Bacon is the biggest cliche in cooking these days. We all know we’re obsessed and talk about it too much, but we all know it’s worth it too. Bacon may just really be the best thing to happen to life since, well, life itself. So, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk bacon.

There are three ways to cook sliced, cured pork belly—the magic stuff we call bacon. At least, there are three methods you can easily try at home. Two produce similar results; one is an easy, forget-it way to make a lot of bacon at once.

The cast iron skillet method and griddle method both require the occasional flip, and a little attention. But both can quickly crisp up bacon in a snap. You’re only limited in your bacon making adventures by the size of the pan. What’s the difference between the two? Cast iron skillets hold their heat better, and can help create a crispier slice of bacon. In fact, if you're like me, you have a cast iron skillet that is seasoned with bacon fat, especially reserved for cooking bacon. I may have a bacon problem.

CAST-IRON-SKILLET BACON

FOR SOFT BACON

  1. Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium-low heat. Wait 20 minutes for the griddle to get hot. Add the bacon in a single layer, taking care not to crowd the pan, and cook on one side until the fat begins to render out and the bacon shrinks, about 5 to 10 minutes. Check the underside for browning. Flip once the underside begins to change color. Cook for another 5 to 10 minutes, or until the fat on both sides begins to change color slightly. Remove from the skillet and let drip on a paper towel.

FOR CRISPY BACON

  1. Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium-low heat. Wait 20 minutes for the griddle to get hot. Add the bacon in a single layer, taking care not to crowd the pan, and cook on one side until the fat begins to render out and the bacon shrinks, about 5 to 10 minutes. Check the underside for browning. Flip once the underside begins to change color. Cook for another 5 to 10 minutes, or until both sides begin to brown slightly. Flip again to keep the bacon from browning too much on one side. Continue cooking until the fat turns a deep gold/tan color, flipping as necessary to prevent over-browning. Remove from the skillet and let drip on a paper towel.

Griddle-Top BACON

FOR SOFT BACON

  1. Heat a griddle to 350°F or over medium-low heat. Wait until the griddle is heated, about 10 minutes. Add the bacon in a single layer, taking care not to crowd the pan, and cook on one side until the fat begins to render out and the bacon shrinks, about 5 to 10 minutes. Check the underside for browning. Flip once the underside begins to change color. Cook for another 5 to 10 minutes, or until the fat on both sides begin to turn color slightly. Remove from the skillet and let drip on a paper towel.

FOR CRISPY BACON

  1. Heat a griddle to 350°F or over medium-low heat. Wait until the griddle is heated, about 10 minutes. Add the bacon in a single layer, taking care not to crowd the pan, and cook on one side until the fat begins to render out and the bacon shrinks, about 5 to 10 minutes. Check the underside for browning. Flip once the underside begins to change color. Cook for another 5 to 10 minutes, or until both sides begin to brown slightly. Flip again to keep the bacon from browning too much on one side. Continue cooking until the fat turns a deep gold/tan color on both sides, flipping as necessary to prevent over-browning. Remove from the skillet and let drip on a paper towel.

Oven-Cooked Bacon

For Soft Bacon

  1. Preheat an oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Arrange the bacon on the foil in a single layer.
  2. Place the bacon in the oven and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the fat begins to change colors. Remove from the oven and transfer the bacon to paper towels to drip dry.

For Crispy Bacon

  1. Preheat an oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Arrange the bacon on the foil in a single layer.
  2. Place the bacon in the oven and cook for 15 to 25 minutes, or until the fat turns a deep gold/tan color color. Remove from the oven and transfer the bacon to paper towels to drip dry.


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