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Bacon is Mighty Good Eating

Bacon doesn’t have to be cooked in long, flat slices.  Twist it, roll it, or fold it.  

            Bacon spirals are the all the rage, according to some online sources, and they are simple to make.  Preheat the oven to 350º or 375ºF and line a baking sheet, that has sides, with aluminum foil.  Spray the foil with a cooking spray.  Twist each piece of bacon a few times and place it on baking sheet.  Bake about 30 minutes until the bacon is browned and crisp enough to hold its shape. 

            Because the bacon is twisted, many slices can be baked on one pan.  To make Spiced Bacon Twists, coat slices with a mixture of brown sugar, mustard powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cayenne pepper.    

            While reading online about bacon spirals, an advertisement for bacon roses popped up.  A half-dozen bacon roses in a vase is $45.00 and a dozen in a loose bouquet is available for $66.00.  Prices don’t include tax and shipping.  There are special offers for Father’s Day gifts, and the ad boasts that bacon roses were popular gifts for Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day.

            What’s a bacon rose?  A bacon slice rolled tightly and topped with brown sugar.  You can make this special gift.  Thread a toothpick through a bacon strip at one end, then roll up tightly about one-third of the way.  Twist the bacon strip clockwise to form points for rose petals.  Secure the bottom of the rolled bacon with two crisscrossed toothpicks so the rose will stand up. 

            Place bacon roses on a foil-lined baking pan with sides or in a muffin tin. Sprinkle each rose with a pinch of brown sugar and bake about 20 minutes in a 400 ºF oven.  Cool, remove the toothpicks, and stick a skewer into the bottom of each rose so it looks like a rose on a stem.  Your cost will be much less than $66.00 per dozen.

            Bacon roses aren’t as delicious as Special Oven Bacon, a tried-and-true recipe. Lay thick bacon slices, cut in half, on a broiling pan or a baking pan. Sprinkle a mixture of ¾ cup brown sugar and one heaping tablespoon flour over the bacon.  Then sprinkle with ½ cup finely chopped pecans and bake at 350º F for thirty minutes. 

            Have you tried folded bacon?  When my friend served really thick short slices of bacon, I learned a new way to cook it.  Fold a slice in half, end to end, and then cook your favorite way – fried in a black skillet, baked in the oven, or microwaved.  Folded bacon cooks evenly and the perfect size for a BLT, and it’s easy – much too easy – to pick up for a mid-morning snack.

            I baked a whole pan of bacon – some twisted, some rolled, some folded.  No matter the shape, crispy bacon is mighty good eating.  As long as it’s ‘pig bacon,’ as my Grand said when he was 5, and not turkey bacon that his mother sometimes served.

P. S. Because I made only 4 roses, I baked them in ramekins.

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.