One of the best smells to come from the kitchen is cooking bacon. But the spattered grease and crusty skillet to clean up later are the pits. That’s why I bake mine instead of fry it.
I remember my parents talking about how they ran a cafe when they were first married. I think it was strictly breakfast and lunch, somewhere out in the oilfields of western Kansas. Mom started the day by baking 5 pies and dad was the fry cook serving up toast and eggs and minute steaks. Without really making a big deal of it, mom said how they put the bacon on sheet trays and baked it, which kept it completely flat and crisp and constantly at the ready for their ordering guests. It was like a bolt of lightning in my brain. “You baked the bacon?” That’s ingenious! We still can’t figure out why she stopped doing it after she left the cafe, but I am definitely one for learning from others and I was all in.
I have not fried a strip of bacon since.
It’s so liberating to wrap a sheet pan, lay out the bacon strips, stick it in the oven, and then move on to more important things, like a second cup of coffee.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and then forget about it. I usually let my nose tell me and just look through the oven window to tell when it’s done. You can set your timer for 25 minutes if you don’t trust yourself. Sometimes, if I am feeling extra maternal, I will flip the strips half way through, but it really isn’t necessary. If you use the extra thick bacon, this is a good idea though. I’ve seen recipes for a hotter oven, maybe 400 degrees and that works pretty well, but I think it’s a bit too hot in my kitchen. You should test your oven and your bacon for the best settings.
I remove the strips to a paper towel lined plate and we’re ready to eat.
I have seen others put the bacon on a wire rack up off the pan, but have not found that necessary. Plus, I despise washing a wire rack encrusted with grease and bacon bits. I will say, though, that if you are adding brown sugar glaze to it, you need that rack to keep the glaze from being too greasy.
Be sure to leave a smidge of space between each strip or they’ll weld themselves together. Otherwise, this is really hard to mess up.
I love the part about gathering up the greasy foil and tossing it in the trash. Slide the pristine sheet pan back in the pantry till next time. Wheee, that’s clean up I can get behind.