Oh, the agony of cooking and testing bacon...over and over again. We go through our fair share of bacon here, so we've become very familiar with it and happened to find our favourite way to cook it. While developing the delectable gourmet BLT for our June issue, we discovered the joy of grilling bacon on the BBQ and thought we'd share. Plus, we've included three other cooking techniques and our best bacon recipes.
Also see: How to make a perfect 'French' omelette
On the grill: Bacon cooked on the BBQ has a slight smokiness as the grill is able to hold
the bacon in position, resulting in flat, crispy bacon. For best results,
preheat the BBQ to medium. Take the chill off your bacon by letting it
sit at room temperature for 10 to 15 min. When grill is hot, lay bacon
on the grill making sure the slices do not touch. I recommend cooking no
more than six strips at a time to reduce the amount of fat rendered into
the BBQ at one time. Cook the bacon until the bottom has begun to get
crisp and golden, then flip and repeat. Total cooking time will be
between 5-7 minutes. As is the case with anything, the better the
product, the better the result. Bacon from your butcher will be cut slightly thicker which is ideal for the BBQ. It will take slightly
longer to cook but it's worth it.
Try it: These recipes work well on the grill: Gourmet BLT, the new classic burger.
Pan fry: There is no great mystery to frying bacon. There is, however, the guaranteed splatter-y mess. When pan-frying bacon, use a non-stick frying pan to keep the bacon from sticking and to make your cleanup easier. Put as many slices in your pan as you can without crowding - the slices shouldn't touch. Keep the heat at medium and cook the bacon until the bottom starts to turn golden, then flip. Repeat this process until your desired crispiness. Transfer slices to a paper-towel lined plate to blot off any extra grease. Pan frying often results in unevenly cooked bacon and a lot of mess. But if you are only cooking a few strips of bacon then pan frying may be a good option. Otherwise, keep reading.
Try it: Pan-fry it for this sandwich: Modern BLT with white-bean-wasabi hummus.
Also see: Friday night BBQ party menu
Microwave: If you are in a rush, the microwave is a good, quick way to cook bacon with very little mess - and you don't need to get the prepackaged, partially-cooked microwaveable bacon (held at room temperature?). The texture of microwaved bacon - while still crisp - is slightly tougher than properly cooked bacon, but it is a more than acceptable alternative if you are craving a midday BLT (guilty). To cook bacon this way, you will need a microwave that has a rotating turntable. Lay 3 or 4 sheets of paper towel on a microwave-safe dish. Lay your strips of bacon on the paper towel. The strips shouldn't touch or hang over the edge of the dish. Top bacon with another sheet of paper towel. Cook on high for between 1 and 1 1/2 minutes per strip of bacon. Each microwave varies in power so keep a close eye on it and take care when removing it from the microwave...it will be hot, hot, hot!
Oven-baked: I grew up with a mother who only oven-baked her bacon, so I suppose I was lucky to always enjoying it perfectly cooked. Baking bacon is the best way to get evenly cooked, flat bacon and you can cook it in large batches with minimal mess. Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment, which will save you from extra pan scrubbing later on. Load the pan with a single layer of bacon strips. You can typically get almost a full 454g on one sheet. Bake in the center of the oven for between 15-20 minutes. Check the bacon occasionally to see if you need to rotate your pan. There are two schools of thought on flipping vs. not: personally, I'm a flipper which I do at the half-way point. When bacon is at desired crispiness, transfer slices to a paper towel-lined plate to blot of excess grease, then enjoy...and boy you will!
Try it: Planning a big summer breakfast? Enjoy your bacon with some of these recipes: Spicy strawberry jelly, sunny-side up tart, cinnamon raisin swirl bread.
Also see: 12 ways to pair your food with coffee
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