Cooking Bacon in a Pan: You’re Doing it Wrong, Says CHOW

When it comes to cooking bacon either in a pan, in the oven or a microwave (or any other way you can think of!), I think it pays to be pretty laid back about the whole thing. Whatever works for you is my rule of thumb. After all, the Republic of Bacon is a pretty big and accepting place – the only rule is that you have to like bacon! But ever so often, someone comes along who tells us that the way we are cooking our bacon is wrong. Today, I’ll look at what CHOW says is the wrong and right way to cook bacon.

Cooking Bacon In A Pan

You’re Doing It All Wrong

Here’s the video where they show us how to cook bacon.

First of all, I have no idea why Scott Vermeire – the host of this particular segment – describes the bacon in a kinda sexual way. “Flaccid” bacon is bad; “lubricated” is good, apparently. A subtle advertisement for bacon, or just the way his brain works?

Vermeire: Bacon Needs Twenty Minutes

As for the actual cooking instructions, Vermeire does throw down some big gauntlets. The one I think is the most arguable is that he says bacon should take more than twenty minutes to cook. Really? Twenty minutes? I agree that it’s always a good idea to keep your temperature pretty low at the beginning, but twenty minutes seems like an overly cautious amount of time to me. Not all of us can be that patient with bacon! I favour starting out low and then turning up the heat a bit, and I’ve never noticed my bacon suffering in quality.

Bacon Likes to Cuddle with Other Bacon

He also suggests that you need to cover the bottom of the pan with bacon to make sure there is enough fat rendering off. Vermeire says that you need to do this because otherwise the bacon will burn. Once again, really? What if you don’t want to eat that much bacon: are you supposed to throw out the rest? And if you are cooking the bacon slowly, shouldn’t you be able to cook only a few slices? I don’t find a lack of bacon grease rendering off my bacon to be much of a problem. In fact, I would think that jamming a lot of bacon into your pan is more likely to cause the overlapping problem he describes.

What About Variety?

Finally, what about those of us who like our bacon to be a little bit variable in consistency and texture? After all, getting some uniform bacon from a fry pan seems like a waste of time and effort: why not just bake it?

In contrast, frying bacon to me often seems to be about the joy of somewhat curled up bacon that have bits of undercooked pink goodness. I often like imperfectly done bacon, cause it’s so imperfect. Frying is also about the fun of watching it sizzle and kinda letting it do its own thing. Getting those robotically perfect strips of bacon after frying may be good for some perfectionist chef, but what normal person really wants to live like that?

How about you – do you fry your bacon really slowly and perfectly, or are you a devil-may-care, fly by the seat of your pants type?

Non-Stick or Stainless Steel Pots and Pans – The Deadly Truth

When you are frying bacon, what are the best cooking utensils to use? There are a lot of options, so today we thought we’d cover the general advantages of two major types of cookwarenon-stick and stainless steel frying pans. Depending on how you cook, one of these two types might be for you.

Non-Stick Frying Pans – Advantages

Non-stick pans make cooking easy. Non-stick pans, being non-stick, are much easier to cook in than stainless steel. You don’t have to worry about your bacon sticking to the pan and getting burnt.

Use less cooking oil. Since it is easier to cook bacon in a non-stick pan, you don’t need to use a lot of oil to prevent sticking.

Non-stick is easier to clean. Since food is designed to slip right off, cleaning non-stick pans tends to be easier. Sometimes, with stainless steel, you have to soak and scour. Non-stick – except in rare cases – just needs soapy water and a soft sponge.

Stainless Steel – Advantages

Stainless steel pans are very durable. Unlike Teflon, which cannot be scratched, you can use whatever cooking instruments you want. You can also put stainless steel in the dishwasher. In fact, the more you use a stainless steel pan, the more it feels lived in. You don’t need to replace it as often as non-stick.

You can heat it stainless steel to a high temperature. Non-stick coatings tend to break down at higher temperatures. This is not only a problem for your pan’s coating – it can affect the quality of your food.

You can’t use cooking sprays on non-stick pans. The cooking sprays bond to the surface of the cookware, and gradually build up.

Stainless steel products allow for more browning. Since you can’t cook in high temperatures with non-stick, you can’t brown your bacon very well. Those people who love their bacon crispy should definitely stick to stainless steel.

Unlike some non-stick pans, stainless steel probably won’t hurt your pets. Teflon and similar non-stick surfaces are generally considered to be fine from a health standpoint. However, if you burn your non-stick, the off-gassing it produces has been known to harm some pets, particularly birds.

Overall, non-stick pans are much easier to use for cooking bacon than stainless steel, and they are probably better for people who are new to frying bacon. However, if you are fairly experienced in the kitchen, and you like bringing out the gourmet side of your dishes, a stainless steel pan might be better for you. But whatever you choose, happy cooking, and enjoy your bacon!

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