Bacon! It's hard to find someone who doesn't like bacon and there are so many ways to use it … whether that's eating it straight up or using it as a recipe ingredient or garnish!
As many ways as there are to eat bacon, there are just as many ways to cook it. Ultimately, I fall in the camp of "Just cook it already so it can get in my belly!" But in my quest to simplify the cooking and get great results every time, I have to admit that I do indeed have a favorite way … and that is, to bake it.
Benefits of baking bacon
Most who know me, would be surprised to learn that cooking it in a cast iron skillet isn't my preferred method! My experience has been, however, that parts of the bacon strips get really cooked and crispy and other parts are just lank. Not my idea of "great result". Additionally, more strips of bacon fit on a baking sheet than fit in a skillet so there's the whole efficiency factor, too.
I turn the oven on to 400° when I start putting the bacon on the baking sheet. Usually, I can fit a pound of bacon on a sheet because I place them rather close together. I can co that because of the way the bacon shrinks as it cooks. As soon as I have all the bacon laid on the baking sheet, I put it in the oven, even before the oven is fully heated. Putting fresh bacon in a hot pan or hot oven causes the bacon to seize up and curl. That's not the end of the world, but if you want the slices to remain flat, this is how you do it.
I buy a thick-sliced, uncured, heritage pork bacon and leave it in about 20 minutes. Look at that beautiful bacon. Crispy, chewy, brown … perfect. You can flip it over at about 12 minutes, but I rarely do … especially if I'm busy making the rest of breakfast or a recipe. Remove from the pan with a pair of tongs and place on paper towels on a platter.
Cured or uncured bacon?
Now let's talk just a bit about cured versus uncured bacon. I buy uncured because it only has salt as the preservative and not the "pink salt" that also has nitrites and/or nitrates used as preservatives. Not only do nitrites and nitrates have negative health effects, but the pink salt is pink because is dyed. That's too many negative things so I'll stick with uncured!
What to do with the bacon fat?
Save it to use in other ways … like cooking eggs, sauteeing vegetables, or making homemade tortillas. I love this bacon grease keeper than my son bought me because it has a nice strainer to keep all the bits out.
Pro Tip for cleaning that baking sheet:
Seriously, folks, I thought this would be a deal breaker on this method, but I found that if I run really hot water on the baking sheet after it has cooled, it melts most of the bits right off! Then I use a dish brush to get the rest and of course, dish soap to make sure all the grease is washed away.
Other recipes you might like:
- Bacon Jalapeno Poppers
- Shakshuka | Eggs in Spicy Tomato Sauce
- German Potato Salad
- Gluten-free Cranberry Orange Muffins
Bacon | Baked & Fool-Proof
- 1 pound of uncured thick-sliced bacon
- 1 large baking sheet
- Start heating oven to 400°F. Place the bacon strips close together on the baking sheet and put the baking sheet immediately into the oven even before the oven is completely heated.
- Bake 20 minutes, turning the slices over after about 12 minutes, if desired. Remove from the pan with a pair of tongs and place on paper towels on a platter.
- Save the grease to use in other ways … like cooking eggs, sauteeing vegetables, or making tortillas.