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Bacon Bits

Bacon Bits is a compendium of bacon tips

In the beginning there was meat...

Bacon began as a simple way to preserve fresh pork before humans invented refrigeration. Bacon itself dates back to over 1500 BC.

For more history of bacon visit Bacon History - Wikia writeup

Want to cook the perfect slice?

I've found there are two tried and true methods to cooking the perfect slice of bacon.

Bake your Bacon.

Everyones oven is different. Some people use micrwave convection ovens. Some folks have big stovetops. Hell, I've even done it in a dutch oven... Circumstances vary, so experiment until you find what works best for you.
  • Place your bacon flat in a glass casserole dish, evenly. Try not to overlap the bacon, unless you're making a bacon weave. If you are making a bacon weave use thinner cuts (like 18/22).
  • Place trey of bacon in a cold oven and set the temperature to 400 degrees (fahrenheit)
  • Check at 20 minutes, let cook longer if you want a desired crispiness. Some prefer their bacon meaty, some like it crispy.
  • If you're dealing with larger cuts of bacon you may want to consider baking it longer at a lower temperature.
  • In a preheated 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes (or 35 minutes if you have really thick bacon)
    • Use a wire rack if you prefer, preferably over a dish to catch the drippings.
    • Alternatively let it simmer in its own drippings without a wire rack.
  • Baked bacon is a method employed by many restaurants in preperation for "rush hour" breakfast traffic.
  • When you bake your bacon it comes out flat and evenly cooked every time.
  • Drain off the drippings to be reused for cooking later!

My preferred method is with a two inch deep glass baking dish. After the bacon is removed you're left with a dish of bacon drippings which can be reused as an ingredient in meals later. Let it cool a little and pour the bacon drippings into a glass mason jar and stick it in your fridge.

Bacon Drippings are a great substitute for cooking oils or even butter. It adds a slight smokey flavor to any dish.

How do I prevent frying pan splatter?
Bake your bacon... Or use one of these.

What's the difference between cured and uncured bacon?
Bacon by definition is cured meat from a pig. Uncured bacon is referred to as "Green Bacon".

How do you cure your own bacon?
The first step in curing your own is simple and requires the pork belly to be soaked in a brine for 3 days, turning over every 24 hours.

The second step is to dry your meat. About a half hour to an hour on each side should be sufficient.

The final step is to cold-smoke your meat six to eight hours, don't allow the temperature to go above 80 degrees.

What are the types and grades of bacon?
Bacon is usually smoked with a hard wood of some kind and is often available in either a slab or sliced form.

Slab Bacon is a smoked pork belly that has not been sliced. Some charcuteries will offer it with the rind on (Regular Slab) or the rind off (Derind Slab). Slab bacon allows a purchaser to save some cost and slice the product to his or her desired thickness.

Sliced Bacon Sliced bacon comes in a variety of thicknesses.

  • Thick-Sliced Bacon - Slices are about 1/4 of an inch thick. One pound (16 ounces) typically yields 12 to 16 slices. Many artisan or cottage-style industry bacons are thick sliced.
  • Regular-Sliced Bacon - Regular sliced bacon is usually about 1/16th of an inch thickness. One pound typically yields 18 to 22 slices of bacon.
  • Thin-Sliced Bacon - Usually 1/32nd of an inch in thickness, is commonly used in fast food or other places where cost and time is a factor. Thin sliced bacon typically yields 35 to 40 slices per pound.

Bacon comes in various regional styles and varies greatly:
Pancetta from Italy and Ventreche from France are also cured pork belly bacon products, but they're not smoked. They are often sold in unsliced rounds. You can unroll these rounds and cube the bacon to make what the French call "lardons". Lardons can be thought of as bacon croutons and are wonderful in salads (as in the classic Salad Lyonnaise), in casseroles, and as a decadent addition to Mac 'n' Cheese. Irish Bacon, or "Back Bacon", comes from the loin of the pig, not the belly. It is not as fat-rich as belly bacon, but it is still brined and thinly sliced for frying as traditional Bacon. Canadian Bacon is another Back Bacon, also produced from the loin of the pig. Similar in style to Irish Back Bacon, Canadian Bacon is famous for being the key ingredient in McDonald's Egg McMuffin. Traditional American Bacon is usually pre-sliced or in its original form as Slab Bacon. There are a variety of smoke flavors available, including Maple, Hickory and Applewood. Bacon is usually sold in cured form. Some manufacturers add artificial smoke flavor intead of actually smoking their bacon. That's not real bacon.

A "Rasher" of bacon is a single slice. A baconholic can never stop at just one piece though...