There are certain sights and sounds that are associated with cooking bacon. The sizzle and pop of the fat while frying. The smoky aroma that fills the kitchen immediately makes your mouth water or your stomach start to grumble. Watching the meat slowly brown while carefully timing when to flip to keep the edges from burning. The sweet relief of cold water as you try to calm the searing pain of the grease that just hopped out of the pan and beelined straight for your bare hand (always my favorite!). It is an artful balance of timing and luck to get that perfect slice of crisp bacon!
But what if you could cook your bacon in a way that would guarantee crispy strips without the fear of fat flying or edges burning? It may sound crazy, but by oven roasting your bacon you can eliminate all the mess and worry. You definitely won't need to keep Band-Aids and burn cream on hand. There is no flipping, your hands are free to make other things and best of all, cleanup is a cinch!
Start by preheating the oven to 400°F. Double line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. The goal here is to catch all the bacon fat in the foil so there is no washing up at the end. Make sure there are no holes in the foil and all areas are covered.
Next, lay bacon in a single layer on the baking sheet. Slices should not overlap or they will stick together when cooking. Tuck in any ends that may be over the edge of the tray (see above). Place tray in oven and and bake until strips are crispy and brown, 15 to 20 minutes.
Around the 10-minute mark you may notice that thicker cuts of bacon might be submerged in their own grease. Carefully remove the tray from the oven and tilt one end into a glass container or aluminum can, letting the fat pour off. Return the tray to the oven for final cooking.
The thickness of the meat and personal preference will dictate how long you leave in the oven. If you are cooking medium-sliced bacon, total cook time is about 18 minutes for the perfect crispy finish. Just keep an eye on it while cooking and remove when desired crispiness is reached. Using tongs, transfer bacon to a paper towel lined plate and let cool slightly.
Serve with eggs for breakfast, in a BLT sandwich for lunch or chop and toss into a delicious fresh salad for dinner (shown).
Five Fun Facts About Bacon:
- Bacon originated in China around 1500 B.C. when farmers began to salt and cure pork bellies to eat. Ancient Greeks and Romans used a similar technique to cure their meats.
- The word bacon is derived from the Middle English word "bacoun," which referred to all types of pork. In the 17th century, it was shortened to "bacon" and used to only describe cured pork.
- While all bacon is salted and cured, different countries prefer different cuts of the pig. America uses pork bellies, while Canada uses pork loin and Great Britain favors pork shoulder.
- Ever wonder about the difference in bacon slices? According to my butcher, thin-sliced bacon is 1/32" thick and yields 28-32 pieces per pound. Medium-sliced bacon is 1/16" thick and yields 16-20 pieces per pound. Thick-cut bacon is 1/8" thick and yields 10-14 slices per pound.
- The Bacon Martini was invented in 1998 by two bartenders independently of each other. P. Moss, of the Double Down Saloon in Las Vegas, concocted a drink using hickory-smoked bacon and vodka, while Soon Yang, of Santa Monica, California, created his drink using juniper-cured bacon and vodka. Over the years, the Bacon Martini, also known as the Bacontini or Pig on the Rocks, has grown in popularity. It has lead to numerous brands of bacon-infused vodka and bourbon being introduced all over the world.
- Never put hot bacon fat down your sink drain or into a plastic container! Once cooled, throw away.
- Don't worry about the grease splatter in the oven. My guess is the fat does not splatter because you are not moving the slices around or flipping them. We did not find any splatter in the oven when we took them out!
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