The Truth About Bacon


I have a confession: I rarely cook bacon.

I know, I know, I talk a lot of shit about bacon. And I stand by my oft-stated position that it lies among god’s greatest creations. I’m fully on board with the food blogosphere’s complete obsession with all things bacon. Whether it’s bacon salad, bacon cocktails, bacon wallets, or just plain bacon ridiculousness, I’m in. There’s something about this greasy, salty, over-the-top, wholly American food that is just so fun to blog about. But I have to admit, I blog bacon much more often than I actually eat it.

Growing up, bacon breakfasts were reserved for special occasions, or just a surprise best Sunday morning ever. Hence, bacon never made it into the roster of things that I regularly buy. Sure, I pass it in the supermarket all the time and have the urge to grab a pack or two of the good stuff, but I always feel it’s just too unhealthy to actually have bacon in my house and cook it every day. And don’t talk to me about turkey bacon, tofu bacon or tempeh bacon. NO.

So I generally reserve bacon consumption for eating out. Consequentially, I have become literarlly incapable of reading the word “bacon” on a menu and not ordering the encompassing item. My favorite diners and lunch spots might serve great burgers, salads, or pasta dishes, but I wouldn’t know, because I simply cannot pass up a good BLT.

But I’m thinking if I’m going to be a good food blogger, I really should know how to cook bacon dishes better myself. Not just bacon and eggs, but bacon-based french onion soup and all that good stuff. So my early New Years resolution is to cook more bacon. On that note, I have three questions for you all:

1- Do those of you who talk about bacon as much as I do really eat bacon as often as you talk about it, or are there other closet bacon fans out there, too embarrassed to admit that you actually only eat it once a month?

2-  Bacon cooking tips? I am embarrassed to admit I don’t even know how to cook bacon well!!! You might have noticed that in my only recent attempt too cook bacon (in this potato soup), the edges were unfortunately charred. How does one get that perfect crispy (not too crisp!) slice, without singing the edges?

3- What about the leftovers? Bacon is NOT single-person friendly. (Or friendly to people whose S.O.s live far away and/or are vegetarians). It’s sold in packs of 10 or 12 slices, and while I suppose I could cook up the whole thing for myself, this would undoubtedly be a bad idea for my arteries. But after I made my soup, for which I fried up three slices of bacon, I stuck the rest in the freezer. But now it’s just sitting there, nine slices stuck together, and I can’t take them out until I’m ready to make them all again. Is there a way to store bacon that makes it usable for singe-person-friendly meals?

Graph: XKCD

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  • Dave December 8, 2008  

    There was a cook’s illustrated tip one time for bacon storage that I always thought was pretty neat:
    take the individual slices of bacon, roll them up, and stick them in a ziploc freezer bag, and freeze. That way, you can pull out the amount of slices you need (since each slice will be a rolled-up nugget), and then thaw those instead of having to thaw a whole package.

  • BS December 8, 2008  

    genius! thanks, Dave. Cooks Ill always come through!

  • Mosley December 8, 2008  

    I stopped reading this post after “I have a confession: I rarely cook bacon.” Just kidding, but I was a little heart broken.

  • gansie December 8, 2008  

    i find it extremely difficult to cook bacon, esp b/c i’m so new at the endeavor. i think its easiest to cook it after its been diced up. but when i do cook it in slices i make sure to cook it on med heat and flip it a bunch of times.

    freezing: take plastic wrap and then put on slice of bacon on it, vertically, fold it over so its covered in wrap – repeat. so that way you can just unwrap the plastic to get each new slice. and the plastic wrap should be just as long as the bacon. and then throw the whole thing in a ziplock bag. make sense?

  • Alicia December 8, 2008  

    I divide up my package of bacon into ziploc baggies which I then freeze. I usually put 4 slices in a bag, as I am usually cooking for two. Two slices per bag is probably a good size for you. The baggies are also great because they defrost quickly.

    If you’re cooking bacon on the stove top, the trick is to use low heat and cook it slowly. Chow has a really good video on cooking bacon: You can also do it in the oven on a cookie sheet, but if you’re only cooking a little bit, it’s probably easier to do it on the stove.

  • Yvo December 8, 2008  

    Low heat is your friend. I talk about bacon very little (I THINK SO ANYWAY) but I cook it all the time.
    My brother in law keeps a pack (or multiple) in the freezer at a time, and as he needs it, he snips off some (while still frozen) with kitchen shears.
    Personally, I purchase bacon, and after I open it, stick hte open package flat into a gallon sandwich bag, seal it up with all the air pressed out, and put it in my veggie bin or cheese bin (depending on what else is in each; right now guanciale is in the cheese drawer, so the bacon is next to that). As I need it, I remove it; it lasts quite a while, a month or two. I’ll keep a package in the freezer as well.
    Now for cooking purposes, I like to cut it into small pieces (I fold a strip or two in half, then start snipping with the scissors) and pop them into my skillet over the lowest heat I can possibly get it to. Then I let it go for a long time, stirring occasionally as it starts smelling delicious… this renders a lot of fat, too, which you can pour off and reserve or use to cook, whatever you prefer.
    As for cooking it in whole strips, low heat is also very good, so you can watch it; I only flip once, because I’m anal retentive like that – I let it go until the top starts looking about right, then I flip.

    No worries, no judgments; when I was a kid, I loved bacon, and I would beg my mom to make it every weekend. But my mom would tell me to make it, which I hated: I would use the tallest possible pot she had (yes, a POT) because I was terrified of being splattered and I always messed it up. It took me a lot of cooking with bacon to get to this point (and a few months of bacon every Sunday… hmm that might explain my weight, eh?).
    Let me know if you have more questions or if I’ve been unclear 🙂 I would love to help you turn into a bacon cooking expert!
    Oh, and about it not being single-person friendly… dunno about that. While my boyfriend can and will eat 4 strips easily if he’s over and I make it, I cook with it a lot and I live alone 🙂

  • MonkeyBoy December 8, 2008  

    Most perfect ES suggestion ever…

    I’ve heard it said that it’s best to cook bacon in the nude. That way, you’re forced to keep the heat low so you don’t splatter yourself. Unless of course you like that sort of thing…

  • BS's Mom December 8, 2008  

    Bacon (a full fry in fact) was a weekly event when I was growing up; apologies BS for not doing the same for you but we were more health conscious by then and also had meat almost every day as opposed to weekly!

    Anyway, bacon can be microwaved by putting two sheets of paper towel on the plate; lay as many slices of bacon as will fit and put another paper towel over it. Cook for 2 minutes. Remove the soggy paper towels and repeat the process except you turn the bacon and this time cook for 1 minute. It’s crispy and it gets all the fat out – you’ll see.

    And aren’t we lucky we live in the U.S. as opposed to Ireland where all pork products in the entire country have been recalled because of high levels of something or other. Ouch.

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