Cast Iron Pans Cast iron pan owners swear by them for their even dispersal of heat and non stick nature. However, iron is not as happy go lucky as other metals. Initially, the pan must be seasoned with vegetable oil in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for at least an hour. Each time you heat the pan with oil, it will season till it obtains a beautiful dark color. Don't wash off the black patina thinking it is dirty. In fact, never use soap or scour the pan or you will remove the essence of the pan. Dry your iron pan on the stove with medium heat but watch it so it doesn't burn.
My Favorite Pan My favorite pan is a twenty dollar cast iron pan. I remember vividly how my step-father coveted his iron pan and warned us about not using soap to clean it. Seasoned and maintained properly, an iron pan can last forever. It is better than any non stick pan and far more durable. It's thick base holds heat better than any pan in my arsenal and prevents food from burning by dispersing the heat.
Who doesn't love a crispy piece of bacon. Trouble is, it curls up in a pan and doesn't cook evenly. Direct heat really isn't the best choice for cooking bacon anyhow. An oven does a much better job at evenly heating from all sides. My wife is the official bacon tester in the house and she approves of this technique. Bacon comes out beautifully flat and crispy from end to end every time.
It's important to get good quality bacon but also well sliced bacon. People don't always think about the slicing. Bacon is bacon, right? I have bought store brands before and gotten thin, regular and thick sliced all in one package... ouch! That translates to unevenly cooked bacon. I've had great luck with the Farmer John brand. The classic bacon is equal to a regular slice fore which this recipe is geared towards. I know it says "thick cut" on the image but it's the best one I could find lol. Find your brand and it won't let you down.
The technique is pretty simple. Lay down some foil and place the bacon evenly across the Jelly Roll Pan. I get 13 slices with the Farmer John brand, which fits perfectly in the pan. You have to scrunch up the bacon a little to fit several slices on the side but it's worth the effort. The bacon will shrink and straighten out during the cooking process. Try to make sure the slices don't overlap too much.
If you zoom in on the uncooked backed, that's not dirt... hahaha. Plain bacon is fine, I just love pepper. You can also try sprinkling on brown sugar or even diced jalapeño. Sometimes it's nice to spice up your bacon and other times you just want straight up bacon. Variety is the spice of life! If you have a favorite bacon topping, let me know in the comments below :)
In a preheated 400 degree Fahrenheit oven, cook the bacon for 15 minutes. Remove the bacon and flip. Flipping is a key part of this technique. The bacon will crisp faster on the bottom. Cook for another 5 minutes and flip again. Finish up with 5 minutes more cooking or a total of 25 minutes. Ovens vary so you keep an eye on your bacon as you remove it each time. You may need to cook it less or more than indicated here.
Remove the bacon from the oven and place it on paper towels to soak up the extra grease. Do not cover or you will steam the bacon. Reserve the bacon grease for cooking if you like. I always use some of it to cook my breakfast potatoes. Bumps up the flavor more than you think. Don't be scared of a little bacon grease.
The other great thing about this technique is you don't have to clean all the bacon grease from your range, your back splash and even your hood. Cleaning your oven is easy, just use the self clean option! Mine turns everything into white dust, even the built up grease. I just sponge off the bottom of the oven when it's done cleaning.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Use the bake setting or convection bake if you have a convection oven.
Line it Up!
Place foil in jelly roll pan and place bacon evenly across the pan. Scrunching the bacon may be necessary to fit it all on the pan.
Cook & Flip
Cook for 15 minutes. Flip the bacon and rearrange if some pieces are cooking faster than others. Cook 5 minutes and flip again. Cook 5 minutes to finish. Ovens vary so you may need to experiment with length of time.
Remove & Rest
Remove the bacon and place on paper towels. Let rest for 5 minutes before eating. Reserve bacon grease if you like to cook with it.