I’m going to show you something today that just might change your life. Do you avoid the whole bacon thing because you have to make a big greasy mess, have bacon oil splattered all over the place, and run the risk of scalding your forearms? Well let me show you a little trick where you can cook bacon and not have a single dirty dish. Really, not one! It’s so easy that you might just find yourself cooking bacon every day purely for the purpose of snacking on it. Errr…okay, maybe that’s just me. Pretend I didn’t say that.
1. Turn on your oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Use heavy duty if you have it. Lay out bacon slices in a single layer. They can be close together, just avoid overlap. You can also lay a metal cooling rack in your pan and lay the bacon on top of that. Personally I think it tastes way better when it cooks up in its own drippings!
2. You don’t need to wait for your oven to preheat. Place pan in the oven for about 12-15 minutes. Watch bacon after that and cook until desired level of crispiness. I like mine on the crispy side so I cook it for about 15-17 minutes. Cooking time depends on the thickness of the slice as well.
3. Immediately remove bacon from pan and place on paper towels to soak up grease.
Now you’ve still got that pan full of drippings. And I promised no mess and no dirty dishes. Don’t worry, I’m a woman of my word. Note that at this point, you could save the drippings if that’s your type of thing (and according to the comments it’s quite important to a lot of you- don’t judge me for not keeping it!) Or….
When your bacon has cooled take the paper towels it was draining on and place them right on the baking sheet. They’ll immediately start soaking up the grease so you don’t accidentally spill on yourself, and this way you don’t have to find something to pour the oily mess into.
Then take the foil and wrap it right up into itself until you have a little package to toss right in the garbage can.
And as long as you didn’t pierce any holes through the foil, your pan is completely clean! (ya, ya, I know my pan doesn’t look clean, it actually looks kind of gross, but that’s not the point here. Trust me, it’s clean!) Now how easy is that?
Skillet: If you are going to cook bacon strips in a skillet, here’s a trick. Start with a cold pan. Most people heat their pan up first and pop the bacon in to hear the sizzle. The problem with that is that it immediately causes the bacon to shrivel up and become misshapen and that makes it hard when you’re putting it on something like a sandwich or burger. Starting with a cold pan allows the fat to render first and then the bacon to cook up, leaving with you nice, flat strips.
Microwave: You can also place bacon on paper towels and microwave but the texture isn’t nearly as good as baking or skillet cooking. It’s good in a pinch though, and for hot days when you don’t want to heat up your oven. However, I do often have the bags of pre-cooked microwave bacon in my fridge and those work pretty well for certain things. We use them if we just need a couple of pieces, like for a sandwich and lunch time or on eggs for breakfast.
Back to baking. Baking bacon also results in nice flat pieces. Flat bacon comes in handy for stuff like this:
I especially love baking bacon when I need a whole bunch to crumble up and sprinkle on stuff like for these yummy dishes. You can be cooking the bacon in the oven while you prep the rest of the food so you don’t have to sit there and babysit a hot skillet.
Now sometimes you need the actual bacon grease and bits on the bottom of the pan for flavor. Most of these recipes just use a few pieces, and it makes sense to just cook them right in the pan you’re going to use since you leave some of the drippings for flavor. And since they’re getting all crumbled up anyway, it doesn’t matter if you start with either a hot or cold pan.
And how could I do a post on bacon and not include our favorite things that are actually wrapped in bacon???