I have cooked a lot of bacon over the last few months. I jokingly coined my efforts 'Baconology' and have documented notes and weights on at least 25 lbs of bacon cooked by various methods. This was hardly a deep-dive scientifically speaking, but the measured observances and extensive taste tests led to a number of rather interesting discoveries.
My intention was to come up with a cooking method that would consistently yield great bacon. After I met that criteria I worked to make it as effortless as possible, which included reducing cleanup and cook times. The results are the '10, 5, Flip, Finish', and as recorded in the video, prove that not only does it work for one pound of bacon, but it works just the same for two.
Watch the video to learn more:
Breakdown: 10, 5, Flip, Finish
Place bacon straight out of the package fat side down in a cold nonstick pan. Place on burner over MEDIUM heat.
Set the timer for 10 minutes, don't touch it.
At 10 minutes, separate the rashers to fill the pan.
Cook another 5 minutes.
After 5 minutes, FLIP it all over.
Push the least cooked rashers to the sides and use the middle of the pan to FINISH.
If the pan spits grease, turn the heat down.
If they cook too quickly, turn the heat down.
Remove from pan as they turn golden and allow to drain on paper towels.
Don't allow the bacon to steam, move it to a plate while still warm.
It will continue to crisp up as it cools.
The concept here is that the fat takes longer to cook than the meat. Cooking it fat side down protects the more tender meat proteins and allows the fat to render, creating a more tender and delicious rasher. Admittedly the process takes a bit of time, but the first 15 minutes are nearly hands off, and the benefit of those last 10 minutes of extra attention means fewer grease splatters and greatly reduced mishaps of burnt bacon.
Other Bacon Geek Discoveries:
I should also note that I tested all kinds of pans, stainless steal, cast iron, and nonstick. Each of them performed well, but I settled on the nonstick pan for the ease of clean up. It is certainly not essential to have a nonstick pan to make great bacon, it is just my pan of choice.
Other Bacon Geek Discoveries:
Baked vs Fried
As mentioned in the video, I measured the weights of grease and meat with the expectation that baked bacon would weigh less in meat and more in grease than that of fried, since I believed the myth that baked bacon is lower in fat (thinking more grease would render out.) However four different methods, two on the oven and two on the stove, using exactly the same raw meat weight revealed the post-cooked weights of all four methods also was exactly the same. Which leads to the assumption that baking only removes flavor/moisture, not fat (since it did not taste nearly as good.)
Great Bacon has a High Fat to Meat Ratio
I weighed dozens of pounds, uncooked, cooked, along with the grease left in the pan. Not all bacon is a full pound out of the package, despite what it says on the wrapper. I found many that came in a full ounce short. This is actually more appalling when you learn that those 15 ounces cook down to less than 4 ounces of edible meat. If you consider the cost per pound equates to only a quarter of that amount in cooked product; that makes bacon a very expensive cut of meat. The cost alone should be reason enough to get serious about a cooking method.
Strained bacon grease.
Additional Bits of Bacon
|Home-cured and smoked bacon is darker in color,|
but has no off-putting flavor unlike commercial bacon
when allowed to get this browned.
Bacon's cost, its unequivocal flavor, and its potential health implications make it all the more important that when you do indulge, you make the most of the little bit of meat you get from your efforts. I hope you find as much success with this method as I have.Enjoy!
Oh and for you vegan fans, I haven't left you out. You can find my version of tofu 'bacon' here.