Bacon All Around

Mike came across a poem the other day, and we've been quoting it ever since. It goes something like this:

Roses are red
Bacon is red
Poetry is hard


There's just something utterly primal and satisfying about bacon. The pop and sizzle of the grease, the smell, the way it crumples up in the pan, and the taste. Oh, that taste.  

I'm listening to bacon pop and sizzle as I write this, and the only think that's keeping me from gobbling it all up is that I had some leftover bacon before I started cooking the new bacon. 

It took me a long time to figure out how to fry decent bacon. Like so many others, I turned the heat up too high and burned the crap out of it. What a waste. Bacon needs long, slow heat to get just right.

My dad, who cooks the best bacon I've ever had, fries it at the absolute lowest setting on his gas stove and just waits. I've never been that patient, but I like to think I'm coming along. 

There is an easier way: Lay the bacon in an ungreased jelly roll pan in a single layer. Put it in a cold oven, then turn the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Cook it until it's done, which will depend on the thickness of the bacon and your own personal preferences. (I use a thicker-cut style, which takes 15-20 minutes, but thinner cuts can be done in 8-10 minutes.) Remove from oven, let the pan cool for a couple of minutes, then transfer to a paper-towel lined plate. Strain the grease left in the pan through a fine mesh strainer into a glass jar, and store in the refrigerator for later use. Enjoy the bacon right now, or save in the fridge or freezer for later.

You might be totally grossed out by saving the grease to use it later. I know, I used to be weirded out by it too. But it turns out that the grease (a.k.a. lard) is actually quite useful for cooking. It has a much higher smoke point than butter or olive oil, meaning you can get it a lot hotter. Plus it makes for wonderfully browned veggies. Eggs fried in lard are a-maz-ing. Seriously - give it a go!


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