Last Updated on July 12, 2023 by Shari Mason
The aroma of bacon cooking is one of the most enticing smells to those who enjoy eating meat. Some cocktail menus even feature these cured pork belly strips as an ingredient.
However, to experience the savory smack of bacon strips, it should be perfectly cooked. Cooking bacon is easy – what’s confusing is how to know when bacon is done. So if you wonder the same, read on.
How To Tell If Bacon Is Done
You can tell that the bacon is fully cooked when it turns from light pink to golden brown meat and the fat has rendered out. Bacon is typically served crisp, but it’s OK to take the bacon pieces out of the pan while they’re still a little chewy if that’s how you like them.
But in most cases, well-cooked bacon turns golden brown with a crispy texture. Bacon is done when the edges start to curl from heat and moisture loss.
You can grill, fry, or dry-fry the sliced or striped meat, and depending on the thickness, bacon is cooked for about 20 to 30 minutes on average.
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Things to Look For
As the bacon cooks, the raw meat moisture will evaporate, which will cause the bacon slices to shrink. Also, the fat will melt and render away.
When this occurs, you’ll see the brinks of the bacon begins to crimp away from the edges of your frying pan. This is entirely normal, and you’re at the proper cooking method. As soon as the edges curl up, and you see the meat turned brown, the bacon strips are almost done.
Another thing to look for is texture. But this time, it depends on your own preference or desired texture. Some people prefer a higher level of crispness. As a result, you may only want to stop frying the bacon when it is almost brittle.
Generally, when bacon slices are slightly crispy, it is not done yet and needs more cooking time. But as soon as it’s firm and crisp, it’s done.
Chef Tip: You can use a knife or fork to test the bacon’s texture. Remember, crispier bacon; it’s already cooked. Soft to slightly crisp; that’s still undercooked.
Raw bacon has a slimy residue when you touch it. So, we suggest checking its moisture as you cook bacon.
Cooked bacon is nearly completely dry. It’s normal for the slices to be covered with bacon grease inside the pan. You need to remove them from the pan and blot them dry with paper towels. Then, you’ll see if the bacon is perfectly crisp and light.
As you perform the cooking process, bacon goes from pink to light brown and reddish brown color as it cooks. You can cook the bacon more if you prefer crispier slices, but if the color gets dark brown or black, you know it’s been overcooked and burned.
You don’t want burnt bacon, so be mindful of its color and how long you will heat the meat.
Do you find yourself tempted by the bacon’s fatty drip? Foam forms on the bacon when steam or hot air penetrates the grease or fat layer. The bacon is ready when it’s crispy and foamy. When you see foam, you know it’s time to flip the bacon to cook evenly on both sides.
Can Meat Thermometer Tell When the Bacon Is Done?
Due to the thin slices of bacon, it’s hard to get a reliable temperature reading. However, you can use an instant-read thermometer when cooking bacon with extra thick slices.
A temp of 145 degrees Fahrenheit or higher is recommended for cooking and achieving perfectly cooked bacon. But can you eat bacon right out of the package?
How Long Does It Need to Cook?
In the Oven
The finest way to cook bacon is in the oven. But first, you need to preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Then, spread the bacon out on the wire rack and place it on top of the baking dish or sheet pan (you can use a baking sheet or aluminum foil). Place it into your oven to start cooking.
You should cook regular-cut bacon for a minimum of 12 minutes. But if you have thick bacon strips, you can cook them for a minimum of 20 minutes.
Note: You should buy a rack specifically for meat products if you don’t already have one.
On the Grill
Grilling bacon is one of the favorite ways to cook bacon. You just need a solid cast iron skillet (hot skillet). The ideal time for cooking the bacon on the grill is around 7 to 8 minutes. For thick strips, 10 minutes is enough.
If you’re using gas grills, cook the bacon ins medium-high fire. And for those using charcoal grills, let the bacon cook on a medium-hot fire. Once done, drain the strips using paper towels to remove excess oil.
Kitchen Tip: You can also grill bacon over direct heat, indirect heat, or by using your microwave.
On the Stovetop
Cooking the bacon on your stovetop allows you to have complete control of the timing. However, you need to be attentive during the process.
You’ll need a cold skillet here, and ensure to position the strips in a single layer. Cook the cold bacon slices over low-medium heat. The time it takes to be cooked properly might take 7 to 12 minutes, depending on its thickness. Again, use a paper towel to drain excess fat after removing it from the skillet.
Is it OK to eat undercooked bacon?
Eating undercooked bacon is not safe to eat. It’s the same as eating other meat that’s raw, which can cause food poisoning .
What is the secret to crispy bacon?
The secret to crisply bacon is cooking it with water as the liquid keeps the temp in low heat. The meat keeps its moisture and will stay tender as the fats render. You can achieve crisp bacon that’s not brittle and dry .
You can tell when bacon is already cooked when you observe its color, texture, foaminess, and shape. A perfectly cooked slice of bacon is brown in color, with a not-so-dry texture and crimped edges, showing crispiness and foaminess.
The time of cooking and the method you use are also factors in achieving the doneness you want your meat to be – soft, crisp, or smoked bacon.
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