How to Cook Perfect BaconCourse: BreakfastCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy
As the Executive Chef of a banquet center for 2 years who frequently prepared breakfast for 1000+ people, I know a bit about cooking bacon. So, trust me when I say making your bacon in the oven on a sheet pan is the way to go.
I also need to dispel a food blogger myth that circulates periodically. The secret to sheet pan bacon is NOT starting it in a cold oven. This blogger lore comes from an Alton Brown recipe where he places bacon on a wired rack that sits inside a sheet pan and starts cooking it in a cold oven instead of preheating it. The rationale is that when rendering fat from protein, it’s best to do it over low heat so that the protein doesn’t overcook before releasing all its fat. This is true when cooking bacon and other fatty meats on the stovetop. But the ambient heat from the oven doesn’t pose such a risk.
I’ve placed my sheet pan bacon in both a cold and preheated oven and the end result is almost identical. The only difference is that it takes longer when placed in a cold oven. The REAL secret to awesome bacon is draining the fat (which is why Alton uses the wire rack) and flipping the bacon at least twice during the cooking process (3x for extra crispy bacon).
So back to the sheet pan. The one I recommend you use is called a half sheet pan (because they are half the standard size used in restaurants). A half sheet pan fits standard home ovens perfectly. Also necessary is pre-cut parchment paper to fit snugly inside sheet pan.
1 lb bacon, thick cut
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees (F) and line a half sheet pan (18×13) with parchment paper. Lay each piece of bacon horizontally in pan. It’s okay if they overlap slightly, but don’t overcrowd the pan. I find 12 pieces to be the ideal amount. If you have pieces left over, freeze them or save them for something else. Once oven is at 375 (or close), put pan in the oven and set a timer for 40 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove pan, and using tongs to hold bacon, carefully drain fat into a bowl or other safe receptacle. Flip bacon, rearrange in one layer, and return back to oven. Perform the drain and flip twice more, at ten minute intervals. When 40 minutes is up, you should have perfect bacon. (Time will vary slightly depending on thickness of bacon). Remove bacon from pan and drain on paper towels.