Fried or Baked?

Bacon is one of the best things you can do with a pig. (Ham and sausage being the other best things you can do with them. Outside of this, you’re on your own.)

But there’s a raging debate in me about how to best prepare bacon. That’s right; there’s not a “right” way to do this.

I know what you’re thinking – What, you don’t just throw the crap in a pan and fry it? To which I respond, No, I don’t, and if you read this post, you’d understand all the reasons that’s a bad idea. Just sayin’.

So, one of the best things you can do to bacon is to bake it. Bakin’ bacon. That rules. No spatter (on you, at least); easy clean-up with a little oven cleaner later; and you get bacon done right. Like it crisp? No problem. Like it a little chewier? No sweat. It’s awesome.

It does, however, seem to take longer. I think preheating the oven will help, but it’s still going to take time to get that stuff done. Slapping it in a frying pan seems to make the process go faster somehow.

So now, which do you prefer? Fried, or baked? Or have you ever even considered doing bacon another way? And do you have an alternative method of cooking something which seems out of the ordinary somehow?

I’m feelin’ my inner Emeril, people. Sound off; I wanna hear from ya.

-JDT-

All original content copyright 2010 DarcKnyt
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Makin’ Bacon

Bacon frying in bacon grease.

Bacon has personality, I learned this past weekend.

Actually, I already knew some of this, but I think it just occurred to me in glaring clarity this past weekend.  It came crashing home in crystal clear display and for the first time in my life I saw bacon as it truly is, bare of its hiding places and disguises, exposed, naked before me.

Yes, bacon has distinct personalities.  Plural.  There is more than one type of bacon.

First, there is the activist bacon.  This bacon protests the exploitation of bacon for use as food for humans.  It chooses to voice its dissatisfaction and disgruntled displeasure in non-violent, peaceful ways.  But it’s as difficult as it can be without rendering harm to anyone.  This is bacon which flops and twists in unexpected, difficult to manage ways when you try to flip it.  It will twist at the “waist”, so that one side of the bacon remains uncooked, and when you try to force the uncooked portion down, the other portion will flop and flip and twist in the most pathetic, irritating way possible.  This bacon seeks to make your experience with bacon so unpleasant you’ll never consider using bacon again.  The goal is to ruin your bacon association.  To make you balk and pass on bacon in the store as the protestor’s demonstration and PITA tactics call to your mind.  This bacon believes no matter how good it tastes it has the ability to turn you off of bacon forever, and if you succeed in cooking it, its ideals will spread, hopefully to your children as well as to other rashers of bacon, to indoctrinate a new generation of protestor bacon and people who are ingrained with how difficult bacon can be.  “No, I won’t flip!  You can’t make me!  You’re the establishment and I won’t cooperate!”  This bacon turns itself inside out, and may even injure or destroy itself as it attempts to stop you from successfully cooking it.  “You can cook me, but you can’t stop the movement!  We will overcome!  We will persevere!  We will not be made into your sandwiches, side dishes and garnishes!” The activist bacon thinks other bacon seeing its actions will be spurred into similar action, or at least made to feel guilty for not taking action, and will quietly succumb to its demands.  Activist bacon doesn’t realize how laughed at it is by other bacon slices, how disdained it is in normal, everyday bacon circles, and how little impact its actions truly have … in short, this bacon’s pretty irrelevant, no one cares, and in the end, it ends up as cooked and eaten as any other slices in the package.  But it’s going to make your life miserable in the process.

Second, there’s the illegal immigrant bacon.  This is bacon which sneaks into the package unnoticed, takes a place in the pan among the other rashers, but then refuses to do anything to be assimilated into bacon culture.  It won’t turn the same color, doesn’t cook at the same rate, and won’t cooperate and try to learn the language of the pan.  No, it wants the pan to learn the bacon language, and allow the bacon to remain just as it was in its packaging.  But it wants all the prestige and honor of the other, cooked bacon.  It wants all the benefits of being bacon in the pan, with grand and alluring aroma, succulent taste, mouth-watering appearance, but it wants those things to be given to it without having to do any of the other things the rest of the bacon has to do.  And, when you try to move or turn the bacon, it clings to the pan, screaming loudly for immunity, amnesty, it’s “rights” as bacon with all the other bacon in the pan, and won’t come cleanly off the metal surface.  Even in non-stick pans this bacon slice will hang on, force you to perhaps tear it, at which point it will cry for media attention about cruelty and injustice and show its injuries … and never tell how difficult and rude it was, how aggressive and demanding, how it forced the cook’s hand and utensil.  No, it wants to have a sob story while it clings to the pan and says it won’t go, it won’t leave, it deserves to be here and be treated just as all the legal bacon.  And, if it does rip into multiple pieces, it will scream all the harder: “Look!  I’ve had offspring!  In your pan! The children I’ve made are citizens of the pan and have all the rights of the pan coming to them!” Eventually, the cook will work the bacon free and it ends up the same as the others, but it’s always a challenge.  Always.

Finally, there is the terrorist bacon.  We’ve all encountered this bacon.  There’s a cell member in every package ever purchased.  You know the type – unassuming, seems normal, might even be a little more meaty and appealing than most other bacon slices.  You put it in the pan with the other slices, and everything’s going along swimmingly.  Then, you reach in to turn the bacon and … it strikes!  An explosion, loud, sudden, spraying bacon spatter and grease far and wide in the kitchen.  The porcine shrapnel flies farther than you could imagine, spraying bacon debris across your range and, if the plan was successfully executed, your person.  This is bacon with a suicide mission, with an ideology of hatred, declaring war on anyone and anything trying to cook bacon, eat bacon, or even in the vicinity of the pan.  This is bacon intent on destruction, and it’s looking to take out as many cooks and appliances and other rashers of bacon as possible when it goes.  It’s indiscriminate in its actions and doesn’t care about collateral damage.  This bacon’s not interested in reason, outcome, or peace.  It wants death and lots of it.  Preferably yours.

Still, for all the degrees of extremism in the pan, most bacon is pretty middle-of-the-road, ordinary, unconcerned and uninvolved bacon.  It sits nicely in the pan and cooks up delicious and ready for use, whether nestled snugly in a luxuriant bed of mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato and bread, or laid gently beside its longtime friend eggs.  Most bacon, the vast majority, in fact, is just bacon.

And despite the efforts of the others, this is the bacon we all remember when we think of bacon.  And we’ll always eat it.

Yum.  Bon appétit.

-JDT-

All original content © 2009 DarcKnyt
ALL rights reserved.