggs are almost done. Since it is thoroughly cooked, you don't want to subject it to prolonged higher heat.

                  1. re: greygarious

                    Was on hiatus for a while but I'm baaaacccckkkk :)

                    Thanks for the additional info. Doing a pound on top of the stove just seems way more tedious than I want to deal with. Would rather play with grandbabies :)

                    1. re: c oliver

                      Wellllllll, we wound up with quite tasty bacon but it took a LONG time. We're at 6400' elevation and sometimes I have to take that into effect with the oven. Obviously I should have with this. 375 for 15 minutes and very little was happening. I bumped it up 10 degrees at a time and still much. Finally set it on 400 and convection and made bacon for the family!!! I'm going to try when the kids leave and doublecheck. But it was definitely tasty. Thanks.

                      1. re: c oliver

                        I do thin bacon at 425 and thick bacon at 375.....

                        1. re: c oliver

                          I live at sea level and do my bacon at 400 for at least a half hour.

                          1. re: coll

                            It's interesting that people have so many different experiences with this. I did have an appliance repair person tell me that ovens are notoriously inaccurate and that those little thingies that you put in to check it aren't accurate either. Oh well.

                            1. re: c oliver

                              Gas ovens are usually off by 50 to 75 degrees, I've been told by experts. Electric not so much.

              2. re: cowboyardee

                Agreed and you can also cook a full pound in one session.

              3. I prefer cooking bacon in a wide skillet, either an all clad or an old cast iron one for a few reasons.

                It's easier to pour the grease out of the skillet to save for later than a sheet pan.
                The skillet is easier to wash that the sheet pan and rack.
                Skillet makes plenty of bacon for the two of us.
                The oven is too hot for bacon cause I have a pan of biscuits ready to go in.
                The oven is too cool for bacon because I'm keeping pancakes warm in it.

                My big cast iron skillet does a half pound in one batch which is plenty for us. If I needed more I would look into the oven methods.

                1. I think cooking in the oven is a revelation, but mostly because it works so well if you need to prepare bacon in any quantity. I prefer pan-frying, and that works if cooking maybe 6-7 slices, which is plenty for myself and my kids. If hosting a breakfast party or brunch, cooking in the oven gets the quantity up and the stress level down, and allows me to focus on other stuff.

                  1. I have never had smoke---try 350*. I lay the whole pound of sliced bacon out on a big bun pan (slices overlap slightly) and bake it until it is nearly done then soak out as much of the fat as I can using paper towel on a thick pad of newspaper. (Yes, I like bacon fat but there are health considerations) . I then keep the bacon in refrigerator or freezer until wanted then wrap a couple of slices in paper towel and zap it for 20-30 seconds; it gets really crisp, crisper than I can fry it. The convenience factor is huge.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Querencia

                      Thanks for this tip. I just tried it. Amazing!

                    2. It is easier and produces flatter, more uniformly cooked bacon. DO NOT use a rack, bake it directly on aluminium foil on a sheet pan. Thin bacon, 425 degrees. Thick bacon, 375 degrees. Begin checking either at 12 minutes. I have NEVER had smoke from this in many many years of doing it this way.

                      Sooner or later, cooking bacon in cast iron will harm its nonstick finish, due to the sugar in the bacon.

                      22 Replies
                      1. re: sandylc

                        When I open a new package of bacon, I seperate it into groups of 4 slices (just enough for the 2 of us). I then wrap it in foil and freeze the packages. I can then take a package out the night before, open the wrap in the morning, spread the thawed slices out on the foil, place on a baking sheet with the foil edges slightly curved up. I then bake the bacon. The foil contains the fat making a pool for it to cook in. After cooling, the solidified fat can be thrown away with the foil. Very neat and easy!

                        1. re: randyjl

                          You have things exactly right.

                          1. re: sandylc

                            except for throwing away bacon fat!!!!

                            1. re: LaLa

                              oops, I missed that one, didn't I? A sin, for sure....

                              1. re: LaLa

                                And throwing out foil which is incredibly easy to recycle.

                                1. re: smtucker

                                  Our recycler will not take foil!

                                2. re: LaLa

                                  How much bacon fat do you use. I keep a pint jar at the most and that's too much.

                              2. re: randyjl

                                I do the same separation of bacon, as it's just me. Sometimes 3 slices, sometimes 4. Having itquickly defrostable for either breakfast or using in other recipes is handy.

                                However, I still don't bake it in the oven; a fry pan works as I'm just cooking it for myself. I *have* put it in the microwave when I needed crispy bacon quickly and didn't want to dirty a fry pan.

                              3. re: sandylc

                                "Sooner or later, cooking bacon in cast iron will harm its nonstick finish, due to the sugar in the bacon."

                                I strongly disagree with this.

                                Also, in my list of good reasons to cook bacon in a skillet I forgot one of my favorites. After pouring off the excess grease into the bacon grease jar, I still have the good bacon fond in my skillet. Very good for cooking something else in later that day or even the next day.

                                1. re: kengk

                                  With you about the aromatic fond.Salmon is something I will do a two way plan for as are grilled cheese sandwiches or sometimes potatoes.

                                  1. re: kengk

                                    Oh yeah, love the bacon fond. Throw some Brussels sprouts or green beans in there and scrape up all the goodness! I disagree with the cast iron statement as well - my cast iron cooks a lot of bacon and it has a beautiful seasoning coat.

                                    1. re: kengk

                                      I have experienced MANY times my eggs not sliding around well in a well-aged iron skillet post bacon cooking in that same skillet.

                                      1. re: sandylc

                                        I cook anything I can in my CI skillets, including bacon. I find I have to cut the strips in half in order to avoid hot spots and get the entire strip to cook without raw ends or burned centers, guess my preferred skillet is too big for the burner (common in residential appliances, in my experience). But I honestly don't remember cooking bacon and immediately thereafter eggs. The fond, however, is just the bomb for brussels sprouts! And next day, after a little salt scour, eggs cook just fine. Not sure what the cowboys did.

                                        1. re: blaireso

                                          I think they used sand. Down by the ol' stream. Where they did their wash-up.

                                          1. re: sandylc

                                            At first I thought you were talking about Christopher Kimball washing skillets using sand down by the stream and about fell out of my chair laughing!

                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                              Naw, he'd underpay someone to do it while he recited folksy prose from his mazerati.

                                              OK, CK fans, attack!

                                              I really am somewhat teasing.

                                              1. re: sandylc

                                                I really like Bridget, Julia, and the other ATK/CC folks, and learning from them means tolerating Bowtie Boy. I'm about full up, though, after the radio show today, where he pronounced "hoisin" as "hoi-SANN", using the same French pronunciation and emphasis as in "gratin". And to think that I considered it a stretch when on the show where they overly overhauled Chicken Marbella, he said "Mar-BAY-a". Since it's named for a Spanish town he's technically right, but it's not an original Spanish dish.
                                                And if memory serves, he says "tapas", not the "tapath" he'd say if he were being a consistent stickler.

                                                1. re: greygarious

                                                  I've only ever pronounced Marbella that way (but have never cooked it).

                                                  Neither have I *ever* heard tapath from any native Spanish speakers, letht they have a lithp.

                                                  1. re: linguafood

                                                    wait, really? i lived in Barcelona - all the "z's" and "c's" were always lisped, every time. Barthelona! other parts of Spain too.

                                                    1. re: mariacarmen

                                                      Yah, but tapas ends on neither :-)

                                              2. re: LindaWhit

                                                that's hysterical! this is probably after he harvested and shocked his wheat by hand (my dad actually did this back in the day).

                                        2. re: kengk

                                          i only buy sugar-fee bacon anyway.

                                      2. Well, as others have said, I wouldn't bake it on a rack---the rendered fat will help the bacon crisp, cook more evenly, and generally have a better texture. And I've never had smoke, either. I do 350 degrees for about 25 to 30 minutes, sometimes 325 for a little longer [edit: longer if I've hand-cut thick slices from a slab].

                                        I do indeed love it. No splattering. Less smelly. No fussing to get even cooking. The slow-cooking means lots of rendered fat to put in the fridge. Basically idiot-proof. And I can close the oven door and forget about it, free to cook other things or watch the game or, most often, go take a shower. I suppose if I ever made breakfast on weekdays I could see the time being an issue, but I don't.

                                        1. I only do it when I need the convenience of cooking a lot at once, or I don't want to have to babysit it. I've never had a smoke issue. Turn the heat down if it's smoking or burning.

                                          1. Thanks all... next time I'll try without the rack... it's just that many instructions I find online say to use the rack :)

                                            My oven smokes up a lot of stuff... even asparagus that's tossed w/ some olive oil and s&p... maybe I should clean it to see if that'd make a difference.

                                            7 Replies
                                            1. re: juliejulez

                                              Lol I think cleaning it will definitley do the trick. Just be careful of how hot you get your oven. Test it out with thermometer. All ovens are different.

                                              1. re: Moggiesx2

                                                if cooking the whole package i use the oven, but as mentioned above it's important to know how well-calibrated your oven is.

                                                i just baked a batch on saturday @ 400, on a baking pan covered with foil. took about 20 minutes, no smoke. left the pans out so the fat firmed up. (my condo is coolish for room temp.) scraped that bacon fat off the pan and later used it to cook veal heart and tomato confit for dinner.

                                                1. re: hotoynoodle

                                                  Veal heart and tomato confit? Do tell.

                                                  1. re: Aromatherapy

                                                    all stuff i had batch-cooked and dug out of the freezer. i simmer the hearts in a beef broth with ginger and garlic, some carrots and thyme. takes 4-5 hours. the tomato confit was a big pile of grape tomatoes from the summer that i had cooked down with garlic and red chili flakes til it was almost a paste.

                                                    for this i put the bacon fat in a pan with some chopped hearts and tomato stuff and just warmed it up for awhile.

                                                    for whatever reason, veal and beef hearts have been in my local markets often lately and for very cheap. lean and super-nutritious protein. i cook a few pounds at a time and portion and freeze. i keep the cooking liquid too and freeze and re-use.

                                              2. re: juliejulez

                                                lol...i was thinking the whole time...the oven needs cleaned

                                                1. re: juliejulez

                                                  Another thing which will cause smoking is if you have the baking rack too high. Did that by accident on Saturday and had lots of smoke until I lowered the rack.

                                                  1. re: lisavf

                                                    Yeah, the spattering fat hits the coils. You can do two trays at a time if they're far enough apart and still away from that top coil. I do use racks, which tends to damp down spatter, and I like the idea of removing as much fat during cooking as possible, but hey it's bacon! I'll try rack free next time, maybe one with and one without and compare. Yum.

                                                2. Not hype to me.

                                                  Elec toaster oven. 350F.

                                                  Cook about 7 to 10 minutes on first side and then flip on second side until done.

                                                  Grease and mess stays contained and it's a low maintainence process.

                                                  Cook on the stove all ya want. Just don't bitch to me about the mess nor cleanup.
                                                  End product done either way is just the same.

                                                  I like to choose my battles, personally. :)
                                                  And I choose mine wisely.

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: jjjrfoodie

                                                    Fried vs. baked really are two different products. Baked bacon is flatter and doesn't have those curly blobs of undercooked fat - it is more uniformly cooked.

                                                    1. re: jjjrfoodie

                                                      I've never had it come out the same in the oven as on the stovetop. Nor do I find cooking bacon stove top messy.

                                                      shrug.

                                                      1. re: rasputina

                                                        You're right, it doesn't come out the same in the oven as on top of the stove.

                                                        It is flatter and more evenly cooked in the oven. It tastes better, too.

                                                    2. Hands off so I can focus on other things, can do a Lot at once, and uniformal browning. I always cook it in the oven and get the best bacon.

                                                      425 ~ 15 minutes and then keep an eye until level of doness I want. For instance super crispy for my cabanara yesterday night, but not so crispy for BLTs.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: Crockett67

                                                        This ^. I always use the oven method. I line a baking sheet with heavy duty foil - makes clean up even easier - put 8-10 slices on it and into an oven set to 375 degrees. I never have smoke and the bacon always comes out perfect. I drain it on a plate covered with paper towels. If I am making something else I need to keep warm, like pancakes, I put the bacon filled plate back in the oven to also keep warm. I never realized there was "hype" surrounding oven made bacon, but the number one reason I do it is because I can cook all of the other breakfast components without having to be a slave to watching a pork and grease filled skillet.

                                                        And the clean- up. Nevermind the pans, but all the splatter on the stove top, adjacent counter space, and floor. Plus, with a cooking-loving three year old constantly under foot in my kitchen, it is safer for me.

                                                        1. re: Justpaula

                                                          Exactly! Eggs and toast? Done when the bacon is. Nothing cold.

                                                      2. When we have company coming, I will bake 3 or 4 lbs. of bacon in the oven. I use a sheet pan covered with foil and put the bacon directly on that. I cook it at 325 till it is done how I like it, then drain on paper towels and layer on parchment. Then I put it in freezer bags and freeze. I can then take out as many slices as needed and microwave them, tastes like freshly cooked.

                                                        Works wonderfully when guests eat at different times and when it is just my husband and I, he can have bacon without having to cook!

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: potholder

                                                          Agree, I find 325 is best for baking bacon. And freezing the already-cooked stuff (a tip I learned on this board) is fabulous in every way except the waistband, as it makes it all too easy to grab a slice or two...

                                                          1. re: potholder

                                                            Once it's oven-baked so there's no uncooked fat, it keeps in the fridge for at least 6 weeks. No need to freeze it.

                                                          2. Sometimes I stay at Residence Inns for work. The ones I go to have terribly-hard-to-clean frying pans and no sheet pans. So I broiled the bacon, turning once when mostly done. It was great and lightly crispy. I haven't tried it at home, yet.

                                                            1. I too had this problem and could never understand why people raved about cooking bacon in the oven. I stumbled upon a secret...start the bacon in a cold oven and set to 400. Works perfectly!

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: AuntieSocial1

                                                                That's the way I do it too - don't know where I read it but by the time the oven reaches 400 (at least my oven) the bacon's about done. Always crispy.

                                                                1. re: AuntieSocial1

                                                                  What a great tip, thanks!

                                                                2. it's easy and LESS MESS
                                                                  3 to 4 pounds at a time in one batch,30 minutes and done.A cast iron pan or pans stove top,splatters and you are there for how long? I'll pass on the time and mess 99% of the time.

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: lcool

                                                                    Seriously. It's convenient. You can do a batch at a time and save the rest for sandwiches. No splatter. No burnt bits. You don't need a press to keep the bacon flat. And with a foil lined pan there's little cleanup. Save the fat for potatoes. I do thick bacon on a rack in the middle of the oven at 400 for 20-22 minutes. My kids prefer their burnt all to hell so I take half of the bacon off to cool and throw the rest back in until it's done, or do some in the skillet. When I only want a few slices, I do it on the skillet but unless it's over low heat, the bacon curls and spatters and burns and is a general pain in the ass. Just not worth it anymore. I'd say part of OP's problem is the electric oven. They never get hot enough fast enough.

                                                                    1. re: monkeyrotica

                                                                      Above,kengk and I both posted the value of "the pan" the great aromatic fond for the next dish
                                                                      cooked.
                                                                      I guess you are on about the slow oven.Mine are fast,gas and electric,but less than 4 years old.

                                                                  2. I only use the bacon method when I have to cook a lot of bacon at once. Otherwise, I fry it in a cast iron skillet. It's good for the skillet and it comes out great.

                                                                    You should measure your oven temp to make sure it really is 400, though. And don't use a rack so it can cook in its own delicious fat. You can drain it when it's done.

                                                                    1. I used to be a chef at a resort and our breakfast chefs cooked the bacon in the oven.

                                                                      Parchment paper on the sheet pan, lay the bacon down, another sheet of parchment, and another sheet pan on top. Came out perfect and crispy every time.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: junglekitte

                                                                        Yes!

                                                                        This is exactly how I make bacon in the oven. One RIMMED baking sheet, parchment cut to fit, bacon in a single layer, another layer of cut parchment, then a smaller rimmed baking pan on top. Cook at 350 until done. Cooking time varies on thickness of bacon. We're fond of thicker cut bacon. Nueske's which we order online and get by mail, is the best I've had.

                                                                        The bacon not only tastes great, it looks great too. And you can use the drippings for homefries if you like.

                                                                      2. Unless I need a TON of bacon (and I mean like 5+ pounds), I use my cast iron skillet. I can easily cook a pound at a time in there - I don't care about keeping the slices flat, so I just throw them in and basically let them deep fry in their own rendered goodness. If I'm making bacon jam or can start with cut-up pieces for any reason, I'll do 2-3 pounds at a time in either my CI or a bigger, 14" stainless skillet.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: biondanonima

                                                                          I do the "throw it in and deep fry thing" too - in my Le Creuset Dutch oven, Stir here and there and pull out with tongs when done. I like my bacon curly, so this works perfectly! Pour the grease into a container and save for something else...

                                                                        2. Exactly. "It's hands off and it's easy to cook a lot at once." And that's why it's a big deal. And if you're burning it, you've got your heat too high. Leave it on the pan, not a rack, and it will crisp.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: rachelgreen

                                                                            gah, i just bought a pack of trader joe's ends and bits (or whatever it's called) and tried baking it. feh. the pieces were of too many differing thicknesses and although the pound was cheap much burned and went in the trash. that being said, i never have this problem with more traditional sized stuff.

                                                                            note to self: not again on this.

                                                                            BUT, yes, to oven baking a whole pound.

                                                                          2. I admit to setting 2 ovens aflame & on fire doing this method. I'm no longer allowed.

                                                                            dang those rimless drippy cookie trays.

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. re: iL Divo

                                                                              RIMLESS? Uh-oh, Useless in all regards and especially not good at containing bacon grease!!!!

                                                                              1. re: sandylc

                                                                                o I no now NEVER AGAIN
                                                                                I don't get the point though
                                                                                so you just gotta keep the "miracle cleaner"
                                                                                at all times at the ready AND one sprayer of it in EVERY room :)))))

                                                                            2. Lower the heat, for one, but I prefer the Cooks Illustrated method whereby you add water to the skillet to cover and slowly render and cook the bacon in liquid, then as it evaporates fully it crisps and fries in its own fat. I've gotten flawless results that way.

                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                              1. re: eltaquerogringo

                                                                                I've read about that and I'm intrigued.

                                                                                1. re: eltaquerogringo

                                                                                  Interesting. I had not heard of cooking bacon that way. It's the same method I use for making Chinese pot-sticker dumplings.

                                                                                  1. re: Querencia

                                                                                    Fried until crispy then covered with a little water to steam done, yes for the pot sticker... but bacon? No I want that grease undiluted!

                                                                                    1. re: Querencia

                                                                                      Would you mind describing your method in detail? Are the dumplings frozen or thawed? How can you tell when they're done? Most importantly, how do you keep them from sticking?

                                                                                      1. re: Chowbird

                                                                                        I've been using Trader Joe's pot stickers aka dumplings aka gyoza for ages. Here's how I cook them, frozen, out of the bag: Heat 1-2 tbsps peanut oil or vegetable oil in a 10" saute pan. While it is heating over medium heat, arrange the dumplings around the pan closely - I usually cook half a bag at a time for 2 people, about 7 per person. After they are all in, press down on them to insure contact with the hot pan surface. Turn heat up to medium-high until they start to brown. Should take about 8-10 minutes. When they are browned to your liking, add 1/4 cup of water or broth to the pan, plus I like to add 1 green onion, minced. Cover the pan immediately and turn the heat down to low. Let them steam for 10 minutes. They should be completely cooked and slightly stuck to the bottom of the pan. I use an old-fashioned metal turner to loosen them off the bottom of the pan and serve with dipping sauce which is basically soy sauce, vinegar, and a few drops of Hot sesame chili oil. Chinese mustard is good too. NOTE: my directions are from cooking the on both gas & electric stoves. If you are cooking them over an exceptionally large burner, you might need to back off the heat on the browning.

                                                                                  2. I don't eat bacon straight up. Usually I crumble the slices into bits and use it as a condiment, but that doesn't stop me from treating myself when they come right out of the oven. Mine are perfectly flat and crispy. The fat is clear, white, and free from overcooked bits.

                                                                                    225F for 3.5 hours on a rack.

                                                                                    1. This is a great information! I tried doing bacon in the oven once and used a rack and it seemed to take forever. It got the job done for the purpose (large crowd), but it seemed like it should've had better results. Plus, the rack was a royal PITA to clean. I'm going to try the foil on sheet pan method next time. sounds like it works much better and it makes more sense too, having it cook in it's own fat like a skillet.

                                                                                      We do bacon every weekend for just two of us, so the cast iron skillet works fine for that, but this is great to know about for the next big group!

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: Scirocco

                                                                                        I guess I should update to say I have tried it on the sheet pan w/ foil, and it would have been great but I left it in too long, probably because I was so used to doing it on the rack so it would take forever. I've got a package of bacon in the freezer so I think I will try it again this weekend, and will keep a much closer eye on it.

                                                                                      2. Agree with most, I only cook it in the oven when I need to make a large quantity like for stuffed jalapeno poppers.

                                                                                        Been following the directions from the website below for years. I adjust the time for how crispy I need the bacon.

                                                                                        http://www.tonychor.com/archive/00044...

                                                                                        1. I do like to oven bake on occasion if only because it allows some seasoning elements for bacon. I have tried a few variations- my favorite to date is a light dusting of brown sugar and some ground chile. A great sweet-spicy bacon that is stellar on a BLT variation or crumbled into a salad.

                                                                                          1. When on vacation this summer with another family, they watched in amazement as I put the bacon in the oven. The wife said, "that's brilliant!" The husband said, "huh, we used to do that at a restaurant I worked at as a kid." Wife then kicked husband for not thinking to do it at home.

                                                                                            I ALWAYS cook a pound at a time in the oven for my family of three and put the rest in the fridge for sandwiches and salads. I don't use a rack and will cook it anywhere between 325-425 depending on how fast I need it, how thick the bacon and what else I might need the oven for. I've never had any smoking and I love that it is evenly cooked. I hate pan fried bacon with its uneven cooked spots. (and yes, I have even been giving a "bacon press" that I found to be a bitch to clean and not effective since it wasn't big enough for the whole pan...)

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: vencogirl

                                                                                              I was also given a 'bacon press' and use it for paninis instead of bacon.

                                                                                            2. I got wire rack shelves from Lee Valley last month, they come in pairs and you can stack them with the bacon in between. The racks have 1/4" squares. They work brilliantly! I have used them on a cookie sheet with parchment underneath. My convection oven at 350 works great. You actually have to use only one rack the bacon stays flat and the rack(s) go in the dishwasher. I have been trying other ideas too. I like shoestring oven fries, they work really well with the same set up. No turning them over...375 for 12 minutes equals perfect crisp fries with almost no clean up.

                                                                                              1. Your oven is too high. Turn your oven down to 350. Lay the slices slightly overlapping on a bun pan with inch-high sides so the fat won't run down into the oven. Don't use a rack. Bake the bacon until it is NEARLY done. Put some paper towel on a few thicknesses of newspaper and lay your strips on it to drain---sop as much fat off the top with more paper towel as you can. Put the slices in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.When you want to eat bacon, wrap a couple of slices in a paper towel and zap for 5-10 seconds---it will get very crisp very fast. Advantages: 1) You mess up a pan only once. 2) Bacon is available very fast. 3) Bacon gets crisper than in a frying pan.

                                                                                                1. I use a 400 degree oven, per Cook's Illustrated. I put it directly on a cookie sheet, no foil. Two things:
                                                                                                  1) Bacon varies wildly. It never cooks for the exact same amount of time. However, 30 minutes is waaaayyyyyy too long. The longest I ever cooked was about 17 minutes and the bacon was scorched and inedible.

                                                                                                  2) I really think the temperature on your oven is off. By a lot. Do you have an oven thermometer?

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                                                                                                  1. re: blackpippi

                                                                                                    I do mine in the oven with the broiler pan, line the bottom with foil for easier cleanup.

                                                                                                    I find sometimes if it is not cooking enough or crisping up, I throw it under the broiler for a bit to finish. I often flip it once too.

                                                                                                    I got some silpats for Xmas thinking of trying this on sheet pan next time.

                                                                                                    Oh for added decadence drizzle a bit of real maple syrup or a sprinkle of brown sugar for cooking. YUMMY.

                                                                                                  2. I read the comments and I think most everyone is trying to cook too much at once. Like trying to brown meat, or vegetables, if you put in too much, it will not brown, it will just get steamy and soften. I have been cooking bacon in the oven for many years and with this method it always comes out evenly cooked and very crispy. Here's how I do it: First, I use an old, dark cookie sheet and in it I place 1 or 2 small mesh wire racks. I cook no more than 8 or 10 pieces, per pan, placed on the racks evenly so the strips are not touching. I preheat the oven to 375, and sometimes I put the pan with the bacon in the oven before it's completely heated. After 10 minutes, I open the oven and turn the bacon over, releasing the fat that's trapped on the top. After about another 5-10 minutes, it should be done. You can overcook easily, and then it burns, but if you watch it, after the first 10, give it 1-2 minutes at a shot, you can have it turn out evenly cooked, golden brown and delicious. Thick bacon will not be as crisp and even, but still needs to be checked and turned to cook evenly. Really, it's the best. Using tongs, remove it to paper towels to drain off any extra fat left on the strips. If you want to store it, wrap it in the paper towels, put it in a plastic bag. Can be re-heated with a quick 1 min-or less hit in the microwave still wrapped in the paper. Scrape the fat left in the cookie sheet into a jar to use for cooking other things, or into a throw away container for the landfill. I just had a piece this morning that had been in the fridge for a week and it was still perfect after 1 minute in the microwave as I've described.

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                                                                                                    1. re: Lindsay D47

                                                                                                      Liked your tips. I agree don't overcrowd food when cooking.

                                                                                                    2. This method has always worked for me. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place bacon on sheet so it's barely touching. Bake at 400*. Start checking bacon after 10 minutes. (Much depends on the type & thickness of your bacon.) If still not cooked thoroughly, or you like it crispier..... Place in the upper part of your oven for another minute or two. (Watching for the correct doneness.)

                                                                                                      What's great about cooking bacon in the oven is it cooks more evenly. No grease splatter everywhere. No baked on mess on the pan. And you don't have to constantly be monitoring it!

                                                                                                      1. I did it on thursday for the first time - put 'em on a baking sheet and baked it at 350 for about twenty minutes - flipped 'em over, brushed 'em with some cayenne pepper and brown sugar, and continue baking for about 13 minutes longer, until crisped and perfect. placed them on paper towels and then stored them all together in teh fridge until the next day - reheated them in the warming drawer of my oven and they were crisp-spicy-sweet-smoky perfection.

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                                                                                                        1. re: ahuva

                                                                                                          That sounds very good. And I like the reheating tip.

                                                                                                        2. I agree with the majority. RIMMED half-sheet lined with heavy-duty aluminum foil for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees. Only difference is I crinkle the foil first, being careful not to tear it. This seems to provide a "rack" of sorts yet still allows the bacon to cook in its own fat. Comes out crisp and NEVER any smoke. Flipping the bacon after 15 minutes makes it more like pan-fried, but really isn't essential.

                                                                                                          1. I bake bacon when making basket weaves for BLT sandwiches. Delish:

                                                                                                            http://cavemanketo.com/2012/02/10/bac...

                                                                                                            1. Might be the sous videer in me or the fact that I have two smokers for "low and slow", but when I'm cooking a whole pound I like to do it on a rack over a sheet pan at around 225-250 degrees F. Yes, it does take a LONG time, but I like how a) it renders off more fat without overcooking the meat and b) the resulting "grease" is a lot "cleaner".

                                                                                                              1. What a great thread! I love bacon and make my own, doing 15 to 20 pounds a month for a family of four (and the occasional friend).

                                                                                                                While on a day to day basis we usually cook it in a skillet, I often do it on a cooling rack in jelly roll pan. I do the 400F oven but have similar experience with the edges burning. Lowering to 350F will probably fix your problem. Lining the pan for easy clean up is good, but we NEVER throw bacon grease away. Maximum flavor, fantastic for roux, and my wife loves to use it for fried rice.

                                                                                                                We also do "Pig Candy" occasionally - same process but coat the bacon in brown sugar and cinnamon on both sides.

                                                                                                                For a nice "restaurant style" flat piece of bacon, simply jaccard which means poking it with a fork on both sided to break up the long fibers. Then bake in the oven, particularly if you want to keep some on hand. I often do NOT try to finish cooking it in the oven, I get it 3/4 done, then pull it, cool, and baggie it for the refrigerator. Finish cooking is in a skillet but it only takes a couple of minutes. Handy when there is a hungry crew waiting for breakfast!

                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: Tatoosh

                                                                                                                  great idea, par bake your bacon!

                                                                                                                  1. re: Tatoosh

                                                                                                                    how long did you smoke it and at what temp. ? Mine brined well but the grill/ smoking situation was too hot and way too long. Maybe it should have more like 30 minutes...

                                                                                                                  2. When it comes to bacon, to me it has to be done nice and slow, u rush it @ 400, the fat burns the bacon before it's given the chance to slowly seep out leaving that nice bacon flavor at the end.

                                                                                                                    When it's in the oven it's much easier as you don't have to watch over it as much. it's just lacking the pan fry crispiness.

                                                                                                                    I perfer parchment paper when I do any cooking. Foil leaves a nasty after taste. (If you use foil often u probably won't notice it.) I cook it at 250-275 degrees, ~30 minutes, Convection ( even out the heat a bit).

                                                                                                                    I actually cook bacon quite often. I buy a ton when it's on sale, freeze it, then cook it when I run out of bacon fat to use.

                                                                                                                    1. I do the whole pound at 350 and have never a) set off the smoke alarm or b) burned the bacon. Bake until the bacon is NEARLY done. Lay it out on several thicknesses of newspaper covdered with paper towel and sop off as much grease as you can get. Keep in refrigerator or freezer in plastic bag. When you want bacon, zap a piece or two wrapped in paper towel for about 10 seconds---gets nice and crisp but burns easily so watch it. Reason for doing: pure laziness.

                                                                                                                      1. The trick is to put the bacon in a cold oven. Then turn it on, set to 400 for about 17 mins

                                                                                                                        1. first of all you are missing constant heat..NEVER EVER COOK WITH ELECTRIC...second of all if you want perfect bacon you must use a cast iron pan which has been properly condition and seasoned BUT ON A GAS BURNER...you will never accomplish your desire as a decent cook with electric...

                                                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: laurawhitetail

                                                                                                                            I HAVE NEVER EVER HAD A GAS STOVE and have been cooking bacon perfectly for many years

                                                                                                                            1. re: laurawhitetail

                                                                                                                              As jacquelyncoffey said - not ALL of us are lucky enough to have gas. We make do with what we have. And quite frankly, I've made some damn fine "perfect" bacon with my electric stove tops and electric ovens.

                                                                                                                              1. re: laurawhitetail

                                                                                                                                Maybe I am not sure what you mean by "constant" heat. I have cooked on many many gas and electric burners and even on some wood fires and never has the cycling of an electric burner or the changeability of a campfire hindered my bacon cooking.
                                                                                                                                Here is the interesting thing. Cast iron is a very poor conductor of heat so if you have an electric burner sized to the pan, it provides the most even heat to the base of the cast iron pan. On the other hand if you are using a gas ring burner, you would be better off with a pan that has better transfer of heat like aluminum or copper. If you are using an electric burner that is smaller than your pan, you would be better of with a more heat conductive pan. This would be for optimum heat distribution in the pan. You can cook great bacon in most situations in spite of less than optimal heat distribution in the pan because the rendered fat will help to even out the heat in the immediate cooking environment of the bacon. Gas does give a more immediate control of heat but this is very much diminished by use of cast iron which is much slower to heat and cool.

                                                                                                                                And then there is induction.

                                                                                                                                ".you will never accomplish your desire as a decent cook with electric..."

                                                                                                                                I have cooked on both over many years and you do have to learn the nuances of both and I will leave it to the people I cook for to say if I have even surpassed "decent" :-)) One of my best meals ever was on a poorly functioning apartment stove.

                                                                                                                                1. re: wekick

                                                                                                                                  well said.

                                                                                                                                  I currently have no choice in stove/oven, refrigeration, or in general my dream kitchen because I am renting. People can have top of the line everything and still be a horrible cook.
                                                                                                                                  But, hey, just cook!

                                                                                                                              2. you are missing the key ingredient...steady heat...electric doesnot supply this as your repairman tried to explain politely...did you ever see a chef or a southern cook using electric stove? NO...do yourself a favor and get a gas stove, and if you can afford it, get a professional one...you will become the CHEF OF THE COMMUNITY...good luck with the bacon

                                                                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: laurawhitetail

                                                                                                                                  "Perfect" bacon does not, nor has it ever, required a gas stove.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: laurawhitetail

                                                                                                                                    Yeah, I think that's completely unnecessary.

                                                                                                                                    I have an electric and it cooks the bacon perfectly.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: laurawhitetail

                                                                                                                                      Julia Child. Electric stove - by choice, for sure, since the island at which she and Pepin cooked in the series they did together was a special installation in her kitchen, just for the show. He had gas burners, she had electric. They never discussed why.

                                                                                                                                      Your insistence on a gas stove is preposterous. There are pros and cons to both electric and gas. I have "made do" in an all-electric house for decades. I dare say no one would be able to tell, by appearance or taste, what kind of burners I cook on.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: greygarious

                                                                                                                                        I've cooked on electric for 30 yrs and gas the last 10 yrs. I much prefer gas but can cook on either

                                                                                                                                      2. re: laurawhitetail

                                                                                                                                        Funny.

                                                                                                                                        I've been told a number of times that electric ovens were superior because the heat is more evenly distributed. This is particularly important if you bake a lot. Gas ovens tend to be slightly more uneven.

                                                                                                                                        Apparently, the ideal is a gas cook top and electric oven.

                                                                                                                                        Lots of people in the rural areas of the South have electric stoves, by the way.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: laurawhitetail

                                                                                                                                          I am not sure who you are replying to about a repairman but assume it is upthread to c oliver as he is the only one to mention a repair person. He is talking about ovens in general not electric or gas. Often oven are not calibrated correctly so run hot or cold. They can be calibrated though.

                                                                                                                                          There is so much goes into what supplies even heat in an oven. Some electric ovens have thermostats with a much narrower range of temperature swing than is typical in gas. One of the biggest factors in evenness is the radiant heat from the sides and this will depend on the build of the oven not whether it is gas or electric. If one has convection fans and third/fourth elements with the fans you can have more even heat if the elements and fans are used correctly in the oven program.

                                                                                                                                          Many southern cooks have electric ranges but if you are specifically talking about ovens here, many specialty bakers use electric. Many also use gas ovens because it is cheaper.

                                                                                                                                        2. I'm surprised no one has mentioned cooking bacon in the microwave. Layer up to a pound of bacon on paper towels and nuke for about 1 minute per slice. I've done bacon this way at home for years and never have been disappointed. I even have a microwave-safe bacon pan that collects the grease. This works great for BLT's and other bacon-heavy meals. Sure, I could cook it in the oven or a skillet, but...why???

                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                          1. re: elegraph

                                                                                                                                            In the microwave, they always seem to come out hard, rather than crispy. I like bacon to melt in my mouth.

                                                                                                                                          2. I used to cook bacon in the oven on a wire cooling rack suspended over a half sheet pan.If you require more than a few slices it is easier than a frying pan and requires less attention.My bacon of choice was a one pound package of Oscar Meyer Thick Cut. All the slices could fit on the rack without overlapping for even doneness.I think 400F. is too hot though I cooked @ 350F.Both the sheet pan and wire rack fit in my dishwasher albeit on an angle. However, since I've discovered Hormel pre-cooked bacon @ Costco I haven't cooked raw. It is good tasting bacon and just needs a minute and a half in the microwave to crisp it up. Now having bacon whenever I want it is easy & not messy.
                                                                                                                                            http://www2.costco.com/Browse/Product...