While I love a Thanksgiving turkey with all the trimmings, I love a different holiday meal tradition more: family brunch. And what's a good brunch without bacon? Salty, porky, cured pig, chased with orange juice, is one of my favorite morning flavors. But cooking bacon can be a messy, hit-or-miss affair, as anyone who has lamented burned pork can tell you. I'm going to tell you how to cook perfectly-crisp bacon every time, and even better, it's simple and requires no special equipment.
Undoubtedly, you can cook great bacon without this method, but you run the risk of curled-up, unevenly cooked slices, or a grease-spattered stove, or a pile of greasy paper towels, or (blasphemy!) scorched bacon, or any number of problems that can tarnish the simple pleasure of a great slice of cured pork belly. Never again, I say. Never again.
Place your slices of bacon on a rimmed baking sheet. I put mine on a silicon baking sheet for easier cleanup, but it's not necessary. Place the baking sheet in a cold oven. Set the oven to 400° and set your timer for 20 minutes. Walk away. That's it. In those 20 minutes, you should have flat, crisp, perfectly-cooked bacon. You can blot the bacon with paper towels if want your slices with slightly less fat.
The method works because the gradual rising of temperature renders the fat on the bacon more slowly, which allows the bacon to stay flat on the pan, distributing the heat evenly and allowing for a more-uniform bake. I should add that this method works best with store-bought, uniformly-sliced bacon. If you cure and slice your own bacon, like I do, I'd watch the time on you first attempt in order to establish what works for your product, as the total cooking time may be shorter.
If you really want to get nasty, brush your bacon slices with maple syrup or sprinkle them with a bit of brown sugar 15 minutes into the bake. Thank me later.
Image via GoodNCrazy/Flickr