Perfect bacon. For most of us, it's a strip (or three!) with breakfast, an adornment to a cheeseburger or best supporting actor in a BLT. It falls in the category of what I call "naughty food" but since it's so stinkin' good, shouldn't we learn to make it the evenly-crispy-but-not-too-crisp treat it deserves to be?
Holy pork belly, Batman! And you know who skews the average? College students. Football players. Young males. My grandsons and sons-in-law, that's who! I spent almost 4 years working in LARGE scale food service on a college campus, in a HUGE kitchen with permanently mounted soup pots big enough to bathe in. And I'm telling you something. I learned how to make enormous amounts of bacon quickly because we served loads of bacon to a lot of students who all ate tons of it!
Hint: Ice cold bacon right from the fridge can be a beast to separate without tearing. Either set it out for a little while so it can soften or run it under the faucet with cool water. This seems to minimize shrinkage, too, for some reason! Sliding a rubber spatula under each slice will also make it easier.
Now lay it in a single layer on a rimmed baking pan lined with parchment paper and pop it in a 425 degree oven for about 15 minutes. You won't need to to turn it or do anything to keep it from curling! Keep an eye on it after 10 minutes because the baking time can vary depending on the thickness and sugar content ot the bacon and your desired level of crispness. Me? I like my bacon to stand at attention (but never burnt!)
You can do this ahead, too, like the night before, which is what I do when the family gathers for my famous Potato and Leek Frittata or a summer Sunday at the cabin!! (Just cover it lightly with wax paper or plastic film.) The amount of bacon my boys can put away borders on obscene!
Secret confession: I always save some of the drippings in a pint jar in the fridge to use later. It adds unbeatable flavor to scrambled eggs or cornbread or vegetables. Oh come on, don't go getting all shocked about bacon drippings! The Pioneer Woman or Paula Deen would borrow some from me in a heartbeat, you know they would.
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Love, GB (Betty Streff)
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