Bacon

bacon1.jpgI love bacon! Unfortunately, it's kind of a pain to cook bacon in a sauté pan on the stove, and even more of a pain to cook one serving of bacon. Fortunately, I discovered two things:

1. Cooked bacon freezes well
2. You can cook bacon on a sheet pan in the oven

Knowing this is a good or bad thing, depending on how much bacon you want to consume.

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Arrange 1 pound of bacon on a half sheet pan (13x18). You really need a food service style sheet pan, not a cookie sheet, since grease will flow off the latter and probably set your oven on fire. A "jelly roll pan" has higher sides, but would be too small to hold a full pound of bacon.

It works best if you arrange it the way shown, mostly not overlapping, bunching it up as necessary. It will shrink significantly while cooking, and this arrangement works the best for me.
bacon2.jpgI prepare two pounds of bacon in two sheet pans in the oven at the same time.

Cook the bacon in the oven for 25 minutes, one on a middle rack and one a few inches below that.

Swap the top and bottom pans, and rotate each 180°. Cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Remove from the oven when all pieces look cooked.

Remove the pieces from the sheet pan and drain on paper towels. It's likely that several of the pieces will stick together and it's much easier to separate them with your hands when cool, rather than trying to do it with tongs while they're hot.

When done, you'll have a big bag o' bacon to put in the freezer.
bacon3.jpgThe frozen bacon can be reheated in a sauté pan, griddle, on a sheet pan in the oven (about 15 minutes at 350°F), or even in the microwave (about 50 seconds).

Very surprisingly, cooking bacon in your oven does not, in fact, coat the inside of your oven in bacon grease. The sheet pans are easy to clean, much easier than my sauté pan. A win all around.

Updated pictures:

Here are two pans of Vermont Smoke and Cure hand-cut bacon. They look emptier because they're only 12 oz. per package/pan instead of 16 oz.. And the slices are thicker. It only takes about 23 minutes to cook two pans of this bacon.

bacon2.jpg
And I switched to using a cooling grid for cooling and draining the bacon, instead of paper towels:

bacon3.jpg
And I've found the best technique for storing it is to put the bacon single layers in a zip-lock bag, separated by wax paper. This keeps the slices from freezing together into one big block of bacon.

bacon1.jpg
Update 10/24/2011: The cooking time varies greatly depending on your bacon, your oven, rack position, your pans, etc.. Here's the formula I've been using with Oscar Mayer thick cut bacon, since I can't get Vermont Smoke and Cure bacon here.

20 minutes at 400°F
Rotate the pans 180°F, keeping the top and bottom rack in the same position
4 minutes more, then remove the top pan
4 minutes more, then remove the bottom pan

Update 7/18/2012: I slightly modified the times again.