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How to Cook Bacon

It’s easy to fry bacon like our grandmothers did.  They put bacon slices in black iron skillets and fried it until it was done. Now, detailed directions are printed on packages:  place bacon slices in a single layer in an unheated skillet.  Cook on medium heat 8-10 minutes or to desired crispness, turning occasionally. 

            You might follow the microwave directions.  Line a microwavable plate with three layers of paper towels.  Lay bacon slices in a single layer on the towels and cover with another towel.  Microwave about one minute per slice, depending on desired doneness. 

            What if you want to cook a lot of bacon? Bake it in the oven. Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a large baking sheet with foil. Place bacon slices in a single layer on the baking sheet.  Bake until desired crispness, 15 to 25 minutes. 

            I’ve used all three methods and there are pros and cons. Bacon is crispier when fried the old-fashioned way in a skillet.  To get good bacon drippings for a mess of fresh green beans or to grease a black skillet to bake cornbread, fry bacon.  But frying makes a mess; the grease splatters everywhere. 

            A slice of bacon never gets done evenly in the microwave.  It’s hard to know how long to cook it because some slices are thinner, some thicker, and microwaves are different.  A friend owns a pan especially made for cooking bacon in the microwave and she swears by it.

            I bake bacon if I need more than a few slices.  About thirty years ago when I worked in the kitchen at a boys’ summer camp, I learned to bake it. It takes a lot of bacon to feed 100 boys!  After cleaning up after supper, we kitchen help filled huge pans, the size that fits inside industrial ovens, with over 300 bacon slices.  The next morning, we put the pans in cold ovens and turned the oven temperature to 400°FThe bacon cooked while Mrs. White mixed, rolled, and cut out biscuits, and the rest of us cracked eggs to be scrambled and got out fruit, jelly, and juice.  By then, the bacon would be done. 

            A few years ago, Husband helped at a fund-raiser pancake breakfast and learned a different way to cook bacon.  Drop slices in a big kettle of hot grease.  No doubt that works well if you’re outside and have a long-handled scooper.

            I’m told that bacon cooked in an air fryer is the best ever. “Crunchy outside, chewy inside, dark around the edges…just perfect!” an ad reads.  When I get an air fryer, I’ll try it.

            I was inspired to write this column when I read that spiral twisted bacon cooks best and I saw a recipe for bacon roses, but I got side-tracked thinking of the many ways to cook one of my favorite meats.  Next Wednesday, I’ll write about spiral bacon and bacon roses. Be sure you have brown sugar on hand.

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