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Microwaving bacon
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    Post #1 - July 15th, 2007, 9:17 pm
    Post #1 - July 15th, 2007, 9:17 pm Post #1 - July 15th, 2007, 9:17 pm
    Microwaving bacon

    Though I've eaten Nueske's bacon several times, I'd never bought it to make at home. Yesterday, I got some at Marion Street Cheese Market and figured, for bacon this good, I'm going to try to do it in a cast iron frying pan. It was okay, somewhat unevenly cooked, but not bad.

    Tonight, I figured I'd try it microwaved, and it turned out to be vastly better. I was a little surprised. I usually microwave bacon, and although it's fast and easy, I was thinking maybe it wasn't the best way to do it. Now, I think it maybe is.

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    Hammond
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #2 - July 15th, 2007, 9:59 pm
    Post #2 - July 15th, 2007, 9:59 pm Post #2 - July 15th, 2007, 9:59 pm
    Although I've not extensively tested this, I think it probably depends on the bacon. In my experience, leaner bacon fares better in the microwave than really fatty bacon. The main downside on microwaving from my perspective is not having the leftover bacon fat. I suppose you could get at it with some type of grooved microwave bacon cooker or by perhaps wringing the paper towels? -- but that seems labor intensive and probably ends up wasting a fair bit of the fat. Does anyone actually save rendered bacon fat from microwaved bacon? I'd be interested to hear techniques.
  • Post #3 - July 15th, 2007, 10:28 pm
    Post #3 - July 15th, 2007, 10:28 pm Post #3 - July 15th, 2007, 10:28 pm
    Matt wrote: The main downside on microwaving from my perspective is not having the leftover bacon fat. I suppose you could get at it with some type of grooved microwave bacon cooker or by perhaps wringing the paper towels? -- but that seems labor intensive and probably ends up wasting a fair bit of the fat. .


    I have one of those ridged bacon cooker that holds the rendered fat in a moat. I'm most interested in the flavor/texture of the bacon.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #4 - July 16th, 2007, 3:47 am
    Post #4 - July 16th, 2007, 3:47 am Post #4 - July 16th, 2007, 3:47 am
    I had occasion to test a lot of bacon recipes last year. If you like crisp bacon, the microwave is definitely the way to go for small quantities.

    I usually use the no-muss, no-fuss paper-towel method, which makes great bacon, but you do waste most of the fat. I find it makes crisper, more evenly cooked bacon than my ridged microwave rack. The best device for microwaving and keeping the fat I've tried is the Makin Bacon, but it does make U-shaped bacon. There are some newer rack type things but I haven't tried them.

    I've also heard of using a George Foreman-type grill, but I don't have one of those, either.

    For large quantities of bacon, oven-baking is the best choice.

    Cooking for Engineers bacon tests
    Stripsearch: Getting to know everything about bacon
  • Post #5 - July 16th, 2007, 7:12 am
    Post #5 - July 16th, 2007, 7:12 am Post #5 - July 16th, 2007, 7:12 am
    David Hammond wrote:I have one of those ridged bacon cooker that holds the rendered fat in a moat. I'm most interested in the flavor/texture of the bacon.

    In terms of texture, I've had a harder time get the texture right with fatty bacon that is not uniform (in terms of fat distribution) in the microwave, as the leaner bits scorch before the fatty parts crisp. When pan-frying you can often at least move the bacon around to get the longer-cooking parts over a hotter part of the pan. As LAZ suggests, microwave is definitely the way to go for very crisp bacon. In terms of taste, I've not noticed a huge taste difference between microwave and other means of cooking, but I've not extensively tested it.
  • Post #6 - July 16th, 2007, 7:19 am
    Post #6 - July 16th, 2007, 7:19 am Post #6 - July 16th, 2007, 7:19 am
    Hi,

    When I was a kid, a friend's Dad like his bacon crisp and he like it flat. He would bake his bacon in the oven. My fuzzy memory recalls he put on weight on it to keep the bacon from curling. This was a Saturday morning meal in a household more inclined to cereal and milk.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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  • Post #7 - July 16th, 2007, 7:20 am
    Post #7 - July 16th, 2007, 7:20 am Post #7 - July 16th, 2007, 7:20 am
    LAZ wrote:I had occasion to test a lot of bacon recipes last year. If you like crisp bacon, the microwave is definitely the way to go for small quantities.


    This kind of surprised me, but seems to be supported by info you provided and my own personal experience. I guess the future of bacon in my house is the microwave, which is also much easier to use, of course: no turning, no splattering, etc., and it's much faster.
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #8 - July 16th, 2007, 7:36 am
    Post #8 - July 16th, 2007, 7:36 am Post #8 - July 16th, 2007, 7:36 am
    Cathy2 wrote:When I was a kid, a friend's Dad like his bacon crisp and he like it flat. He would bake his bacon in the oven. My fuzzy memory recalls he put on weight on it to keep the bacon from curling. This was a Saturday morning meal in a household more inclined to cereal and milk.


    I always make bacon in the oven. I learned this from Alton Brown and after I tried it I've never turned back.

    His method uses a baking sheet with a cooling rack on it. Lay the raw bacon flat on the rack and put it in a cold oven. Turn the oven to 400. By the time the pre-heat finishes, the bacon should be done (give or take).

    No splatter, nice crisp strips, no weight needed to keep it flat. Cleanup is pretty easy.

    Best,
    Michael
  • Post #9 - July 16th, 2007, 7:59 am
    Post #9 - July 16th, 2007, 7:59 am Post #9 - July 16th, 2007, 7:59 am
    Mostly, we microwave bacon (unless we're using the stove's griddle for just a couple pancakes, french toast, etc. -- a whole family's worth takes up too much room even to justify cooking in bacon fat).

    The biggest pain of the grooved microwave baconators is that cleaning them is very difficult -- they'll get stained over time. Deal with that, and you can have great bacon AND rendered fat.
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #10 - July 16th, 2007, 8:06 am
    Post #10 - July 16th, 2007, 8:06 am Post #10 - July 16th, 2007, 8:06 am
    JoelF wrote:The biggest pain of the grooved microwave baconators is that cleaning them is very difficult -- they'll get stained over time. Deal with that, and you can have great bacon AND rendered fat.


    For my ridged maker, I've found that I need to drain and soak it immediately after cooking the bacon and then wipe down the grooves with a paper towel before putting in the dishwasher. It's not terribly difficult to remove piggy particles...unless you put the baconator into the dishwasher with meat and fat clinging to the grooves (they tend to bake on during the washing process).
    “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV?”
  • Post #11 - July 16th, 2007, 8:33 am
    Post #11 - July 16th, 2007, 8:33 am Post #11 - July 16th, 2007, 8:33 am
    I was a pretty confirmed microwave kinda guy, but lately I've run into two problems. First, and this is just me, but my micro tends to overheat on steamy things like bacon. Second, and more important, my wife complains about the lingering bacon smell in the radarrange (imagine that!).

    I've gone retro, the black cast iron pan. Just keep the temp low. Patience counts. It's deep enough that splatterings no big deal, and as noted above, there's groovy bacon grease to use.
    Think Yiddish, Dress British - Advice of Evil Ronnie to me.
  • Post #12 - July 16th, 2007, 8:55 am
    Post #12 - July 16th, 2007, 8:55 am Post #12 - July 16th, 2007, 8:55 am
    Another vote for Michael/Alton's oven method, which takes a little while but turns out absolutely perfect bacon, and the bacon fat is preserved, too.

    That said, we don't use a rack, which lets the bacon fry a little bit in its own grease rather than just dripping on to the pan.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #13 - July 16th, 2007, 4:33 pm
    Post #13 - July 16th, 2007, 4:33 pm Post #13 - July 16th, 2007, 4:33 pm
    Vital Information wrote:I was a pretty confirmed microwave kinda guy, but lately I've run into two problems. First, and this is just me, but my micro tends to overheat on steamy things like bacon. Second, and more important, my wife complains about the lingering bacon smell in the radarrange (imagine that!).


    I've had similar problems--my microwave seems to lean on the "nuclear" side of things. I've solved both problems by:

    1) Takin' a break between bacon batches--about 30 seconds to a minute with the door open between batches will keep things running reasonably cool. And leave the door open for about 10 mins or so after you're finished. I usually don't microwave more than 4 strips at a time, either.

    2) A trick for de-greasing and de-baconating the old micro: take a glass bowl, fill it with water and one sliced lemon. Nuke the water for about 2 to 3 mins, then wipe down the inside of the micro with a damp sponge and Bob, as they say, is your uncle. Something about the steamy citrus vapors really cuts through the pork grease.
  • Post #14 - July 16th, 2007, 5:07 pm
    Post #14 - July 16th, 2007, 5:07 pm Post #14 - July 16th, 2007, 5:07 pm
    I don't trust the microwave for much besides melting butter, I guess I'm just old fashioned. I vote for the oven method and I like my bacon fairly well done.
  • Post #15 - July 16th, 2007, 5:12 pm
    Post #15 - July 16th, 2007, 5:12 pm Post #15 - July 16th, 2007, 5:12 pm
    bananasandwiches wrote:2) A trick for de-greasing and de-baconating the old micro: take a glass bowl, fill it with water and one sliced lemon. Nuke the water for about 2 to 3 mins, then wipe down the inside of the micro with a damp sponge and Bob, as they say, is your uncle. Something about the steamy citrus vapors really cuts through the pork grease.

    Banana,

    Noted, copied and, hopefully, remembered.

    Nice trick thanks.

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #16 - July 16th, 2007, 10:02 pm
    Post #16 - July 16th, 2007, 10:02 pm Post #16 - July 16th, 2007, 10:02 pm
    figmolly wrote:I don't trust the microwave for much besides melting butter, I guess I'm just old fashioned. I vote for the oven method and I like my bacon fairly well done.


    I still think very fondly of your chocolate truffles with crisp bacon bits.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #17 - July 17th, 2007, 8:12 am
    Post #17 - July 17th, 2007, 8:12 am Post #17 - July 17th, 2007, 8:12 am
    In the Davooda household the men are early risers, so I make breakfast for my two boys daily. Bacon is regularly featured :D Most of the time it's Oscar Meyer, but when I can get to Amish Country we feast on the really good stuff.

    (GWiv - Arthur Country Meats is worth a 9-mile diversion west should you be headed south on I-57 sometime. Their dry cured bacon is excellent and they offer a peppered version that makes a heavenly BLT)

    This method works for both, though the Amish bacon takes a bit longer, delivering crispy bacon in a snap, and provides me with fresh, hot bacon grease for the pancake/french toast griddle at the same time.

    1- place 3 slices, folded in half, on a 9" Dixie paper plate
    2- cover with a paper towel (tucking the corners under the plate)
    3- cook for 1:45 and remove the plate, taking care not to spill the bacon drippings until you get the plate over the hot griddle
    4- re-wrap plate and microwave for another :30 and remove
    5- while pancakes/french toast are griddling, bacon rests on top of paper towels that had previously served as cover.

    I am sure the cooking time varies depending on your machine so some trial and error is likely involved.

    FWIW
    Davooda
  • Post #18 - July 17th, 2007, 8:09 pm
    Post #18 - July 17th, 2007, 8:09 pm Post #18 - July 17th, 2007, 8:09 pm
    Bananasandwiches: ... and Bob, as they say, is your uncle.
    Just quoted that because I liked it so much.

    I never heard about microwaving bacon until a very recent Rachel Ray show. I have to say I like the idea if only because I can't seem to convince Sweet Baboo not to use metal utensils with the no-stick frying pans.

    But there's an oven way too? I like that idea even more. Learn something new every day.
  • Post #19 - July 17th, 2007, 8:44 pm
    Post #19 - July 17th, 2007, 8:44 pm Post #19 - July 17th, 2007, 8:44 pm
    Katie wrote:But there's an oven way too? I like that idea even more. Learn something new every day.


    :)

    On ovens:

    I once had my uncle over for dinner and as a side I served oven-roasted asparagus. He was surprised and had never heard of asparagus being cooked in an oven.

    I said something to the effect of: "It's a big box full of really hot air. Whatever you put inside is going to get cooked."

    He later told me that I changed the way he looked at using his oven.

    Best,
    Michael
  • Post #20 - July 18th, 2007, 11:32 am
    Post #20 - July 18th, 2007, 11:32 am Post #20 - July 18th, 2007, 11:32 am
    Frying bacon never worked for me - the ends would burn, while the middle wasn't cooked enough. A few years ago I discovered the oven method and that's the only one we now use. It comes out tasty, even and doesn't require as much work!

    I do almost what Michael does with the cooling rack and the baking sheet. Except that I pre-heat the oven and put the bacon in then.

    I do fry pancetta on the skillet, though. There is some in the fridge now, waiting for me to make carbonara.
  • Post #21 - July 18th, 2007, 11:47 am
    Post #21 - July 18th, 2007, 11:47 am Post #21 - July 18th, 2007, 11:47 am
    I mean, I know about the oven (unlike, say, my brother, who does all his cooking in a Crock-Pot). I just didn't know that it'd be worth doing bacon in the oven. I would have thought the smoking and splattering would be a problem. Glad to hear it is not.
  • Post #22 - July 18th, 2007, 5:30 pm
    Post #22 - July 18th, 2007, 5:30 pm Post #22 - July 18th, 2007, 5:30 pm
    I stick my slices of bacon between two paper towels in the middle of a disposable section of the newspaper. The grease shouldn't make it through the paper. Now if I could just get the bacon to cook evenly.
  • Post #23 - July 18th, 2007, 7:22 pm
    Post #23 - July 18th, 2007, 7:22 pm Post #23 - July 18th, 2007, 7:22 pm
    eggplant wrote:I do almost what Michael does with the cooling rack and the baking sheet. Except that I pre-heat the oven and put the bacon in then


    I've tried it both ways and I've found that there's zero benefit to letting the oven pre-heat first.
  • Post #24 - July 23rd, 2007, 8:46 pm
    Post #24 - July 23rd, 2007, 8:46 pm Post #24 - July 23rd, 2007, 8:46 pm
    eatchicago wrote:
    eggplant wrote:I do almost what Michael does with the cooling rack and the baking sheet. Except that I pre-heat the oven and put the bacon in then


    I've tried it both ways and I've found that there's zero benefit to letting the oven pre-heat first.


    I will have to try your way. How long does it take for your oven to pre-heat to 400? I am guessing it takes different amounts of time for different ovens to pre-heat.
  • Post #25 - July 23rd, 2007, 8:50 pm
    Post #25 - July 23rd, 2007, 8:50 pm Post #25 - July 23rd, 2007, 8:50 pm
    eggplant wrote:
    eatchicago wrote:
    eggplant wrote:I do almost what Michael does with the cooling rack and the baking sheet. Except that I pre-heat the oven and put the bacon in then


    I've tried it both ways and I've found that there's zero benefit to letting the oven pre-heat first.


    I will have to try your way. How long does it take for your oven to pre-heat to 400? I am guessing it takes different amounts of time for different ovens to pre-heat.


    I've never timed it, but I think it takes about 15-20 minutes.

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