The One Item You Need to Buy to Cook Bacon Perfectly Every Time
Bacon is an essential food to have at breakfast and brunch get-togethers because a lot of people enjoy sinking their teeth into a crispy piece. It also makes for a great side, whether the main dish consists of pancakes, an omelet, or a skillet dish of sorts. So what do you do if you need to cook bacon for a large crowd of people? Contrary to what you might think, the skillet isn't the answer to making a mass amount of crispy bacon. There's another way to cook bacon so that it doesn't cost you a ton of time or sacrifice the quality of the meat. Plus, it doesn't involve standing over the stove and dodging grease splatters.
So, what should you be doing? Try cooking bacon in the oven, with the help of one very important tool.
What can I buy so that I can make the crispiest bacon in the oven, hassle-free?
You may be surprised to learn that the key to cooking the most perfect piece of bacon is actually a cooling rack (set atop a baking sheet). That's right, you'll need to buy a rectangular stainless steel, criss-cross cooling rack to execute this trick. The criss-crossing is important, because cooling racks can also be slotted, but that style can let the bacon slip through its cracks. A criss-cross pattern keeps the bacon elevated and supported without falling through to the baking sheet below.
Why is this the best way to cook bacon?
Think about all of the times you have cooked bacon in a skillet and the mess it made. Grease splatters everywhere as the bacon sizzles from the high heat, and even though the sound it makes sounds like the meat is getting crispy, bacon can actually get soggy from sitting in all of the grease that's inevitably produced from each strip. Instead, you can lay each piece of uncooked bacon atop a cooling rack that's resting inside of a baking sheet and plop that into the oven. The reward will be that much sweeter (or, um, crispier we should say), thanks to the support the cooling rack offers and the vents that let the grease drip down and away from the bacon.
The key is to buy an oven-safe cooling rack that also has not been treated with a non-stick coating. That type of coating can cause the entire rack to warp due to the oven's heat. It's also important that you remember to place a baking sheet beneath the cooling rack to catch the grease so it doesn't slip down into your actual oven.
How do you cook bacon with a cooling rack?
So you've got your cooling rack—now what? To get the best bacon possible, follow the steps below.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil to catch drippings, and place the cooling rack on top.
- Add the bacon laid across the cooling rack, making sure no pieces touch (a key point to crispy bacon is not overlapping it!).
- Put the whole baking sheet (topped with the cooling rack) in the oven.
- Cook for about 20 minutes.
- When it's ready, remove the baking sheet tray from the oven. Be very careful when pulling the tray out of the oven to avoid splashing yourself with the bacon grease that's now on the aluminum foil.
- Remove the bacon from the cooling rack with tongs.
There you have it, the number one thing you need to buy to get the perfect piece of bacon is the humble cooling rack. Who says it's just for cookies?