How to Cook Bacon
Fry it, bake it, or microwave it. Whatever cooking method you choose, count on crispy, full-flavor strips of bacon for breakfast with eggs, for lunch on a BLT, or for dinner in a hearty salad.
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Frying Bacon on the Stove Top
Place bacon slices in an unheated skillet (if using an electric range, preheat the element for 2 to 4 minutes). Cook over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes or until desired doneness, turning occasionally. If bacon browns too quickly, reduce heat slightly. Drain well on paper towels.
Tip: Try using a cast-iron bacon press to place atop the bacon while cooking. This helps the bacon cook evenly and more quickly and also minimizes shrinkage. To cut down on splattered grease when frying bacon, consider an inexpensive splatter screen to top your skillet.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Place bacon slices side by side on a rack in a foil-lined shallow baking pan with sides. Bake for 18 to 21 minutes or until crisp-cooked. Drain well on paper towels.
Tip: This method works well when cooking more than six strips of bacon or when you need to free up space on your stove top. Baking bacon also requires less attention during cooking, since no turning is needed.
Place bacon slices on a microwave-safe rack or a plate lined with microwave-safe paper towels. Cover with a paper towel. Microwave on 100 percent power (high) to desired doneness, rearranging bacon once. Allow 1 1/2 to 2 minutes for two slices, 2 1/2 to 3 minutes for four slices, and 3 1/2 to 4 minutes for six slices.
Tip: Choose this method if time is an issue. The cooking time is short, and cleanup is easy.
Buying and Storing Bacon
American bacon usually comes from the pork belly with streaks of fat running through it, and it is cured and smoked. For crisper bacon, buy a thinner cut. Thinner slices take less time to cook so they get crispy before any burning occurs. Take a peek at the bacon through the packaging to see the fat-to-meat ratio so you can determine the ratio you desire. Also, check the expiration date on the package before purchasing to make sure the bacon is fresh. You can also buy bacon from the butcher or meat counter in some markets. Once you open the bacon package, keep the bacon tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to one week. To freeze, you may want to divide the bacon into portions of four to six slices and place in freezer bags. Freeze these portions for up to one month and thaw in the refrigerator before using.