Cooking at Home: Bacon in the Oven

Not long ago I curiously watched my sister fry bacon in a pan on the stove. She laid down several strips at a time, turning each one over until crispy, and trying to not get splattered by all the bacon fat rendered in the pan. When the strips were done she moved them to a paper towel-covered plate, and then repeated the entire process two more times; the entire endeavor took about 30 minutes (and left her stove top a mess). All this for one package of bacon.

Not wanting to be Miz Know-It-All, I did not utter a word about the bacon frying. I did not say, “Wait, wait…there’s a much better way to do that! Let me show you!”

You may be asking, “Why would I cook bacon in the oven?” Here’s why:
1. It’s so much easier.
2. It’s so much quicker.
3. The bacon is cooked more evenly, and you only need to turn it once.
4. You don’t have to sit and watch it cook.
5. It leaves much less to clean up.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with foil. I like to use the Heavy Duty foil because it’s thicker and larger, and completely covers up the baking sheet.

Line pan with foil

Lay bacon strips out on the baking sheet; overlapping is okay. I usually buy the 12 oz. package of center-cut bacon, and this somehow fits perfectly. If you have more bacon to cook, you could also do the same using two medium-sized baking sheets.

Lay down your bacon

Cook bacon for 9-12 minutes, until it has decreased a little in size and has rendered fat onto the baking sheet. Open the oven, then slowly and carefully pull the oven rack out (you do NOT want to splash sizzling bacon grease onto your hand!) and then using long tongs, turn each bacon strip over. Return rack to its original position, and keep baking for another 5-10 minutes, keeping an eye on how cooked the bacon is.

Depending on the bacon’s thickness, how much fat is rendered, and the heat of your oven, total cooking time could be from 15-20 minutes. After doing this a few times, especially if you always use the same kind of bacon, you’ll have a better idea of how long it takes to cook the bacon to your desired level of crispness.

Getting crispy

Once the bacon is cooked, turn off the oven, and move the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate. Again, careful of the super hot oven grease. (I say this because my former massage therapist burned the skin off her hand when she moved the frying pan too quickly and the sizzling bacon grease splashed over her hand. Terrible!)

I usually leave the pan in the oven and let the grease cool and coagulate — this makes clean-up a breeze. I just remove the foil and dispose of it, and my baking sheet is still totally clean.

And on the fourth day, God made bacon.If you are still frying bacon, try this method. You’ll never go back, I swear. Because bacon.

 

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