This week’s blog is from Laurie Loftin, a conflicted eater
After years of avoiding the traditional, best-known meats (think pork, beef, and poultry), I decided I could no longer withstand the calling of bacon*. If you have ever smelled bacon cooking, you grasp the “why” of this decision. I resolved to add this meat candy back into the rotation of my potential menu selections circa 2005. Note that this was just before the boom in the bacon craze, which has brought us such novelty items as bacon band-aids, bacon ties, bacon toothpaste, and bacon incense.
I do want to clarify something very important. I won’t eat just any bacon. It has to be crispy. And I mean CRISPY. If you drop it on the floor, it should break. If it droops in the middle when you hold it, send it back for more cooking – it is raw.
I recently discovered The Perfect Way to Cook Crispy Bacon (TPW2CCB). An added bonus is that this method makes clean-up a cinch, but we will get to that…
What You Need:
- 1 pack of bacon in your preferred cut, smokiness, and sodium level
- Parchment Paper
- Baking Dish
- Paper Towels
- Pre-heat your oven to 400°F. I am sure if you found this blog, you know how to turn on your oven and adjust the racks as needed. Do it just like that.
- Line your baking dish with parchment paper. Use enough to cover up the sides, too.
- Lay bacon on parchment paper in a single layer. I fold mine in half. No particular reason other than I can fit more bacon in at one time.
- Bake the bacon. Put it in the oven and let it cook for at least thirty minutes, turning it over half way through cooking time. Depending on your desired crispiness level, you can pull it out now or let it cook a little longer. I usually go another 5 – 10 minutes. JUST BE CAREFUL! You can quickly go from melt-in-your-mouth perfection to burnt ash.
- Remove bacon from baking dish with tongs or fork (I know it looks good, but DO NOT USE YOUR FINGERS!). Set it on layered paper towels to absorb the excess bacon juice.
- Eat your delicious, juicy, crispy, perfect bacon and enjoy.
Now here is the best part. Do nothing but digest your bacon for several hours, then come back to the mess. When you return you will find the bacon grease has automagically turned from a messy, sewer harming liquid into an easy to dispose of solid. Lift the grease laden parchment paper from the pan and easily dispose of it in the trash. With any luck, your dish is still clean and you can get away without washing it. (But that is me being lazy and I only offer this only as a suggestion. Do not hold me responsible if you develop trichinosis.)
An added bonus to this cooking method is you unknowingly fought the Grease Menace. We create the Grease Menace when we pour used fats, oils, and greases (FOG) down the drain.
Bacon grease is a contributor to FOG. It begins as a liquid that looks like it can easily be disposed of down the drain with a little warm water and dish detergent. DON’T DO THAT! The problem starts soon after the drippings are out of sight. Just as occurred on the parchment paper, the grease in the sewer pipes begins to cool and change from a liquid to a solid. The solids cling to the inside of the pipes, constricting the flow of the wastewater. Food particles, baby/”flushable” wipes, and other FOGs erroneously put down the drain will attach to this glob of grease. Eventually, you create what we call a FOG clog.
A FOG clog is a mess so disgusting I refuse to include a photo of it here and ruin your thoughts of delightful bacon. You have to click here to see it. And then you can click here and see how a FOG clog can affect you directly. And I am definitely not going to show you an example of how the bacon grease does the same thing in your arteries. For that, click here.
I hope you find these instructions simple, the results yummy, and the clean-up a snap. And if you ever invite me over to eat, I’d like the bacon on my Gardenburger to be extra crispy.
*I know adding bacon back into my diet means I am no longer a pesco lacto ovo vegetarian. Today I prefer to refer to myself as simply a picky eater. I do not eat the beef, chicken, or most of the pig. I know the effects a meat diet have on the environment, our water supply, and the animal. For these reasons, I keep my bacon eating to a minimum, believing every little bit I do to cut back on meat consumption helps.