Microwaving bacon is always an option of last resort. I mean, when you could go for the traditional flavour of a good fry up or easily add some brown sugar to some baked bacon, cooking bacon in the microwave is what we do when our laziness quotient is through the roof and we need to stuff bacony goodness in our gobs ASAP.
Since I’m an occasional bacon microwaver – especially late at night – I’ve always wondered if those bacon microwaving thingamajigs are worth it. One thing’s for sure: they are weird. After the break, join me as we run down some of the most popular (strangest?).
Advantages and Disadvantages to Microwaving Bacon
We’ve already discussed the benefits of using stainless steel or non-stick pans when cooking your bacon, or whether baking or frying bacon is better. But what about cooking bacon in other ways? For example, what about cooking bacon in your microwave?
Now, before you go nuts – hear me out. Microwaving food may not be the most gourmet form of cooking, but it does have a few benefits. Here are a few off the top of my head.
1. Microwaving bacon is convenient. There is no pre-heating of ovens and no messy frying. If you are using a specialized bacon tray, you can just slot the bacon in, microwave it for several minutes, and it’ll be cooked. The only thing you’ll need to clean afterward is the tray.
2. Microwaving bacon cooks it more evenly. Frying – unless you are careful – can make some parts of the bacon cook more quickly than others. Baking can leave one side more cooked than the other. Microwaving, since it cooks from the inside out, tends to cook the bacon more evenly.
3. Like baking, you don’t need to use cooking oil. If you are looking to reduce the amount of cooking oil in your life, this is a cooking options you could try. This also means that you’ll generally have less bacon grease left over. (This could be a negative, depending on your point of view!)
Of course, there are a few disadvantages to this cooking method, as well.
1. Flavour. I don’t think anyone would argue that microwaved bacon tastes better than baked or fried bacon. If they do argue this, they aren’t cooking their bacon right or maybe they tapped into the holy grail of knowledge non of us know!
2. You can’t get crispy bacon. Microwaves just don’t brown bacon, and even though your bacon will be cooked, it won’t be cooked very thoroughly. This helps explain its generally less than amazing flavour.
3. Adding flavouring is harder to do. You can still marinade the bacon before you microwave it, but the microwave will not create the mixture of flavours that baking or frying will do when you add sugar or pepper.
For our money, we’d stick with baking and frying – after all, anything that makes bacon taste not as delicious as it could taste is not our favourite. But if you are looking for a quick, simple meal, and you don’t want to mess around with pans and oils, microwaving bacon can always be useful in a pinch.
It’s also particularly good if you need to pre-cook your bacon for inclusion in some other recipe, and you want to make sure your bacon is as grease-less as possible. But whatever way you cook it, make sure to enjoy your bacon!
Crazy Ways To Microwave Bacon
1. The Bacon Genie
The Bacon Genie basically looks like a circular drying rack for your microwaved bacon. I suppose the idea is that while your bacon is just chilling out on the upper rack, they’ll be cooked to a nice level of doneness. And any and all bacon grease will be wicked away and left in the tray. But what if you want crispy bacon that is not bent in the middle, though? Does the Bacon Genie grant that particular wish? Or is it only folded bacon for your BLT from now on?
2. The Pesto PowerCrisp
The Pesto PowerCrisp operates on a similar idea to the Bacon Genie. But while the Genie looks like a casual affair of bacon chatting in a circle, the PowerCrisp demands regularity and order. This probably makes it easier to cookify the maximum number of bacon slices. It also, I suppose, will be helpful for moulding bacon when you are making a bacon model of a ski chalet.
3. The Wow Bacon
The Wow Bacon turns bacon microwaving into coffee-making! Or, that’s what it looks like. Unlike the Bacon Genie, the bacon in the Wow Bacon do not look at all happy to be hung on those crossbeams. The Wow Bacon does remind me that both the PowerCrisp and Bacon Genie are a little over-optimistic about grease splatter (the Wow Bacon has a lid). But I’m also thinking – why would I bother cleaning a complicated Wow Bacon when I could just compost some paper towels?
4. The Bacon Wave
Although it looks absurdly complicated – you have to carefully slide the bacon into the slots and then impale it with prongs – apparently, it does work. I’m a little sceptical about the bacon grease splatter containment, though. And if I’m going to go through all the work of carefully slotting bacon into grooves on a microwave tray, why wouldn’t I just use the oven? Isn’t the whole point of microwaved bacon the fact it can be done by anyone?
Making Bacon: Oven Vs. Skillet
If I asked you to close your eyes right now and picture someone preparing bacon, what would you imagine? For the vast majority of you, I bet that you are seeing in your mind’s eye someone heating a skillet and laying the streaky bacon strips in the pan, the fat bubbling and the sweet fat crisping up while you watch. I’m sorry, was that your stomach growling or mine?
Though this might be the most common conception of hoe bacon is made, there is another, equally delicious method for making bacon: baking it in the oven. While less popular, and less deeply ingrained on the average bacon-lover’s consciousness, this method is just as effective as sizzling bacon up in a pan.
(Yes, we know you can also microwave bacon. We here at the republic of bacon, however, think that this is a complete travesty).
While cooking bacon in a pan and baking it off in the oven both produce delicious results, there has been some measure of debate about exactly which is more effective. While even we hesitate to wade in to such hotly contested waters, we thought we would put together a quick list of the pros and cons of each preparation method, so that you can choose the one that suits your needs best.
Bacon In The Pan
- You can more easily control the amount of bacon your prepare, and is suitable for smaller or single servings
- More control over the exact crispiness of the bacon, as you are actively involved in the cooking process
- The sheer pleasure of working with your hands and making delicious bacon the traditional way
- Hot bacon grease might splatter out of the pan, and can be painful if it hits your skin
- You have to keep a careful watch over the pan to make sure the bacon doesn’t stick or burn
- Your hair, clothes and everything nearby are going to become covered in tiny fleck of bacon grease
Bacon In The Oven
- Better for larger cooking projects, enabling you to cook many rashers at once
- A more even cooking process is possible int he oven, especially with convection heat, ensuring each piece is crisped perfectly
- Because it is in the oven and out of site, it can be easier to forget about and therefore burn
- Because you are working with a rimmed baking sheet lined with tinfoil, there is quite a bit more prep and cleanup to this process
What is your favourite way of making bacon?
I’ll probably be sticking to my tried and true method of putting some bacon between paper towel and microwaving everything. The clean-up is a snap, and the prep is even quicker. Sure, I’ll never win any Bacon Cooking Olympics with my microwaved bacon. But sometimes, even I have to admit that it’s great taste probably has a lot to do with how little thought I had to put into it.