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How to cook bacon in the oven

Bacon, the succulent salt-cured thin strip of pork belly or back is a culinary delicacy from antiquity across the world. The fine marbled texture of fat and muscle of bacon has captivated food lovers with its beauty and taste for centuries.

How to cook bacon in the oven 1

Bacon’s paramount popularity has opened the scope of evolving several alternatives imitating the traditional bacon, most prominent among them is the turkey bacon followed by beef bacon, soy bacon, etc. All these are based on different meat varieties of turkey, beef, mutton, and venison, sometimes the name bacon is used to allure vegans too.

We apologize for your patience indeed for going through the gorgeous epic of bacon before knowing it’s cooking, but a knight must get our nod, isn’t it?

Now we will learn an essential step by step guide of cooking bacon into the oven. Usually, bacon is cooked in two different methods in the oven, one is chewy and another one is crispy, both are simple to cook yet delicious to eat. 

Bacon could be cooked in the oven in two ways, straight on the baking sheet or on a rack. The differences are insignificant yet appreciated by some experts in changes in texture.

Advantages of cooking bacon in the oven than an open flame

The traditional bacon cooking in open fire causes messes since bacon is greasy and bursts oil during cooking. Moreover, it requires constant supervision while cooking and needed to turn sides but cooking bacon in the oven offers some competitive edges, these are,

1.    You can cook a large batch of bacon at once in just a few minutes, for large quantity cooking of generally over a pound cooking in the oven is faster and easier than open flame cooking.

2.   Baked bacon cooks flat and doesn’t curl up by shrinking.

3.   No need to turn the bacon sides.

4.   No spattered grease burns on your skin while cooking since you are needed not to be closed to the oven.

5.   No spattered grease is spoiling your clothes with stains

6.   No grease splatters over your stove and messing up your kitchen premises.

7.   You need not put constant attention while cooking bacon in the oven since your bacon requires not turning sides. So you can put your attention to other things.

8.   Clean-up for cooking is easier than anything else.

Just enough talkies for this moment, now let’s dive for cooking bacon in the oven and submerge into the succulent ocean of bacon 

Ingredients and Equipment’s

Bacon- 1 pound – Our choice of bacon in oven cooking is natural, uncured, smoked pork bacon that is of a regular thickness (neither thin nor thick). And our desired output specification balance of crisp-edged, slightly chewy center with savory flavor and taste. To me, it gives just the right balance of chewy center, crisp edges, and savory taste.

Parchment paper (you can interchangeably use aluminum foil) – to spread over the bacon to save the oven from popping grease of cooking bacon

Large rimmed baking sheet

Aluminum foil – it is for lining your baking pan to make clean-up comfortable

Baking rack (Optional) – Cooking the bacon on a rack makes the bacon crisper, and lets the grease drip off the bacon as it cooks.

Timing of cooking and serving bacon

  • Precooking preparation 10 minutes of removing packet and preparing oven with aluminum foil or parchment paper
  • Preheating oven 10 minutes or you may start from a cold oven
  • Cooking bacon 15-20 minutes, it is subjective and depends on bacon types
  • Serving bacon 5 minutes

Serving

As a thumbs rule there will be 10 to 32 slices in each pound of bacon with the thicker cuts towards the lower end of that range and usually 2-3 pieces bacon per serving.

  • Regular-sliced bacon is .062 inches thick (1/16 inch) with 16 – 20 slices per pound.
  • Thin-sliced bacon is .031 inches thick (1/32 inch) with 28 – 32 slices per pound.
  • Thick-sliced bacon is .111 inches thick (1/8 inch) with 10 – 14 slices per pound.

Bacon cooking styles

Bacon could be cooked in the oven in two ways, straight on the baking sheet or on a rack. The differences are slight but some appreciate those distinctions

  1. Baking Sheet Pan: When bacon is cooked straight on the pan it tends to be slightly chewy, juicy and firm if it is cooked slightly crisp.
  2. Cooling Rack: Bacon made on the rack takes a little bit extra time to cook since it is cooked in dry air, not in the moist rendered fat of the bacon. It results in a crispier edge, lighter in texture with the more marbled appearance and feels light. The only downfall of this system is the ruining grill with greases that deserves extra effort to clean. 
  1. How to Cook Bacon on a Baking Sheet Pan
  • Line the baking sheet pan with foil all over inside and making sure it covers up the sides to protect the spillover of bacon grease.
  • Evenly spread and space the bacon separately, if you are not careful enough to overlap them so that the bacon will be cooked consistently and not stick together. 
  • Cover the bacon with a parchment paper to protect the oven from popping grease of cooking bacon. 
  • Bake at 400°F (204°C) for 15 minutes, then carefully flip over and cook until the bacon is fully cooked, golden in color and crisp, about 5 minutes depending on the thickness.
  • Make sure to keep a close eye on the last few minutes because the bacon can go from crisp to burn.
  • Transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to soak the excess oil from bacon to make it dry and crispy.
  • Save the excess bacon fat drained into the backing sheet, pour it into a mason jar (or another glass container) and store it in the fridge for other use. You can use it in different types of frying, like cooking eggs, roasting vegetables, etc.
  • How to Cook Bacon on a Cooling Rack
  • Line the baking sheet pan with foil all over inside and making sure it covers up the sides to protect the spillover of bacon grease, a two-centimeter height is quite enough.
  • Use an oven-safe cooling rack and place the rack in the center of the sheet pan.
  • Arrange the bacon on top of the rack evenly and spaciously in a way that they don’t overlap otherwise they will stick together while cooking.
  • Bake at 400°F (204°C) for 15 minutes, then carefully flip over and cook until the bacon is fully cooked, golden in color and crisp, about 8 to 10 minutes depending on the thickness.
  • Make sure to keep a close eye on the last few minutes because the bacon can go from crisp to burn.
  • Transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate to soak the excess oil from bacon to make it dry and crispy.
  • Save the excess bacon fat drained into the backing sheet, pour it into a mason jar (or another glass container) and store it in the fridge for other use. You can use it in cooking eggs, roasting vegetables, etc.

Notes:

  • Your baking time may differ. No two ovens bake at the same temperature, so probably you need to perfect yourself by experiencing a couple of times to find the right time/temperature that works for you.
  • Prevent oven splatters. Lay a layer of foil or parchment paper over the bacon; this will keep grease from spitting all over the oven.
  • Remove the foil for the last few minutes of cooking for the last stage of “final crisping.”

Jimmy Dotson

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