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Tip: Cooking Bacon

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Candied Bacon

Candied Bacon

Copyright 2010 Kevin D Weeks

"What? A tip on cooking bacon? Do I look like an idiot? You'll be telling me how to boil water next."

Let me hasten to assure you I'm confident not only in your water boiling ability but also your skill at cooking bacon. But it occurs to me you may not have experimented as I have to find the best way. Essentially you have three options: fry it, nuke it or bake it.

Frying is the way I learned to cook bacon and I still do when I want the bacon grease to oil the skillet for scrambled eggs or the griddle for pancakes. It keeps the meal down to one cooking utensil and I can pour off the unneeded grease. However, it does splatter (even with a bacon press or splatter screen) so cleanup isn't that simple and unless you are using a press the bacon wants to curl and cook unevenly. In addition, the center always cooks faster than the ends so no single slice (rasher) is perfectly cooked.

Or you can cook the bacon in a microwave. This is quick, less messy (because you cover the bacon with a paper towel) and simple. There is less curling and the cooking is more even. You do want a special bacon-grilling pan for best results and the bacon is actually steamed which affects it's texture, but again this works fine for two to four slices and the semi-boiled texture may be acceptable if it's an ingredient in something else.

But if you want to cook, say, half a dozen rashers (an amount I consider perfect for two people) or more of bacon then baking/roasting is the way to go.

Roasting bacon takes a bit longer - 15 -20 minutes, and you have to heat up the oven but each slice is cooked uniformly and exactly to your preference. There is almost no splatter because the moisture cooks off without making the grease pop and if you line the baking sheet with foil you can capture the grease and cleanup is easy.

Perfect Bacon

Heat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Lay out bacon on foil. The strips shouldn't touch (or you get curling) but can be as close together as possible otherwise.

Bake to desired doneness.

In my oven 12 minutes produces bacon that's thoroughly cooked with most fat rendered but isn't crisp (I don't like crunchy bacon). You'll have to experiment with your favorite bacon and your oven to get the timing right for the way you like bacon. But after that it's just stick it in the oven, set a timer, pour a cup of coffee, and come back when the timer beeps.

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