I have a love/hate relationship with bacon. It’s the perfect combination of crispy and salty. And I’m sorry, the turkey kind just doesn’t cut it. But why, oh why must it be so painful to prepare? Splatters on the stove and on your wrists, while you mutter words under your breath that you don’t want your kids to hear. Then you have a pan full of hot grease to dispose.
You could always try those “As Seen on TV” microwave bacon cookers – but I don’t know about you – it just seems doubly wrong to nuke something I know I shouldn’t be eating too much of anyway. And although I’ve never tried them, I don’t believe they work.
So finally, I asked the waitress at one of our family’s favorite pancake houses, how do they make their bacon? It always seems so crunchy and flat, not curled into the fetal position like the strips in my skillet at home. The answer? They bake it!
It took a few experiments to get the right temperature and timing – and you’ll probably fiddle around with it for your own oven – but it’s worth it. You just line a jelly roll pan (that’s the sheet with ½ inch sides) with a few layers of aluminum foil. Lay out the strips of bacon and bake – I do 375 degrees for about 15 minutes – and turn your fan on. Be careful taking the pan out of the oven. But then, just use forks or a tongs to lay the bacon on a paper-towel lined plate, and voila – beautiful bacon. After the pan cools a bit, fold up the foil and that’s pretty much all there is for clean up. The oven is amazingly splatter-free.
I’m feeling super under the weather today, and of course my kids asked for pancakes and bacon this morning. But baking the bacon made it much less onerous. This method is a great way to make bacon if you’re having guests over for breakfast or brunch. And on a hot day, guess what the leftover bacon is excellent for? BLTs for dinner! Another use for those killer backyard tomatoes!
Maria Balice is a public relations consultant who lives in Elmhurst with her husband and two adventurous-eating sons (well, sometimes.) Maria started cooking at age 10 under the tutelage of the best chef she knows, her Italian mom.