At the beginning of last week, Alton Brown tweeted a missive that would eventually go viral.
“Could someone help me with a culinary question,” the “Good Eats” star asked. “What is ‘leftover bacon?'”
Of course, this question could be extended to any food that elicits fervid, impassioned loyalty. If and when you eat something that you truly enjoy, is it actually possible to leave leftovers behind?
I recall the time I was at a friend’s for breakfast, and she took out a frying pan to make bacon for us. I watched in quiet horror as she flippantly added an inexplicable amount of bacon to a pan, cranked the heat to high and stirred it around a few times. She then placed a plate on the table that consisted of flabby, unappetizing bacon with a few char marks.
For whatever reason, I’ve always had an innate distaste for bacon that is flaccid or not teeth-shatteringly crispy in any way. My dad — always a passionate proponent of IHOP and breakfast at large — would only ever order bacon “well done.” (My parents would also only ever order pizza in the same exact manner.)
This proclivity was passed down to my brother and me. In the early days of the pandemic, I would make bacon often, filling the house with its familiar aroma.
I schewed many forms of meat years back; as my friend hastily put it, I had effectively given up consuming any and all “four-legged animals.” But I’m still adamant that there’s one and only one way to cook bacon, no matter if you’re making pork, beef, turkey or vegan bacon.
The latter variety is, of course, devoid of any and all animal-derived ingredients. Nowadays, bacon operates in a much more inclusive realm, with alternative options on offer at practically every supermarket. I digress . . .
Let’s focus on bacon. I have a trick for making better bacon, but what is it?
Two words: cold oven. Trust me, do not preheat the oven. I promise you’ll thank me later.
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Food is an incredibly personal and individualistic enterprise. If you’re fond of bacon that is stretchy and fatty (uffa!), then make it to your own taste. Up until I stopped eating pork, this was the only way I’d ever enjoy bacon at home. So, why not give this method a try? Bonus: It also makes cleanup a lot easier.
A final thought about bacon: It comes by way of @cleverlychloe on Twitter, who recently re-shared a TikTok video by user @mskatthomas that shines a light on a timeless question. it quiet befuddles me whenever I think of it, but why the heck is bacon packaging so incredibly un-user-friendly?
In an ideal world, big bacon would roll out resealable packaging this still new year. Until then, grab some foil or reusable food storage bags because you’ll likely have some uncooked bacon left over after making this recipe.
Though, if Brown is right, does leftover bacon even exist?
Best Ever Sheet Pan Bacon
- 1 package bacon of choice (pork, beef, turkey, vegan, so on and so forth), thick-cut preferred
- 1/4 high-grade pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon white miso
- Dash of cayenne or crushed red pepper flakes, optional
- On your largest sheet tray, lay out individual slices of bacon in a single layer, with as little overlap as possible. If you’d like, lay down parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, though it’s not necessary.
- In a small bowl, combine the maple syrup, white miso and your spice of choice until smooth and mixed well.
- Using a pastry brush, lather the mixture across every slice of bacon.
- Place in a cold oven, turn the heat to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and don’t open the oven for 20 minutes.
- When the aroma is especially alluring, check the bacon. Note that it will crisp even further as it cools. If you’d like, let cook another 3 to 5 minutes.
- Remove the sheet pan from the oven. Wait a minute or two, then transfer the bacon to a ceramic or glass dish. (Do not transfer to a napkin or paper towel.) Drain the bacon grease into a small bowl before it solidifies on the pan. Reserve for another use.
- Let the bacon sit for about 5 minutes.
- Eat with reckless abandon.
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