Monday, August 6, 2012

Vacation Guy Part 2: Bacon!

So, I was channel surfing a couple weeks ago and came across a reality show featuring Kendra Wilkinson (one of the "Girls Next Door") and her husband Hank Baskett called "Kendra On Top". In the scene that caught my eye Hank was making breakfast and seemed a bit flustered keeping track of the bacon while managing other bits and pieces.

He was, of course, frying the bacon on the stove top. This technique produces perfectly adequate bacon but it's messy, a little dangerous (especially with a toddler running around), and requires constant attention. There's a better way. Use your broiler. Here's how:
  1. Move your oven's top rack to the second or third level from the top. If I'm making breakfast for more than just me, I'll use the third level since the bacon will cook more slowly and I'll have time for other tasks.
  2. Turn the broiler on high.
  3. Three for Me
  4. Lay the bacon in a single layer on a jellyroll or sheet pan with high sides. This one is a "quarter sheet". The larger "half sheet" pan can accommodate a dozen slices.
  5. Second or Third Level
  6. Pop the pan under the broiler, close the door and come back in 5 minutes to check on it's progress. In my oven the first side takes about 6-7 minutes to get to the point I like it. 
  7. Turn
  8. Carefully remove the pan from the broiler and turn the bacon. The flip side will still look almost raw. Try to get it to lay flat. Any bits that stick up will tend to get scorched.
  9. Put the pan back under the broiler this time for about 2 minutes. This is where you do have to pay a little bit of attention since bacon can go from perfectly crisp and tender to burned very quickly.
  10. When it's cooked to your taste, carefully remove the pan from the broiler and transfer your perfect bacon slices to paper towels to drain.
Now... you've got a sheet pan full of bacon grease. You were going to dump it, right? Don't. Grab a clean canning jar and strain the fat into it. Pop on the lid and stick it the 'fridge. Why? Modern breakfast sausage doesn't have enough fat in it to make cream gravy. A couple tablespoons of your carefully stored bacon fat makes a great base for the roux. That recipe will have to wait until Beth gets back from Las Vegas since she's the one who makes the biscuits.

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