A clever technique for home cooks to crisp bacon and rein in spatter in one fell swoop, oven baked bacon is so easy and takes all the messiness out of frying bacon at home.
SoupAddict loves the Interwebs for many reasons, including the ability to connect with people who are much smarter than she. Despite the fact that SoupAddict regularly prepares bacon for various dishes, including soups and sandwiches, it has never once crossed her soup-addled mind to put the bacon in the oven. It’s enough to make SoupAddict kick herself in the bee-hind with her heel.
Then, SoupAddict read this blog, where the thing with the bacon in the oven was mentioned (about a third of the way down), and SoupAddict ran to her kitchen, squealing like a school girl, and grabbed a pan and some bacon, and lo and behold, a half hour later, there was !bacon!, crisp and perfect, and angels sang and puppies frolicked and butterflies swarmed. SoupAddict’s kitchen smelled wonderful, and SoupAddict happily ate all three slices.
The whole exercise also brought to SoupAddict’s mind some distant memory of bacon dredged in flour, which spurred SoupAddict to squeal and make another batch of !bacon! (same angelic, puppic and butterflyly activities), only coated in flour and spices. SoupAddict’s house smelled like bacon for hours, and SoupAddict happily ate all three slices of delicious pepper-crisped bacon.
But then, when everything was said and done, SoupAddict got the best surprise of all, which you’ll have to wait until the end of the post to learn about. (For those of you who don’t watch news on TV, this technique is called a “teaser,” which is unofficially defined as a completely unnecessary delay in the sharing of knowledge for the purpose of manipulating the viewing audience into doing what they’re likely to forget they were the slightest bit interested in doing 5 seconds later anyway. Hm, what were we talking about?)
Okay. First, add flour or corn meal to a big plate. Then grind lots of fresh black pepper and stir, if you’re a fresh pepper kind of person. You can also add a sprinkle of garlic powder or onion powder. Or brush the bacon strips with maple syrup first. Really, anything that sounds good.
Cover a rimmed pan completely with foil. Here, SoupAddict is exhibiting some latent OCD traits by fashioning a sort of drainage ditch, which will allow the bacon grease to drain down the center of the pan out to the edges. Not required, unless you are similarly latently OCD’ed. (Or, even easier, just lay an oven-proof cooling rack in the foil-covered pan, and place the bacon on the rack.)
Lay a slice of bacon into the flour mixture; then flip over. No need to really dredge the slice: you don’t want a breaded coating, just a dusting.
SoupAddict’s right hand wasn’t doing anything particularly useful, so she put it work. Two-fisted bacon coating action!
You can see that the slices are not thickly coated – just dusted – with flour.
Arrange the slices on the pan. If you’re baking the entire pound, just scootch the slices closer together. Baked bacon holds its straight shape wonderfully with minimal curling.
10 minutes in: the fat is only just starting to render. But the kitchen is definitely starting to smell divine.
20 minutes in: now we’re talkin’. The bacon is browning and juicing up nicely.
The tong test reveals a slice that is only slightly bendy. If you like bacon that’s just short of crisp, this slice is for you. Here … take it. Go on, take it. Well, alright, if you’re going to be that way, then it’ll just go back on the pan.
25 minutes in: the slices have produced the familiar fat foam, which indicates to SoupAddict that they’re done to her bacon-lovin’ tastes.
SoupAddict likes her bacon crispy, and not one little bit blackened (except for the black pepper flakes, which are black). Perfectly browned, with a snap! when you bend it.
Blot with paper towels. Is there a piece in there that’s significantly shorter than the others? Why, SoupAddict has no idea [crunch] what you’re talking about [nom nom nom].
Now to the teaser. Why the foil, you might ask? You’re used to scrubbing out the bacon skillet, so what’s the big deal with the pan? SoupAddict will tell you. Pay attention. This could be complicated. It’s nothing like cleaning a grease-burned skillet. No, sir. This is a secret passed from generation to generation, now shared with you:
Pull up all the edges of the foil rectangle, untucking them from the pan edges if you tucked them under.
Gather up the edges to form a pouch, like a drawstring bag, being careful not to tip the bundle over.
Gently twist the top half to seal everything in. Open garbage can lid. Drop in grease packet. Put spotless pan away. Go eat some bacon.
Didja get all that? Yeah. SoupAddict thought you would.
- flour or corn meal, enough to cover a plate or small pan
- freshly ground black pepper
- bacon, pork or turkey
- Pre-heat oven to 350°
- Lightly dredge bacon slice through flour, then repeat on other side. Arrange on foil-covered, rimmed baking pan. Repeat with remaining slices.
- Bake for 20-30 minutes, until the slices reach desired crispness. Transfer to plate and blot with paper towels.