Men should know how to cook – Period. I’m not talking about making little dainty cucumber, bean sprout finger sandwiches that go fabulously with grandma’s tea. I’m talking about big slabs of meat with tons of fat, hopefully cooked using some sort of open flame and served with an alcoholic beverage (Alcoholic beverage = beer or whisky. No exceptions). With this in mind, I wanted to try a new series on the Man Institute: Man Food! While I was brainstorming which food episode 1 would cover, it became apparent right away that it needed to be How to Cook Bacon.
What’s the Best Way to Cook Bacon
OK, there are several decent ways of cooking bacon. Choosing the one you like best will depend on what you have available, how much time you have and how lazy you are. If you want the best tasting bacon you can get – stove-top with a cast iron skillet. If you are a lazy sack of crap and just need some bacony flavor to get you going today – oven in a skillet. If you’re in a hurry and need bacon to go – microwave.
Tip: Bacon goes well with all other meats. Try wrapping things in it as well as adding it into ground meats. See: The Bacon Explosion.
The more bacon in a food – the manlier it is.
How to Cook Bacon in a Cast Iron Skillet
This is the best way of cooking bacon. Cast iron is manly. It will break anything it lands on if dropped and doesn’t need to be washed after use. In fact – washing a cast iron skillet ruins it – consider cooking bacon as cleaning your skillet. It also cooks the most crispy, delicious bacon and the bacon grease helps to maintain your skillet.
First, pull out your bacon and allow it to come to room temperature. This is something you should do with all meat before cooking it – especially when barbecuing.
Now lay the strips of bacon in your skillet. They should not be overlapping.
Place the skillet on the stove and turn it to medium-low heat. Do Not heat the skillet before adding the bacon! I know you want to crank it up to high like everything else you cook but trust me. When you cook bacon at a lower temperature, it renders the fat more slowly allowing for a more delicious final product.
Flipping the bacon multiple times or moving it within the skillet is encouraged. This is the best way to ensure you don’t burn anything and it gives you an even cook.
DO NOT DRAIN ANY GREASE WHILE COOKING YOUR BACON!
Why you need the grease:
You don’t cook bacon. Bacon grease cooks bacon. Think of it as deep-frying your bacon in liquid bacon. If you drain the grease, you may as well just make turkey bacon. Man the hell up.
Once the bacon is done to your liking, remove it from the pan and place it on some paper towels on a plate. If you’re doing multiple batches, you can turn your oven on to its lowest setting and place the plate in there to keep it warm, just watch out for over-cooking.
Lastly – pour your delicious bacon grease through a sieve into a mason jar and store it in the fridge for later use.
How to Cook Bacon in the Oven
The cast iron skillet on your stove-top truly is the best way to cook bacon. Cooking bacon in the oven should only be attempted if you are making a monster of a breakfast or are too damn lazy to stand over the stove for a few minutes. That said, you can still cook moderately good bacon using this method.
Take out your cast iron skillet, a glass baking dish or cookie sheet.
Place bacon on said skillet/dish/sheet. Make sure it isn’t overlapping.
Place the skillet/dish/sheet in your oven.
Heat your oven to 400°. This is that slow fat rendering thing again. Don’t heat your oven before this point – you’re already slacking off by doing it in the oven; a couple extra minutes won’t kill you.
Walk away. Come back in 20 minutes and see where you’re at. You should notice the bacon sizzling away in a big puddle of grease. Again, do not drain it! Flip the bacon here if it is not yet finished.
Once the bacon is cooked to your liking, do the same as the stove-top method: place the bacon on a plate lined with paper towel. Pour the grease into your mason jar through a sieve and save it.
How to Cook Bacon in the Microwave
Hopefully, if you are opting for this method, you have woken up late for work but are too manly to leave the house without your daily dose of bacon. You should only have 10 minutes until you need to leave and it should be a day that you cannot be late (because it is more important to cook bacon properly than it is to be on time for work).
Take a glass baking dish.
Line the bottom with paper towel. I know that in the above methods I’ve preached how important it is to let the bacon drown in a puddle of it’s own fat, but the microwave is a bit different. It does not allow for that nice slow rendering of the fat and the bacon is cooked by the microwave, not the liquid bacon deliciousness.
Place your strips of bacon in the dish – as always they should not be overlapping.
Line the top of the bacon with paper towel – this will stop you from making a huge mess of your microwave.
Heat the bacon on high for about 3 minutes. Check the bacon to see if it’s done. Microwaves vary so you’ll need to figure out the exact cook time for yourself.
Take your bacon and run. Eat it in the car on your way to work. Dream of the bacon you could have had if you had only gotten out of bed ten minutes sooner.
What’s the Best Way to Cook Bacon?
The best way to cook bacon is in a cast iron skillet on the stove. The oven does a pretty good job, and even looks a bit better once finished, but tastes nowhere near as good. The microwave method is for convenience only. The bacon doesn’t look good and is tough. It also loses all that grease which is pure bacon flavor.
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