If you're ready to graduate from using the frying pan to cooking bacon on a griddle, these tips will come in handy. A frying pan is a good tool for cooking bacon, if you're just making a little bit. However, if you need to make a lot of it, a griddle is definitely the best way to cook bacon.
In fact, it's not just tedious, but can be dangerous, to do it in a pan. Bacon has a very high fat content, according to the USDA, so when you cook it, it releases a lot of grease. This grease accumulates in the pan, and it can splatter and burn you.
Most modern griddles are sloped so that the grease pools in an oil reservoir at the bottom, to prevent splattering. This also helps make the bacon crispier, because if the bacon is drowning in grease, it doesn't get very crispy. Less grease is also healthier, so you're better-off all around. An alternative is to cook bacon in the oven, but it doesn't get quite as crispy.
Bacon Nutrition Facts
Keep in mind that while, tastewise, bacon is great, nutritionally speaking, it's not the healthiest form of meat. It has a substantial amount of saturated fat, sodium and cholesterol and it's a processed form of meat that usually has nitrates and other unhealthy additives.
Regularly eating large portions of bacon is not advisable, according to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, but the odd rasher now and then eaten with eggs for breakfast, tucked into a burger, wrapped around a prawn or sprinkled over mashed potatoes shouldn't do much harm.
Make bacon on a griddle easily by following some simple steps.
Preheat the Griddle
Preheat the griddle to between 300 and 350 degrees Fahrenheit, recommends Southern Kitchen. You'll know it's hot enough if water sizzles when you sprinkle it on the surface. Getting the temperature right is important; you want the bacon to get crispy but not overcooked.
If you're using a cast-iron griddle, you can choose to season it before you start cooking. Use a big piece of bacon, preferably one with a lot of fat. The white part of the bacon strip is the fat, the red part is lean meat. Once the griddle is hot, rub the piece of bacon on it until the fat melts and coats the surface. Seasoning creates a natural nonstick coating on cast-iron surfaces and prevents rusting.
Once you're ready to start cooking the bacon, you're going to need to pay attention and be careful, because it cooks pretty quickly, needs to be turned frequently and can't be left unattended. If your griddle is big enough and you think you can manage it, you can cook other foods like eggs, sausages or burger patties alongside your bacon.
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Lay Bacon on the Griddle
Lay the strips of bacon side-by-side on the surface of the griddle. Use a pair of tongs to do this, so you can avoid burning your hands. Make sure the bacon pieces fit on the griddle; you don't want the ends hanging over the edge, because then they won't cook. You can cut the pieces in half if you need to make them fit.
Avoid overcrowding your pan. If the bacon pieces overlap, they won't cook properly, and you'll end up with some over-cooked bits and some under-cooked bits. The bacon pieces should ideally have enough room to breathe, without bumping into their neighbors.
You don't need any additional oil to cook bacon; bacon has enough fat on its own, and adding too much oil becomes counterproductive, because bacon doesn't get crispy if there's too much grease.
Cook the Bacon Until Crisp
Let the bacon cook on the pan, keeping the temperature between 300 and 350 degrees Fahrenheit. It may seem like a higher temperature will give you crispier rashers, but you're just more likely to end up with overcooked or burned bacon.
Besides, a higher temperature can also have drawbacks health-wise. Cooking muscle meats, including beef, pork, fish and poultry, at extremely high temperatures has been found to be mutagenic, which means it causes changes in DNA that can increase the risk of cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute.
As the bacon is cooking, use tongs to turn the pieces over frequently, so that they cook evenly on both sides. Be careful while you're doing this, because you don't want to burn your hands.
If the fat is accumulating around the slices of bacon on the griddle, use a spatula to scrape it away and into the oil reservoir. You may have to do this at least once, if not twice, while the bacon is cooking. You should scrape away at least half of the fat, leaving just a little so the bacon can continue cooking.
Know When It’s Done
Bacon may take anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes to cook, according to Southern Kitchen. The cooking time varies depending on how hot the griddle is, how thick the rashers are and how crispy you want them. The best way to know that it's done is to use a food thermometer to check the temperature of the bacon; when it crosses 160 degrees Fahrenheit, it's done.
However, the more informal way is to eyeball it and trust your instincts. You want the white lines of fat in the bacon to turn translucent and the meat to be reddish-brown and crispy, but not burned. The bacon shouldn't still be pink, as that's a sign that it hasn't cooked properly.
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Keep a plate ready, with a paper towel on it, and once the bacon is done, take the pieces off the griddle and put them on the plate. The paper towel will help absorb the excess fat.
Remember not to throw the remaining bacon grease down the sink, because it will cool and solidify, blocking up your sink. While it's hot pour it into a nonplastic container to store for use in other kitchen tasks, or into a disposable vessel if you just want to throw it away.