Friday, September 30, 2011

Chris' Cooking Corner: BACON!!!!!!!!

Guess who's back in the kitchen? Why, it's just little old me. Today for lunch I had possibly the greatest idea for a sandwich, but the whole thing failed in the execution, mostly because of the time of year we are in, so I don't blame the chef that much. The sandwich I had was a fried green tomato BLT. It was your classic BLT, but with a fried green instead of a regular tomato.
Now, some of you may be turning your nose up at the fried green part of the equation, and I can understand that. In my family, only me and my mother like the fried greens, and it is a connection that only we have, so that makes it kind of special to me. In my heart, I'm a bit of a southern boy, and this is one of those dishes that goes to my heart, both figuratively and literally. Anywho, not everyone likes the fried green tomatoes, and I'll be covering the preparation of those another time. Today, I am just going to show you how to make perfect bacon, so you can make a plain old BLT, which is pretty much the Duke of sandwiches (the King being the Monte Cristo Sandwich).

There is one key word to talk about when you want to make great bacon, and that word is: Oven. If you want to make great bacon, you have to bake it in an oven. Trust me, I have tried to make bacon the traditional way of frying, and I ruin it every time. It's either burned and over cooked, or it's under cooked and all flaccid. Once I switched to oven bacon, I get perfect bacon every time. And it doesn't take much longer than the traditional method. It is a win-win for bacon lovers.

Here's what you will need to make this:


That's about it. You will need a baking dish, some tin foil, and a baking rack or two. Unless you want a grease fire, in which case by all means just throw the bacon in the oven. (Please note: does not promote the placing of raw bacon in you oven, starting fires, or possible insurance fraud. DO NOT place bacon in the oven. Also, buy yourself some oven mitts, those pans get HOT!).

Okay, let's talk bacon. What kind do you like? Buy that. My personal preference is for any kind of maple syrup infused bacon. It's delicious, and it fills the house with the most glorious smell in the world, and the smell lingers for like, a week. If you're not a fan, don't buy that. I'm not going to twist your arm. For the purposes of this recipe, let's say about a half pound of bacon.

Get out your baking sheet. The baking sheet doesn't have to be fancy or deep, just a simple cookie sheet will work. You do want to make sure it has some kind of lip around it or some other means of keeping the grease in the sheet, not dripping onto the heating elements of your oven. Now, line the bottom of your baking sheet with tin foil. This will help on the clean up side, because bacon is greasy, and you don't want to have to clean up congealed bacon grease off of your nice bacon sheets. Isn't that a pleasant thought? Anyway, line the baking sheet and the place a couple of baking racks on top. This is going to keep the bacon you are cooking out of the grease that will eventually be released from the bacon. This will lead to crispier, tastier, and healthier bacon.

Once you have your cooking apparatus prepared, place the strips of bacon on the baking racks. In my family, we usually cut the regular sized slices of bacon in half. This leads to better sizes for sandwich making and also spreads out the slices more evenly among a bunch of hungry mouths. Place the bacon on the racks, give them a little breathing room, and then prepare for cooking.

Do not pre-heat your oven. This is an important step, or at least I believe it is. Every recipe I've seen online on how to bake bacon lists this as an important step, and 40 Helens can't be wrong. Place the bacon in the oven, and then turn the heat on to 400 degrees. Set the timer for 20 minutes, and sit back, although you may want to keep an eye out every few minutes to watch for grease fires or anything. Remember, safety FIRST!!! If my mother taught me anything, it's that. And to never ask a girl if she likes butt sex on the first date. Once the 20 minutes is up, check the bacon, see if it's prepared to your liking. I like mine a little undercooked, but if you like yours a little crispier, by all means leave it in for a while longer. I'm sure there's an internal temperature that your supposed to let the bacon cook to, but I don't cotton with those fancy schmancy internal temps. But seriously, follow any heating instructions you can find. also does not cotton to stomach parasites or food poisoning. In fact the eradication of stomach parasites is part of our mission statement, or at least it will be once I make a mission statement.

That's about it. This is actually really easy to do, and the end result is the best bacon you will ever eat. It's not greasy, you get the right crispiness to it. It is se magnific, or something. Once you try this, you will never cook bacon in a pan ever again. And with that I say, Kill Flanders.

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