Cooking bacon without smelling up the house and making a mess

I love bacon and I use it a lot in my cooking.  Not necessarily for breakfast, but mostly as a topping for foods.  When bacon is used in small amounts it adds tremendous flavor without endangering your health.  But the thought of cooking a small amount of bacon for a meal seems like a lot of work.  How can we make the occasional use of bacon convenient.

Here are a couple of suggestions:  First of all - always cook your bacon in large quantities.  Even though you’re not going to be using it in large amounts you should always prepare in volume because you are reducing the work time.  Cook at least one full package at a time.  All the bacon you precook can be put in ziploc bags, frozen and used later.  It keeps for months.

The second problem with bacon is the lingering smell.  And here’s a way to fix that; something I learned at cooking school.  To reduce the smell of frying bacon, don’t fry it at all, but bake it instead.  Take the strips of bacon and lay them individually on a cookie sheet.  Place the sheet in a preheated hot oven, about 400 degrees.  Let the bacon cook in the oven until it’s crispy.  You don’t need to turn the slices or anything.  When it gets to the crispiness you want, pull the sheet from the oven and drain the fat.  It’s that simple.  I like to save the fat for other uses so I will pour it into an airtight container and keep it in the fridge for soups, flavoring pasta dishes and beans.  I’ll just use it in place of regular butter and oil to add flavor to foods.

When the bacon is precooked and portioned, it then becomes convenient to use.  When you want some for a topping, all you have to do is pull a few slices from the freezer and warm them in the microwave.  It couldn’t be easier.

Some people are happy with the results of microwaving bacon.  Personally I think the micorwave is great for reheating the precooked bacon but it isn’t the best option when cooking a good grade of smoked, raw bacon.  It tends to over cook some spots and undercook others.  You also loose the opportunity to use the fat.  The oven method also gives you better control of the crispiness and I just believe that it treats the meat in a more worthy manner.

For more tips and recipes like this, check out The Breakfast Book

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