Monday, September 2, 2013

Perfect Bacon and Awesome Tips!

At a Food Blogger's Conference, I attended a few years ago, I sat through a food writing workshop. One of the adjectives that we were told to eliminate, when describing a recipe, is "awesome". I'm breaking that rule, because I'm sharing two awesome kitchen tips that I use for storing bacon, and for making awesome bacon.

Tip #1: My boys prefer thick-cut Applewood Smoked Bacon.  Whenever I stock up, at Costco, I buy their bacon. When I arrive home,  I roll out a long piece of plastic wrap.  I set a slice of bacon on top, and roll it over once, then add another slice and roll it over...well, you get the picture.  What I end up with is a layer of individual slices, with plastic wrap.  I put that rolled up bacon slices in to a Zip Loc bag and place it in the freezer.

There's a method to my madness, with taking the time to do this.  For one, once I open a package of bacon, I'm risking that it will go "bad" if I don't use it all at once. 
In addition, when I need one slice, (or multiple slices of bacon) I simply unwrap my frozen package and pull off a slice.

Sometimes, I slip a dull knife in between slices, and that usually gets the party started. There! One slice of bacon.  When I make breakfast potatoes, or any kind of recipe that needs "lardons" (basically thin slices of bacon), I find that frozen bacon is much easier to slice. 

TIP #2:  My preferred method for preparing bacon slices isn't in the microwave, or by frying it.  (Though, I will use my cast-iron skillet to make crispy bacon for crumbling into a recipe.) I've been baking/roasting  bacon slices, for several years. I like this method best, because the bacon doesn't become soggy, as it cooks in the fat that it has rendered.  I use a baking sheet, coated with foil, and a wire cooling rack placed on top. 

As an added flavor bonus,  I make Candied Bacon (Brown sugar bacon) which has become a favorite breakfast treat, with my men.  I simply dip bacon slices into brown sugar, and coat them on both sides, before placing them on the wire cooling rack. The only drawback, is that the rack can take a bit of elbow grease to clean.

My clever friends at "America's Test Kitchen" shared a tip that I had to test for myself.  Instead of using a wire cooling rack, I used heavy duty aluminum foil, folded it to fit the width of my foil-covered baking rack. I folded the heavy duty aluminum foil into approximately 1-1/2" folds, to resemble a fan.

Because my Big Boys love bacon, I figured I needed to make at least 12 slices. I was able to fit the frozen bacon over the folds, even though the slices overlapped a bit.  You might be wondering what the advantage is by

I generously sprinkled brown sugar all over the frozen bacon, and then inserted the rack into a 400F oven.

Baking time varies, of course. America's Test Kitchen recommends about 10-12 minutes total.  Because I used thick-cut, frozen bacon, the total cooking time was closer to 24 minutes.  My boys like their bacon to be more of the soft and chewy side. I like for my bacon to be more on the crispy side. 

Once I removed their share of bacon, and placed it on a paper towel-lined plate I returned the bacon to the oven, and broiled the slices for a few minutes, keeping a close eye on them. (The brown sugar can burn very quickly and set off the smoke alarm-- which gave my son a rude awakening that mom was making breakfast.)

The cleanup is easy!
Crunch, together, the foil (once the fat has cooled)...

...and toss.  Done.

 Here's the video, from America's Test Kitchen, though I've adapted the method by using heavy foil (which they don't mention) and adding brown sugar.  (A printable recipe card is at the end of this post.)

Here's the recipe card:

Other than the smoke alarm going off, I had two happy men.  I ate two slices, and they ate the rest.  The brown sugar gives an addiction sweet and salty flavor that is irresistible.


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Patty said...

Will you prepare my breakfast tomorrow morning? I'll do buttermilk pancakes just for you!
Bug hug! Patty

bellini said...

I like all of your tips Debby. I tend to buy only small portions of bacon because I love it so. When it is gone it is gone and not waiting for me in the freezer. I can't resist it.

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

Great tips Debbie, especially the one with no clean up from cooking the bacon. Bacon is always a winner in our house. I'm sure my husband would really go for the brown sugar version.

Lisa at Fresh Eggs Daily said...

Love this. Great tips and so easy!

Bill said...

Love bacon and this one looks delicious! Sweet and salty is my favorite combination. Great post!

Kate said...

Great tips! I am always racing to finish up the package of bacon...your freezing tip would help..At a special breakfast, we had some bacon that had been baked. It was delicious. Baking makes it so much easier to prepare for a crowd.

Cathy at Wives with Knives said...

Great bacon tips, Debby. I prefer the oven method too. It's the only way to go when I have a group for breakfast. I haven't tried the brown sugar yet but am very sure I will love it. There is nothing like the smell of bacon cooking.

Kim (Feed Me, Seymour) said...

I love this! I'm definitely the person that cooks an entire package of bacon in one sitting only because I fear wasting it. So this tip is great!

Christine said...

This is the BEST tip because so often after buying bacon, my conscience says "naughty girl" and then the meat languishes in the fridge. BTW, your sunny side up eggs and I would get along very well :)

Kim said...

I love roasting my bacon in the oven as well. I don't have enough wire racks to make enough bacon though so I REALLY LOVE your tip about using heavy duty aluminum wrap. Will try! Plus, it will be so much easier to clean :)

Jan said...

Love your tips on wrapping the bacon for freezer! I don't eat alot of it and it was going bad quickly. I notice it's also harder to find the maple flavored bacon so your brown sugar idea was super! I've been baking my bacon for awhile now and I place it in cold oven on foil, set to 350F and when oven reaches temp, set timer for 20 mins. Perfect every time! Keep those great tips coming Debbie! jan

Velva said...

Great advice. I buy Costco bacon too, and usually freeze one package. I like how you rolled the bacon in plastic wrap, I will do the same next time.


Karen said...

Great tips and no greasy, messy frying pan.

Cedarglen said...

Great tips, especially about the single slice wrapping. As for baking bacon, that's been my go-to for years. I'm surprised that more folks don't use it. I do mine on a half-sheet or quarter-sheet baking pan lined with foil; the dripping can be retained if desired and clean up in a breeze. I had to shop a bit, but I finally found cooling/drip racks to fit both pans and that fit my dishwasher. (With a very few exceptions, if it won't fit the dishwasher, I don't want it!)
Great post Debbie!