Saturday, March 2, 2013

14 Ways To Cook Bacon! Including My Favorite – In The Waffle Maker

waffle maker bacon

Vegetarians beware….I am talking bacon today. Nothing but bacon. I promise I will do a post about nothing but veggies SOON!  Pinkie swear!

But today I’m all about bacon.  Because my 17 year old son Kell has celiacs, we tend to eat a lot of protein around here. One of our favorite “dinners” is BREAKFAST….and breakfast to us always means BACON.

Over the years I’ve tried out a couple of different ways to cook bacon. Obviously pan-frying is one of them, but I get so tired of the grease splatter mess (not to mention the painful grease splatters on your hands!) Even with a splatter guard, grease seems to get everywhere! Then I saw Ina Garten from the Food Network cook bacon in the oven and I was SOLD! No more grease splatters! Unfortunately, my family was NOT sold, because it takes a LOT longer and they are an impatient bunch when they are hungry!

So when I saw another Food Network celebrity, Alton Brown, making bacon in a waffle maker I was intrigued! Could this be the best of both worlds?? No splatter? Fast cooking? I decided to give it a try because I was really craving a good BLT Sandwich!

 

waffle maker bacon

First, drag out the ol’ waffle maker. This one is ancient and very basic, but it’s all you need to get the job done. Preheat your waffle iron.

 

waffle maker bacon

Cut the strips of bacon in half, and put two 1/2 strips on each square of your waffle iron. Close the waffle maker and let cook for 3 to 4 minutes then check on their doneness.

 

waffle maker bacon

This is what they looked like about halfway through. If they aren’t done, close the waffle maker and check again in another 2 to 3 minutes.

 

waffle maker bacon

When the bacon is the color your like it, drain it on a towel.

The thing I really liked about cooking the bacon this way was how the grease drained right down into the waffle iron nooks and crannies and the bacon was pressed nice and flat so it all cooked very evenly.  Oh yeah…and no grease splatters!

 

Personally I think this is the perfect way to cook bacon! I mean look at that sandwich…only perfectly cooked bacon could make a sandwich that good lookin’! :-)

waffle maker bacon

My sandwich

waffle maker bacon

My son’s sandwich.

 

waffle maker bacon  

If you’re still unconvinced, or you just don’t like the idea of waffle-pressed bacon…here are some more ways I found people cooking their bacon:

In The Oven – Method #1

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Line a jelly roll sheet with aluminum foil for easy cleanup. Evenly space 6 slices of bacon in it.
Place an upside-down cooling rack over the bacon to keep them flat (as long as the cooling rack is slightly smaller than the sheet pan).
Roast for 6 minutes, turn pan 180 degrees, roast for another 6 minutes.
The result: flat, and evenly cooked bacon!

In The Oven – Method #2 

Same as above but put the bacon on TOP of the cooling rack, rather than under it. The fat will drip off, making your bacon super-crispy and lean.

In The Microwave

Flip a bowl upside down on a plate. Lay the bacon over the bowl. Cook for approximately 1 minute per piece of bacon. The plate catches the grease that drips down the bowl. Since the grease runs away from the bacon, it results in crispy, slightly “drier” bacon.

On The BBQ Grill

If you are making bacon burgers…cook your bacon right on the cooler part of the grill for about 5-7 minutes.

In The Smoker

Smoke bacon slowly (30 minutes plus) over hickory in a smoker or grill using rib racks to drape the bacon strips over.

In The Oven – Method #3

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with crinkled aluminum, lay the strips of bacon over that and cook for about 15-20 minutes. This makes clean up easy, and by crinkling the foil you allow the grease to pool away from the bacon.

In The Deep Fryer

One of the ways the pros do it….use a deep fryer. You can cook 5 or 6 strips of bacon in about 5 minutes without a big mess. Great if you like curly, chewy bacon.

In Bacon Fat

Every time you cook bacon, save the fat in a plastic container in the freezer. When you want to cook bacon, take the fat out of the container and melt in a cast iron frying pan over medium heat. Once the fat is liquid, add your bacon strips. Cook to desired degree of crispness. Blot with paper towels and eat! Once the bacon grease has cooled slightly, pour it back into its container, and freeze for next time. The bacon fat does not add any more grease to the finished bacon, but does add flavor, especially after several uses.

In The Oven – Method #4

Put bacon in a cold oven. Once it gets to 350 degrees, turn the bacon over. Set the timer for 4 minutes exactly and once it beeps it’s done.

In A Cast Iron Skillet, In The Oven

Put about 10 pieces of bacon in a 12-inch cast iron skillet and place it into a cold oven set to 425 degrees. Once the oven is hot, it will take about 7 minutes to cook. No need to flip, just cook to desired doneness and remove and place on a plate lined with paper towels. Total time from fridge to eating, about 25 minutes.

In The George Foreman Grill

A slight variation on the waffle maker. Use a George Foreman grill. No splattering, perfectly cooked on both sides and all the grease drains aways.

Stir-Fry Bacon

Same rules for pan frying apply. Put your bacon (12-18) slices in a cold saute pan set to medium heat.
As the pan heats up, the fact that you have so much bacon means that it renders more fat.
Using tongs, turn the bacon over until you can see it cooking through and evenly browning the strip.
Place the bacon on a wire rack over paper towels to drain and straighten the strips to get the nice even shape you want. (NEVER place directly on the paper towels)

Bacon In A Hurry

Put bacon on a cookie sheet and put it on the top oven rack for about 10 minutes under the broiler. Flip once!

 

waffle maker bacon

And as if that weren’t enough information about BACON….just a little more.  Here are some additional tips and tricks to get you to your bacon “happy place”:

 

  • To keep the bacon flat in the pan, run it under cold water first.
  • Par-cook a large batch of bacon when you have some extra time. Once the bacon has cooled, toss it in the freezer inside a plastic container. Then when you have a hankering for bacon but are short on time, a perfectly cooked strip of bacon is only 20 – 30 seconds away in the microwave. Finishing the last bit of cooking in a toaster oven on some foil works well too.
  • Add some fresh ground black pepper to your bacon while it’s cooking.

bacon fat

 

  • And last but not least……..DON’T THROW AWAY THE BACON FAT!

 

Some things to use your bacon fat for:

1) Seasoning your cast iron skillet.
2) Making cornbread.
3) Making collard greens.
4) Any recipe that calls for butter or oil to grease a pan.
5) Seasoning your grill.
There you go…..more than you ever wanted to know about cooking the perfect piece of bacon!

You can thank me by inviting me over for breakfast!


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92 thoughts on “14 Ways To Cook Bacon! Including My Favorite – In The Waffle Maker

  1. Laura McLaughlin

    I love bacon and pecans in my waffles. You just gave me a short cut. Cook the bacon in the waffle maker and no need to grease it again, just add batter and pecans and cook. Yum!

    Reply
  2. Kristi Tarnowski

    I love the George Forman grill idea (I don’t have a waffle maker) -I usually make it in the oven but that is still messy and we love bacon! Thanks for the ideas!

    Reply
  3. Andrea

    http://img0.etsystatic.com/013/0/7223935/il_fullxfull.424640280_3van.jpg

    I bought my sister something similar to the link (if it worked) in a pottery shop in Asheville and she uses it every day. She is a bacon fiend and requires and she loves the piece I dubbed the baconater. You drape the bacon over the sides of the “mug” and it cooks up crisp. Meanwhile the grease drips down to the “saucer portion”. And the the”gravy boat” style end makes forceasypouring into your grease container.

    Reply
  4. april yedinak

    I will have to try the waffle iron idea. I hate pan frying and I have given up on the oven because I got sick of having to scrub it after all the grease splatters..

    Reply
  5. Kelsey

    My father-in-law uses the bacon grease to fry breakfast potatoes. It is wonderful!! They come out with intense flavor and a crisp that is unmatchable. I highly recommend trying it out next time you cut up potatoes for breakfast.

    Reply
  6. Terri S

    oh, this is SO NOT FAIR—no bacon in the house, and now i’m craving it!!
    bacon is one of THE MOST delicious foods—i think i could eat it every day.
    i’m going to try the oven method next. i’ve read that to cook more at once, you can put bacon on two cookie sheets, top each with foil to catch grease splatter, and stack one sheet on top of the other—i can’t wait to try it!

    Reply
  7. Margaret

    My brother found himself share-parenting 4 growing boys who love bacon. For some reason his share of the kitchen gear included a large Dutch oven pot, but no frying pan. Being the resourceful guy that he is, he dumped the pound of bacon into the Dutch oven and turned on the heat.

    The high sides of the Dutch oven contained all the grease spatters and he ended up with perfectly cooked bacon.

    Our whole family has been using this method ever since.

    Reply
  8. Karen

    I’ve been using a George Forman for quite some time now and just love how it cooks the bacon. Now I’m going to share another way to cook bacon that my mother and grandmother used that gives it a whole new taste. Two ways to do this: 1st. is dip bacon strips in beaten egg, drain, then into seasoned flour then fry in a skillet. 2nd. just dip in cold water then the seasoned flour and fry. This is a good way to use some of your reserved bacon grease as it needs a “glob” in the skillet to fry as the bacon just doesn’t give up the grease cooked this way. Either way the bacon doesn’t shrink, it stays flat so it’s easier to eat or use on a sandwich. This sure stretches the bacon by not shrinking and we love the flavor the seasoned flour gives.

    Reply
  9. Sandy

    I am going to have to try this method. I have been baking it in the oven but it does take longer. Saw something on Pinterest for making BLT sandwiches that I used last time I cooked bacon in the oven – you kind of weave 4 pieces of bacon together and cook it that way. Fits perfectly on the bread.

    Reply
  10. Crystal

    I have another microwave method – place layer of paper towels on microwave safe plate. Lay bacon out on paper towels. Cover with another paper towel and cook til done. Towels absorb grease and bacon is able to crunch up

    Reply
    1. ahall

      I used the paper towel method for years when microwaves first came out. Works well. But I switched to a neat little plastic rack device invented by a Minneapolis teenager years ago and love it. Same idea as the bowl, which I will keep in mind for the future.
      BTW, bacon fat for potatoes is superb. Only thing better is duck fat ;-)

      Reply
  11. Emma

    I add bacon drippings and brown sugar to make my baked beans. That way you don’t have to buy the more expensive pre-seasoned beans, but come out with a more flavorful dish anyway.

    Reply
  12. Mary S

    I cook mine in the oven but don’t turn it and have never had a problem.If I need to fry it, I sprinkle a dab of salt in the pan to stop the popping and splattering.

    Reply
  13. Ann/alba

    Great Idea I have a George F grill that should work too…. If now I have been looking at waffle makers,
    Ooo and I thought I would share a couple of other uses for Bacon fat it makes the best roasted potatoes nice & brown & crispy. also mix some bird seed it it feed your outside pets.( as I dont have inside pets) I do enjoy watching the birds. I even leave treats for the squirrels. I use the tree by the creek for that family :-) dont really want then too close.
    Have a good one Ann/alba

    Reply
  14. Liz

    I detest the flavor of microwaved bacon; oven is too messy; have burned through several George Foreman’s and Cuisinart’s; used a panini grill for a while which works great but again hard to clean. If you are the lucky owner of a NuWave, it is PERFECT and easy to clean–win, win!

    Reply
  15. Kathy

    Ok–don’t kill me, but I wonder if you could do turkey bacon that way? It doesn’t have as much grease, and we’re trying to be healthier.

    Reply
    1. Alayna

      We only eat turkey bacon and have never had a problem cooking it any way that you cook regular bacon. It does cook up much faster. We put ours in the oven on broiler pan with the oven on a high broil and in 3-4 minutes, we have perfectly cooked bacon that we did not have to flip over.

      Reply
  16. Gail

    I don’t eat pork but one of the things I love about your daily post, Jill, is that even when it doesn’t apply to me, I know someone who will love it! I’m linking to this one for an all-things-bacon loving friend. Shabbat Shalom!

    Reply
    1. Jillee Post author

      That’s the spirit Gail!!! I’ve come to accept I’m not going to be able to please all the people, all the time….but I love that you recognize that too and are willing to think about someone ELSE who might appreciate it. Bless you. :-)

      Reply
  17. Deb E

    We cook bacon on the BBQ on a double layer tin foil sheet with the edges rolled up. We usually don’t reuse the bacon fat, so once the bacon is done we leave the tin foil on the BBQ to cool and just roll it up with the fat and discard. We like this the best as then you don’t have lingering bacon smell in the house long after.

    Reply
  18. Anne H

    Jill, come on over for breakfast! Or dinner if that is when you have more time. I bake my bacon on a rack, never turn it over and like the way it comes out so crispy. Sometimes I even sprinkle it with a tiny bit of brown sugar. I also bake eggs in muffin cups to go along with the bacon. Hey, if the oven is on and I want a full breakfast, including biscuits, why not? So, come!

    Reply
    1. Jillee Post author

      On my way!!! I’m DYING for a big breakfast right now! These granola clusters I’m eating just aren’t cutting it while I’m reading about all these delicious ideas for bacon! lol

      Reply
  19. Nancy

    OMG! Now I want bacon! LOL! I have been using the oven method ~ you can cook a large amount of bacon at one time and either freeze some or just eat it all! LOL! Especially good when cooking for a crowd! But I’m liking the grill method. Another use for my grill! Thanks Jillee! P.S. I love your blog – I look forward to it each and every day! And I share it with everyoone I know! :-)

    Reply
  20. deb

    Similiar to Crystal’s. Lay bacon slices on a layer of paper towels on a paper plate. put another layer of paper towels and more slices going crosswise. Do thisas many time as you need to. Cook 1 min per slice. Quickest in the west for a hungry group!
    *hugs*deb

    Reply
  21. cty

    Jillee–I think you are causing a run on bacon.
    Waffle Iron method sounds good- but what is clean up like. When I had a Forman grill I used that.
    So on line I found a Trick for BLT’s etc–Tried it and have mixed reviews– Weave strips together to form a woven square & then cook. I did this in my large skillet to keep an eye on it. Some pros are that the bacon stays put on the sandwich–no escapees–bacon in every bite; easy to flip: low maintenance to cook & then to drain–(didn’t really need my eye on it) I liked the concept. Made a great Turkey Club sandwich. Filled me up and super satisfied my craving. Cons: Overlap spots were not as crispy as I like; took longer to cook; uses way more bacon this way; takes time to weave. Next time: cut strips in half before cooking, try it in my cast iron grill pan & press in the oven, weave right in the pan. Would be good to make a head for BBQ’s–then just heat on grill. I can already see my glassy eyed boys building their bacon cheeseburgers.
    Don’t see why the waffle iron or panini maker wouldn’t work. I may try the Dutch oven stove top method too.

    Reply
  22. Lisa

    Bacon grease is wonderful to cook up some spinach! I usually cook some onions in the grease first then toss in a few handfuls of spinach for a quick side dish.

    Reply
    1. Sharon

      To the hot grease, add a bit of apple cider vinegar, a couple of pinches of sugar and a pinch of salt and you have a wonderful hot dressing for fresh spinach/leaf lettuce (I always slice green onions and crumble some bacon into the greens). Let it simmer for a minute or two and then pour over the greens. It wilts the greens so nicely. For a full meal salad I sometimes add sliced mushrooms and diced hard boiled eggs. YUMMMMM!

      Reply
      1. Lori

        Wow, I never thought I’d like hot bacon dressing but THIS sure sounds good!!! I know my mom does, so I will definitely share it with her! Thanks Sharon.

        P.S. I also do a whole pack of bacon in the oven, cover it with tinfoil and turn it all over with tongs. I used to make sure they were all flat but not anymore!
        Thanks Jillee, my son will reap the benefits of this post.

        Reply
  23. Jimbo

    I have done this for years.. however. .you have left out the BEST!! . .When the bacon is done.. (cook it in the morning .. reheat later).. leave a piece on each side of the waffle iron.. pour over with waffle batter.. close and bake!.. OH. the waffles with bacon are GRRRRR eat!.. don’t miss this one!.. LOL..

    Reply
  24. Kay

    Unfortunately, my waffle iron is small and round. Don’t think it would work very well. And I gave my George Foreman away because I never used it. I was trying to get rid of so much stuff on my countertop. I do have one of those new Ninja cookers. I might have to try using that.

    Sometimes I get the bacon that is pre-cooked if it’s on sale. It’s fast, easy, and less messy. Otherwise, I put up with the mess and burn a candle to get rid of the smell. I have to cook it on the stove once in a while to get my bacon fat. I always keep some in the refrigerator. I use in most of my veggies — beans, corn, potatoes, cabbage, etc. It’s the GRITS (girl raised in the south) in me!

    Reply
  25. Connie

    I learned years ago from Navy cooks that they cooked bacon in the oven…cookie sheet cover with foil and mold it so none of the grease goes into the pan but stays in the foil. Lay out the bacon strips, put in a cold oven 375º for 30 mins, check for your degree of doneness, remove from oven, prop up on side so grease pools in one half of sheet on foil…move bacon away from grease…put it on paper towels to absorb grease…wrap it in clean paper towels and place in container or plastic bag and FREEZE…you can nuke it when ready or just place in hot griddle for a few seconds and you’re DONE. that foil can be molded to one corner with a “pouring spout” and into your bacon drippings container it goes… If the drippings are hot and you’re container is glass, then place a spoon in the container first and then pour…glass will not break!

    Reply
  26. Laurat99

    My mom made an awesome side dish with bacon; Fry a skillet full of bacon, add 1/2 cup each vinegar and sugar and cook until combined. Add 3 cans green beans and let simmer. Yum!

    Reply
  27. Mickey

    addition to Oven Method #2: After placing bacon on top of a cooling rack, place a second cooling rack upside down on the bacon. This prevents the bacon strips from curling up.

    Reply
  28. Mindy

    If you cook on stoneware, you can put a pound of bacon on your large stoneware with a lip (Pampered Chef sells a Large Bar Pan that is perfect for this) and put it in the oven @ 350, no turning required…25-28 minutes…while it’s baking, you can fix the rest of your meal (eggs, pancakes, etc). Everything gets done at the same time and you are good to go!

    Reply
  29. Vivian

    Have you tried the Nu Way countertop oven? It is amazing for bacon. Fries it up nice and the grease drips down into the bottom. You do have to turn it but it works great for bacon and I use it nearly every day to cook something.

    Reply
  30. Teri

    I use the stir-fry method on top of the stove, but in bite-sized pieces! I take the whole slab and slice it through in about 2-3″ pieces, starting at the ends. Then I stir-fry what I want and freeze the rest. It’s always easy to pull out 1-2 servings to cook and much easier to bite into BLTs!

    Reply
  31. JEANNIE ROYACK

    WE TRY (OPERATIVE WORD IS TRY ) to eat “clean” and as such, I keep away from butter or “fake” spreads. When we make bacon, which is a lot of the time< I save the rendering and use that to saute my proteins—yum. Thanks for all of your great ideas. Jeannie

    Reply
  32. Mimi

    I like crisp bacon anyway you want to prepare it. My most loved bacon yummy is a bacon sandwich made by spreading grape jelly on toast with several slices of bacon. Toast,jelly,bacon, then toast.
    No need for butter.

    Reply
  33. Leola Gajeski

    Haven’t tried it yet, but was told to use bacon grease to pop popcorn. This person said it is the best ever popcorn. I bought bacon today-to try it.

    Reply
  34. Marilope

    We also love bacon ….Cut bacon in half, put one sheet of paper towels on a paper plate, line your bacon on the paper towel, cover with another paper towel. Place in microwave about 2 minutes, it comes out very crispy and well cooked. The time depends on how many pieces of bacon you are cooking. We do around 4 slices that has been cut in half. Two minutes is great.

    Reply
  35. meenakshi

    I’m a regular & avid reader of your posts, And the comments that experienced followers add !

    My question is regarding Washing / Cleaning the waffle maker. I have an Electric Nonstick panini maker & have constant inklings that the odors remain or that the grill is not clean after use.

    Jillee, could you Please help out with suggestions, advice or a full post on this topic –
    How to keep Nonstick/Teflon-coated pans & cookware clean, without damaging the teflon coating, for a longer life?

    Thanks a heap.
    Your blog has made my life so easy, my chores so pleasurable, & my house squeaky clean [I'm still in the process, though], & mind stress-free :-)

    Reply
    1. Rachel

      I sprinkle baking soda on mine to soak up any leftover grease/residue and then scrub any troublesome spots with a clean, soft toothbrush that’s slightly damp. Then I just wipe the goo off with a damp paper towel. Ours has been going strong for about 7 years.

      Reply
      1. Jillee Post author

        great idea Rachel! I usually pour the grease out into another container and put it in the fridge then lay a wet dish towel on the waffle iron and close it while it’s still hot. When it’s cool I just come back and wipe it all off.

        Reply
        1. meeanakshi

          Thank you Rachel & Jillee :-)

          I, too, put a piece of damp scrap cloth over the hot grill & shut. However, some odor [probably Before I started this wet cloth cleaning] still remains.
          This time I’ll sprinkle some baking soda as well.

          Have a nice day !

          Reply
  36. Jody

    I have a little thing called Making Bacon that you hang your slices of bacon on. Put paper towel over top and pop in microwave for 3 min or so. No mess, no splatter and bacon grease goes into bottom of it as it cooks so you can save the grease or pitch it! It comes apart and goes in dishwasher. Love it!

    Reply
  37. Nicole

    Awesome tips from everyone but the most exciting part of today’s blog is all positive comments! I guess bacon really brings out the best in people! Honestly, reading nothing negative is so encouraging! :)

    Reply
  38. Jen-Jen

    I am cooking 6 slices of bacon in my CROCKPOT right now as we speak, which I greased first with unclarified ghee. I imagine I could have placed some crumpled up tinfoil in there to allow the bacon grease to pool away from the bacon, so I may try that next time. I will keep the old grease to do many things, like pan-fry hash browns or country potatoes or baby portabello mushrooms, or stir-fry egg fried rice like my mom used to do with bacon grease, or grease my waffle iron. I want to try that waffle iron idea. I usually cook anything outside that emits grease! so it doesn’t get all over everything!

    Reply
  39. Amber

    I’ve seen an idea on Pinterest where you cook hashbrowns in your waffle maker. How amazing would that be to cook your hashbrowns in the bacon grease left behind from this method! I must try this soon! Maybe the hashbrowns would make cleanup easier?

    Reply

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