Published on January 29th, 2014 | by Joe Lawler
How to cook bacon to perfection
A perfectly cooked piece of bacon is a wonder to briefly behold before cramming it into your food hole. But how do you get it cooked just right?
Jim Reis, 34, co-owner of the Des Moines Bacon Company, taught us how to get perfect bacon every time.
In a pan: When you’re cooking this way, you want to go with a quality bacon. Some bigger companies use a wet cure for bacon, which means extra water, which means extra grease splatter.
“I put it on a lower temperature, and depending on the thickness of the cut it probably takes 15 minutes to cook,” Reis said. “You don’t want to try to burn the fat off; let it render itself.”
Before you get the bacon cooked all the way where you want it, pull it off and let it cool. It will keep cooking for a bit after. That way you can avoid over-cooked bacon.
The oven: This is how Reis prefers to cook his bacon. He’ll put a cookie cooling rack on a cooking sheet and cover it with bacon. The fat drips off while it cooks and collects below the rack. Reis suggests 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees in the middle of the oven. If you’re cooking more than one tray, switch their positions midway through the cook.
“If I’m cooking more than three strips of bacon, I’ll do it this way,” Reis said. “An oven does a really nice job of cooking bacon.”
Deep frying: If you have access to a fryer, it’s a quick way to cook. Reis suggests a peanut oil or something else without much flavor, so that it doesn’t overpower the meat. Cook at a lower temperature (around 350) for four to five minutes.
“You can grab a little smoky or something and the bacon will tighten up nicely around it while it cooks,” Reis said. “If you’re making appetizers, or need to cook a lot of bacon really quickly, this is a good way to do it.
On the grill: You don’t have to make your place smell like bacon all day (but why wouldn’t you want that?). During the summer, Reis likes to cook his bacon on a grill.
Get a cast iron skillet and let it heat up in the grill. Make sure it has a high lip so that the grease doesn’t spill over onto the flames. You can either treat it like a skillet, or keep the lid closed and cook the bacon like it’s in your oven.