[84] & [85] Bacon, Roasted and Microwaved

How to Cook Everything, Revised Edition by Mark Bittman

Okay guys, I have to be honest. Angelique sent me “this Food Network Humor link”:http://foodnetworkhumor.com/2011/01/ridiculous-food-network-recipe-of-the-week-paula-deens-english-peas/ the other day, and I laughed a lot. Then I commented that I shouldn’t be laughing because I’ve posted some similar recipes, and would do so again.

Her response? “Two ingredients?” She was incredulous and doubtful that anything so unlike a recipe had ever appeared on this site. Just for honesty’s sake, please examine the following two links: “Rachel Ray”:http://foodnetworkhumor.com/2010/11/the-most-ridiculous-food-network-recipe-of-all-time/ and “MetaCookbook.”:http://www.metacookbook.com/archives/37-18-Bacon,-in-our-toaster-oven-broiler.html

Of course, we admitted it was a bit of a cop-out from the get-go. And we tried to make it up to you by including an amusing story to go with your cop-out bacon. Furthermore, if you didn’t know this already, all the photos on our page go back to our flickr site, and some of the photos have “notes” on them. Almost any photo Bill posted has some sort of hysterical note. Especially the ones in that bacon recipe.

Alas, this time, there’s no really funny story (we got rid of that damn toaster oven). So instead, I will make it up to you by posting two recipes (so called for the purpose of our challenge) at once, and not subject you to two distinct posts about bacon cooking. Well, in rapid succession. Obviously there’s going to be two, as this is the second. And, again in the interests of being totally honest, I don’t think we’ve used all of Bittman’s bacon cooking methods yet, so there’s likely to be a third at some point.h2. Ingredients

If Roasting:
Bacon. More than six slices. Many many more, if possible.

If Microwaving:
Bacon. Between three and six slices.

h2. Instructions

Heat the oven to 450F. Put the bacon in a roasting pan large enough to hold it all in just one layer, then bake. After 10 minutes, check on the bacon. Separate any slices that need separating and pour off any excess fat. Continue to check every five minutes, pouring off the excess fat each time. Turn the bacon on occasion. Total time will be about 30 minutes.

Cover a plate with a triple layer of paper towels, then put the bacon on the towels. Cover the bacon with a double layer of paper towels, the microwave for two minutes. After two minutes, check the bacon and move it around a little, then microwave again in one minute intervals, until the bacon is done to your liking. Total time should be no more than five minutes.

h2. Cooking and Consumption Notes

h3. Cooking

If ever there was something that seemed simple in the kitchen that I cannot master, it’s roasting bacon. I invariably overcook the bacon, sometimes to an utterly blackened, charred and inedible mess. Normally, I attempt “this recipe”:http://www.tonychor.com/archive/000443.html and normally I fail. So I didn’t hold out a lot of hope for Bittman’s recipe.

The good news is that we did get a few edible pieces out of this recipe. The bad news is that we didn’t get many.

I don’t have a very large roasting pan. Actually, as I type that, it occurs to me that I do but I never think of it since it doesn’t live in the kitchen. Maybe I’ll try that next time. Maybe having more bacon in the pan at once helps, as usually we can only get about four to six strips in one of my 13″ x 9″ pans.

I don’t know what my problem is or how to fix it. Advice is gratefully accepted.

I don’t know what possessed me to try this recipe. Bill, in fact, was flabbergasted that I did. Microwaving does not seem likely to give the well-cooked and crispy texture I love. I think what possessed me was the desire to have cooked ANY RECIPE WHATSOEVER that day.

This method? I’m never doing it again. Bittman says it’s the best method for a small amount of bacon, and it certainly makes the cleanup a bit easier, but boo!

First, it took significantly longer than five minutes to get to roughly the texture I wanted from my bacon. We did basically get there, but it probably took a solid 10 minutes of microwaving (including the first 2 minute round of cooking). However, “basically” does not mean “did”. Just check out the image below.

See that? That’s “perfectly crisp bacon”. Bending. Given that I’m most likely to make “small amounts of bacon” when I want, say, bacon crumbles and not when I just want to devour bacon neat, this lack of crumbliness is not points in the favor of microwaving.

Second, this method takes a tonne1 of paper towels. I think I replaced the five layers of paper towels twice, though it may have only been once. Sure, it takes the place of draining the fat off on paper towels, but in my house draining only takes three layers of paper towels (two under the bacon and one to blot with). Ten layers of paper towels (assuming I only replaced the paper towels once during cooking) is a great deal more wasteful than that. Now, Bill and I have cut back so drastically on the household’s paper towel usage that I can’t remember when we last purchased paper towels, but that doesn’t really make me feel comfortable with more than doubling our usage for a particular project.

Also, bacon that bends? No way!

h3. Consumption


What wasn’t char was okay. I’m pretty sure this is operator error, but it was still intensely frustrating. I give it a “B-“.

My crisp bacon bent without breaking, but it tasted pretty darn good. If it weren’t for the paper towel issue, it’d be a solid “B+”. However, I have to dock some points, bringing it in at a straight “B”.

fn1. Note the use of metric units here. Seriously, this is a lot of paper towels.