The excitement of the week is that Trader Joe’s opened a new location by Alewife. I went over today to check it out and it was pretty exciting. All the employees were friendly and seemed to genuinely enjoy discovering new TJs products that they weren’t aware of. Of course the Trader Joe’s Song was running through my head the whole time…
I picked up some natural organic granola hormone-free pet-safe carbon-neutral bacon, and decided to follow the directions on the packaging exactly. Unfortunately, there were three sets of directions: microwave, broiler, and pan fry. So I did all three, and compared the results.
This is the way I know how to cook bacon, so no surprises here. I did learn that I should put the bacon on a cold skillet and then heat it, so that the bacon doesn’t curl. Did that, let it cook for a while, flipping occasionally, and ended up with some tasty, crispy bacon, as expected.
I layered six strips of bacon between paper towels, and put them in the microwave on high for one minute. They came out looking decidedly raw, so I re-checked the directions. One minute per strip it said. Whoops. So I put them back in for another five minutes on high. When they finished, the plate was so hot as to be untouchable, but the bacon didn’t look at all like my very tasty pan-fried variety. In fact, it didn’t look bacon-like enough for me to even want to try eating it. Bust. I threw the microwaved strips in the skillet for a little while to crisp and brown them up, and they turned out fine, but overdone.
I put eight strips on a tray and put them in my cold toaster oven, set it on broil, and set the timer for three minutes. When the time was up, I went to flip them and cook for another two, but saw that they were barely cooked. Re-check the directions. Ah, the tray is supposed to be cold, but the oven needs to be pre-heated. So I took them out, pre-heated the toaster oven on its “broil” mode (at 450º F), and stuck them back in. Three minutes later, not much progress. So I checked online, where a random web page suggested 10-15 minutes was a better approach than five. So I did that. They came out fine, but not as crispy as from the pan, and now I have a very dirty tray to scrub.
End result: either I did something really wrong, or pan frying the correct way to cook bacon.
Very much reminds me of two Cooking For Engineers blog posts from a while back.
Interestingly, in Part II he tried slow-baking — not broiling — the bacon, and actually concludes if you have the time to spare, that gives the best results.
Not that I’m advocating eating bacon, of course. But scientifically very interesting
Have you tried making it in a waffle iron?
I’ve done both 1 and 2 and they’ve always worked fine for me though in the microwave I like the wavy pan otherwise it’s just too greasy. Didn’t know about the cold skillet thing, I’ll have to try that.
Also it’s a great thing to cook in a cast-iron skillet since the grease soaks into the pores in the pan.
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