New Year's resolutions are usually like a Mission Impossible tape, designed to self-destruct: the goals too lofty and onerous to pursue for any length of time. That's one reason why I keep my resolutions simple and achievable.
So in 2017, I resolve to bake all my bacon.
This seems like a natural – I mean, the word "bake" is literally in the name of the food –but in the past, too many of us, myself included, have opted for pan-frying or, ugh, microwaving. This latter preparation technique is particularly undesirable because it seems to result in bacon that's limp, not crisp and disturbingly moist.
My son-in-law, Ben Grimes, recently turned me on to what I think is by far a superior technique for preparing sliced pork belly. This technique of baking bacon is not unheard of, of course, but many of us get into a set routine (especially in the morning) and if your routine involves preparing bacon, you might consider using the oven instead of a frying pan or microwave. Here's how to bake bacon in three simple steps:
1. Buy thick cut bacon. I use Hormel Black Label Thick Cut, available at any local Jewel. You can use thinner bacon, but thicker bacon seems to turn out especially well when baked.
2. Preheat oven to 350, put bacon on a baking sheet and cook for around 10 minutes; this slowly renders out the fat. You will want to use a rimmed baking sheet so that the fat doesn't flow off the pan and into your otherwise pristine oven. For a spicier rasher, give the bacon a good dusting with black pepper; the slight heat pairs beautifully with the sugar cured meat.
3. Crank oven to 400 and cook for around 5 minutes or so; this crisps up the bacon beautifully.
It's as simple as that, and because you don't have to turn the bacon, baking bacon requires even less attention than frying bacon in a pan.
You will be very happy with the end result of baking your bacon, and once you go baked, you won't go back.
In 2017, I will bake my bacon. So resolved.
It's good to set achievable goals for oneself, right?
Answer Book 2016
To view the full print edition of the Wednesday Journal 2016 Answer Book, please click here.
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