I’ve read about how baking your bacon is easier because it cleans up nicely and it gives you a nice texture. These are things I found very interesting and wanted to confirm for myself, so the other night I did so. Having some bacon in the freezer, I thawed out the package in cold water for a while, then I popped the bacon in the oven at 400°.
All the recipes I’ve read online agree on using a temperature around 400°, and placing the bacon on a crumpled-then-uncrumpled sheet of foil on a cookie sheet, not letting the pieces touch. Some suggest putting the bacon in a cold oven, others preheating. I tried the cold oven method, which recommended cooking for 17 to 20 minutes. In my case, I went about 21 because it wasn’t done at 20; it might not have thawed quite enough, though.
A quick review of the results:
- The baking method is pretty terrible for cooking up an entire package, because only eight slices fit on the sheet. I had five left over. Because I had thawed this bacon, it had to be cooked right away. I ended up also trying a microwave experiment; it did not go well.
- The flavor of the bacon was lacking. I have no idea if that’s because it was frozen for three months, or because it was baked. Specifically, the bacon tasted too smoky, much too smoky for the brand as I’m used to tasting it. (This was Oscar Mayer thick cut.) My gut says it’s probably a little of both. I suspect frying brings out the saltiness better.
- The texture of the bacon was just fine. I felt some of the pieces came out feeling a little thinner than they should have, but otherwise it was just as good as pan-fried. For the most part, the pieces came out very straight this way too, not as twisty as you get from pushing them around a pan.
- Cleanup was, in fact, very easy. This might be a very good method for doing a few strips of bacon when I want something to quickly throw on a burger.
The verdict: This is something I will definitely try again, if only for convenience. Being able to make a few pieces of bacon with minimal mess means I don’t have to make a whole package at once (if it’s not frozen) and can spread that out over a few days instead. I would like to know, though, whether it was the freezing or the baking that threw off the flavor, and that I’ll only learn from repeated experiments. At the end of the day, the flavor matters more than anything else.