They said, cook it in the oven. They said, it’ll be much easier . . . yeah right.
I really like bacon, however since I have been a one person household it has not been a staple in my kitchen. Probably a combination of three reasons: the stuff is expensive, it isn’t very healthy and it is kind of a mess to cook and clean up just for one person.
A couple weeks ago I smoked some ribs, brisket and other stuff. I wanted to try a new process on a pork loin, I needed some bacon. The loin was good and I had some bacon left, sure wasn’t going to throw that high dollar stuff away, so I broke out the old cast iron skillet and fried me some bacon. It took a little elbow grease to degrease the skillet, stove top and surrounding area but by god that bacon was good. I ate some and froze some (just a little test), a few seconds in the microwave and it was almost as good as the fresh fried version.
The next time I went to the grocery store a 1 ½ lb. (did you ever wonder who decided lb. was the appropriate abbreviation for pound) package mysteriously found its way into my shopping cart.
The plan was to cook all the bacon and freeze it so I could use one or five pieces at a time as the appetite dictated. I have also always wanted to have that little container of bacon grease available to enhance the flavor of all sorts of things; mom always had a jar of bacon grease on the stove.
I used my old friend, Google, to determine the best way to accomplish this simple little project. Google said it would be much easier to cook the bacon in the oven and that I could store the grease almost indefinitely in the fridge in a glass or ceramic container, no plastic.
There were several opinions about the best way to oven cook bacon, all of them used a shallow pan or cookie sheet, I have this like new, although it is several years old, sheet cake pan, the consensus temp seemed to be 400, my oven will do that. Opinions differed on placing the bacon on a baking rack in the pan or just placing it directly in the bottom of the pan. I decided, to keep the grease a little cleaner, I should use the rack method. I don’t own a baking rack, I don’t even know what that is, and so I improvised and used a rack out of my smoker. Looks like all I need to do is oven cook me a bunch of bacon.
My pan/rack deal would only hold about half the bacon, not a big deal I’ll just do two batches. Oven preheated, bacon neatly arranged on rack, timer set for 18 minutes, time to relax and wait.
A little FYI, I have two smoke detectors in the house, one about three steps from the previously mentioned oven, the other way back at the other end of the house. You wonder why I mention this, hang on.
At about the ten minute mark I decided to peek at the bacon, the smoke detector went crazy. I pushed every button on the thing, it was still screaming, I ripped it off the ceiling, still screaming. I opened the battery compartment, no battery, probably removed as the result of a previous cooking adventure gone badly. It was the detector way back at the other end of the house. I made a mental note to get smoke detector batteries next time I’m in town or maybe not.
The first batch cooked to perfection (perfection might be a little strong) in about 22 minutes. I immediately reloaded and started batch number two. The ten minute check this time produced a tremendous amount of smoke, I opened all the doors, there was enough smoke I am surprised the neighbors didn’t call the fire department, in fact I considered calling. I got the oven closed and the smoke cleared and let the stuff continue cooking, like the first batch it came out just right.
I have a few thoughts on what went wrong but I won’t bore you with them other than to say I have never seen that much grease in one oven. A little in the bottom could be expected but this thing had grease on the sides, the top was even covered. I just thank god for that self-clean cycle and I believe one or two more cycles the thing will actually be clean again.
The end result, a nice package of precooked bacon in the freezer, about a half cup or maybe more of bacon grease in a little glass container ready to enhance my next meal and the kitchen almost back in order.
My little glass container is the bottom of a wine bottle; I think I cut wine bottles better than I cook bacon.
I think next time I want to cook some bacon I’ll use the old cast iron skillet.
I know I haven’t been here in a few months. Life has been good; I just haven’t done anything I felt worthy of passing to your side of the keyboard, and mid-January to mid-March remains a quiet and personal time for me.
Since I am here I will mention, I had cataract surgery about a month ago and for the first time in my life I have 20/20 vision without glasses or contacts.
I’m not sure when I’ll be back, maybe sooner rather than later.
Good night and God bless.