Ahh, bacon. It's a culinary staple that delights the palate, tingles the senses and even has its own holiday. Humans have been eating bacon for more than 4,000 years, but it didn't become a breakfast food until it was branded as one in a PR stunt by the Beech-Nut Packing Company in the 1920s. But some of the first mentions of this salty pork go back to the Roman Empire when peasants cooked with bacon fat.
Sourced from the pig's belly, back or sides, bacon goes through a curing process where the raw meat is soaked in a combination of salt, nitrates — and occasionally sugar — before it's smoked. These two processes give bacon its signature robust, umami taste and deep red color.
Panfrying is the go-to method for cooking bacon — all you need is a stove and a skillet. But it makes for greasier bacon in the end. There's another popular method of preparing bacon that helps cut down on grease and splatter: baking the bacon in the oven.
This method also lets you prepare big batches, and the result is a crispier piece of bacon. The best part? It's insanely easy. Here's how it's done.
Method for Baking Bacon
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (204 degrees Celsius).
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. This step saves you time on cleanup later. (Pro tip: Save the bacon grease to cook with later.)
- Place an oven-safe wire rack on top of the foil. Lightly spray the rack with cooking spray to help prevent the bacon from sticking.
- Arrange the bacon in a single layer on the wire rack and place the baking sheet into the preheated oven.
- Cook until the bacon turns deep golden brown and crisp around the edges, usually about 10 to 12 minutes for regular bacon and 15 to 18 minutes for thick-cut bacon. Rotate the pans halfway through the baking time.
- Remove the pan from the oven and transfer the bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and serve immediately.
Note: The exact baking time will depend on the thickness of the bacon and how crispy you like it.