Have you ever woken up to the faint smell of bacon wafting into your room? Have you ever been walking down a hallway or been in a room and caught the whiff of the tantalizing smell of the world’s best carnivorous delight being fried? It’s almost as if you can already taste the crispy, salty goodness – you can imagine the taste, feel the thrill, live the moment.
That’s how it is right now with the Vancouver Canucks. We can taste the victory, smell the Stanley Cup, live the dream before it happens. Okay, admittedly my argument for a connection between hockey and bacon is a bit shaky at best but you read this far didn’t you?!
This month, rather than a full-fledged recipe I would like to talk about my many trials and tribulations in the advanced field of cooking bacon. Some people are fryers, some people are microwavers (shame on you lot)…I have seen bacon deep fried and (gasp) saw one idiot actually try to barbeque the stuff.
But I am here to attest that after years of trial and error, I think I have found the best method to consistently achieve that perfect strip of bacon. How? Roasting it off in the oven.
My method is simple and starts with a very hot oven (425 F degrees). I place a piece of parchment down on a simple cookie sheet and place a rack on top – I hate greasy messes, hence the parchment.
Now I personally believe that the best roasting results are achieved with room temperature meats going into a hot oven so as not to bring down the oven temperature when you place it inside. I position the bacon on the rack so each slice is as close together as possible without overlapping. The more rashers the better! You know each and every piece will disappear.
I am also a big believer that you can improve upon the taste of bacon by adding additional flavour. Wow – I can already hear the gasp, see the raised brows, eavesdrop on the snort of indignation from the bacon purists (you know who you are) that my comment has just caused.
The first step in flavour addition is to decide what you want to put on the bacon – another gasp from the crowd. Yes, I like to dress my bacon up a bit. I have been known to sprinkle white sugar on top before baking it off, I’ve tried cane sugar and I’ve tried a sprinkle of liquid smoke. I have also based it with maple syrup, balsamic reduction, Kahlua, barbeque sauce and even tried molasses. I have dusted it with things like garlic powder, granulated garlic, garlic salt, onion powder, curry powder, cayenne pepper, wasabi powder and even coriander and cumin. I’ve tried dousing it with pepper, paprika, blackening spices and honey, as well as grainy mustard, teriyaki sauce and thick soya sauce.
Don’t get me wrong – I am not espousing the idea that you absolutely must have some sort of flavour topper for your bacon; I’m just saying you should feel free to think outside the box now and then and experiment. At the very least simply try giving it a very small sprinkle of brown sugar with the tiniest pinch of cayenne pepper. Whatever you decide to try, rest assured that you really can’t go wrong. Then again my family would eat grass if I sprinkled bacon on top.
Place the bacon in the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes – don’t flip it, don’t move it around and don’t try sneaking a test piece as you will burn your tongue. I speak from experience. Remove the bacon and give it a few minutes to rest before removing it from the rack so it can firm up a bit. Serve and sit back and watch your family wallow in bacon bliss.
Until next time…