Sunday, December 25, 2011

Technique of the week: How-To Make Perfect Bacon

Breakfast dinners, also known as “brinners”, are a fantastic way to use up leftover potatoes, eggs, and those little end pieces and scraps of cheese. In our home, breakfast dinner is usually some sort of scrambled eggs with cheese and onions (I ALWAYS have leftover onion scraps that I need to use up!), skillet potatoes, and bacon.

Mmm, bacon! It’s salty, it’s savory, it’s the perfect complement to most meals, especially the fabled brinner.

Initially, I began cooking bacon on the stove top, in a skillet. This led to more burns on my arms than I’d ever had working the popcorn machine at the movie theater. Bacon in a skillet is hard to keep from overlapping, and therefore you end up with many pieces burned, or worse, under-cooked.

Later on, I learned that bacon on an electric griddle works well, in a pinch. However, due to the lack of convection, you have to turn it half-way through and hope you that you or the bacon doesn’t get burned.

Finally after some research (a combination of internet queries and calling my cooking mentor aka my mother) I learned that the most uniform and crispy bacon is cooked in an oven! Seriously, the best solutions are always the most simple (and the laziest!) This technique is as simple as setting your kitchen timer.

Perfect Oven-Cooked Bacon

You will need:

1 lb bacon

1-2 foil-lined cookie sheets (for easy clean-up!)

Convection oven


1. Arrange bacon strips in a single layer on foil-lined cookie sheets. (Use multiple cookie sheets if you need them-the trick is not to overlap the strips.)

2. Place cookie sheets in a cold oven, then crank the heat up to 400 degrees.

3. Walk away. I’m serious. Just walk away.

4. Let bake until crispy, about 20 minutes. Be sure to check on it around 15 minutes to insure it hasn’t begun to burn!

5. Allow bacon to cool, then pat off excess grease with paper towels.

6. Enjoy!

Questions? Comment below!


Shauna E!

Quick and dirty Q & A:

Q. Why shouldn’t I pre-heat my oven? Won’t the bacon undercook?

A. Slow-roasting the bacon is the trick here. A cold oven insures the bacon has enough time to cook through and crisp up without shocking it initially with too much heat (which will cause burning and chewy spots!)

Q. What kind of bacon is best to use?

A. I usually just buy whatever is on sale, but it is important to look at make sure there is a good meat-to-fat ratio on your selection. Some brands I tend to like are Smithfield, and Hormel.

This technique has been tested with pork bacon only, but one could presumably use it just as well with turkey bacon however I would recommend keeping a closer eye on the bacon to prevent burning, as turkey bacon has much less fat and will dry out faster!

Q. A pound of bacon is 16 slices, which is too many for me to eat in one setting. What can I do?

A. You have two options here. For one, you could use only half or a few slices of the bacon in the oven, then (tightly) wrap the package back up and pop it in your freezer to be used up at a later date. Be sure to use a smaller baking sheet and pay closer attention to the time to prevent overcooking.

The other option is to cook the entire pound at once, but slightly undercook it by a few minutes. Let the bacon cool completely, then freeze what you won’t use immediately and to de-frost, pop in a microwave for 30 seconds or until crispy.

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