Bacon Bakin’

I love bacon! Whether it’s crispy strips with eggs or pancakes for breakfast, crumbled bits in a Chef’s Salad at lunch, or crunchy, chewy chunks in creamed corn with supper. I love bacon!Mmm, Mmm, Mmm.  But, I don’t love the mess that comes with preparing it!

Many years ago, my sister, Nancy, who went to cooking school and worked in a restaurant,  shared a great tip for preparing bacon with me, and I’ve been doing it this way ever since.

Bake it.     That’s right. Bake it.

Easy prep, easy cooking, and easy clean-up. What could be better than that? Besides having someone else do it and store it in the freezer for me. But, let’s not go there.

When I’m in bacon bakin’ mode, I usually cook 2 to 4 pounds then freeze it in dated zip top freezer bags. That way, no matter which meal or recipe is calling for bacon, it’s cooked and ready to be either reheated or added. And, I only had to deal with the grease once. YAY!

Note: One pound of bacon fits on a half-sheet pan. I bake with two sheet pans at a time, so , two pounds of bacon per batch. Two pounds of bacon will fit into a one-gallon-size zip top bag.

This is what I do.

Adjust the racks in your oven so that the lowest one is about. 5″ up from the floor of the oven and the next one is about 9″ up. My oven has six rack slots so I put mine on the 1st (lowest) and 3rd (middle).

 

Preheat the oven to 315 degrees F.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cover two half-sheet pans with heavy duty foil. Crimp the foil tightly around the edges.

 

 

 

 

Lay the bacon strips side-by-side closely together. Wrinkle the strips up so that all of the slices from one pound fit onto each sheet pan.

 

 

 

 

 

When the oven is up to temperature, place one pan on the lowest rack and one on the middle rack.  Close the oven door.

 

 

 

 

 

Set the timer for 15 minutes and bake.

 

 

 

 

When the 15 minutes have passed, simply move the pan on the lowest rack to the middle and the pan on the middle rack to the lowest.

Set the timer and bake for another 15 minutes.

 

When the timer goes off, remove the pan from the lower rack and close the oven door. Turn the slices of bacon over.  Then remove the other pan from the oven and place the pan with the turned slices on the middle rack. Close the oven door and turn the slices on this pan. Put the pan back in the oven on the lower rack and again set the timer for 15 minutes.

 

 

When the timer goes off. simply switch the pans from top to bottom and bottom to top as before. But this time, set the timer for 10 minutes and check to see if the bacon has cooked to the degree of doneness that you like.

 

I have a daughter that likes her bacon crispy yet limp and a son-in-law who likes his crispy, crunchy and stiff. So for the last baking session, I usually bake it for 15 minutes. This cooks the bacon through but leaves it pliable.  It’s better to have it cooked and left a bit under crisp. You can always cook it a little more if someone likes it crispier. (The photo left is how the bacon looks after it has cooled somewhat but is not completely cold.)

 

When it’s cooked to your liking, remove the bacon from the pans and let drain on paper towels in single layers.

 

I place doubled paper towels down on another foil-lined pan. place the cooked bacon from one pan on it and place another doubled layer of paper towels on top. Press down slightly to soak up any grease that may be caught in the wrinkles of the bacon. Put the bacon from the second pan on top of that and add another layer of paper towels pressing down as before.

 

 

Place the cooled bacon in one-gallon-size freezer bags with waxed paper separating the layers. Remember that a one-gallon size bag will hold 2 pounds of cooked bacon.

The waxed paper keeps the slices from sticking to one another and makes it easy to remove only those you need.

 

 

 

Write the date on the outside of the package and store in the freezer until needed.

 

 

If you want to save the grease, line a flat-bottomed bowl with foil. Pour the grease into the bowl, cover, and refrigerate until solid. Place the solidified grease in a dated zip top freezer bag and flatten it slightly.  This will make it easier to cut off a little chunk when you need it. That way you have delicious bacon drippings ready for use at a moments notice.

 

Clean-up is easy since the pans were lined with foil.

I lay the greasy paper towels in the pans and let the grease cool and somewhat solidify.

Then just wad up the foil and toss it in the garbage can.

I like easy clean-up!

 

On some cooking shows, I have seen them bakin’ bacon as well. They place a baking rack inside the sheet pan, place the bacon strips directly on this rack and bake. I’ve tried that. The slices cooked that way ended up no different than the way I do it, only now I had to clean the grease off of the rack inside the pan! What a mess! And a pain! Needless to say, I don’t use a rack inside my pans.

As always, I hope this tip makes your cooking a little easier.

Diane

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