I have tried to bake bacon before but it has never really worked. I narrowed the cause down to two possible choices: A) bad instructions or B) store bought bacon. In the end I really think it was B. Mostly because the first recipe I tried was from Ina Garten (and she can do no wrong) and I had never used “real” bacon.
So when I purchased this fabulous cookbook recently I thought I would try it again using Oxbow bacon. mmmmmm, bacon.
I had this post swirling around in my head, however because some lovely ladies came to the farm store yesterday and bought some bacon, I thought this was the perfect time to use it for a Food Wednesday post.
To cook bacon this way is very easy, very clean (as in no splattering on your stove) and great for a crowd because you can cook a lot at once.
1. Heat your oven to 400 degrees
2. place a cookie cooling rack on a rimmed cookie sheet. The rack’s legs can be folded. Optional-place a layer of tinfoil on the cookie sheet for easier clean up.
3. Take your bacon and place it on the cooling rack. This is so the bacon does not sit in it’s own grease while cooking.
4. Bake for 10-12 minutes depending on how dark and crispy you like your bacon and how thick it is.
5. Just before the bacon is done cooking, you can take it out and brush on some maple syrup, extra salt or another spice of your choice on both sides. (maybe something spicy) Then place it back in the oven for a minute or two.
Voila! baked bacon.
I say in the instructions above that the tinfoil is optional. I have used tinfoil but unless you place it all the way over the rim of the pan, the bacon grease is going to get underneath it anyway. Also, I felt bad about using tinfoil when it is not entirely necessary. Now, I either just empty the pan into my grease jar, or wait until it has cooled and scrape it into the garbage. Don’t forget to wash your cooling rack too.
Like a true test kitchen, I have made many batches in order to figure out if my family likes the bacon crispy or not.
In the end, it turns out that my family will eat bacon no matter what way it is cooked.
Have you tried baking bacon? Let us know how it turns out!
It was brought to my attention by fellow farmer, Bill Fosher of Edgefield Farm that bacon fat should never really be thrown out. I thought about this as I wrote this post but felt that my audience would be “grossed out” by the fact that this bacon fat can be saved. Maybe I am not giving my readers enough credit on what they will or will not like or try.
Bacon fat can be used when frying chicken or sauteing vegetables. You can also add a bit when frying an egg and as Bill notes, it is perfect for seasoning your cast iron pans. Don’t be scared to try it. Think about how natural ingredient is. It is what your great-great Grandmother probably used and I bet she didn’t have high cholesterol issues. If you manage to save enough bacon fat, you can use it in exchange for shortening (shutter) or butter when making pie crusts. I have done this. The crust does have a mild smokey bacon flavor which would work well for Quiche or meat pie, but maybe not for apple pie. But then again, maybe you would like the taste. Just make sure that it is clean grease, meaning it doesn’t have any charred bits of food left in it. You can strain it while it is still warm and in a liquid form just to be safe.
Happy bacon grease eating!