Ah yes, bacon. The universally acknowledged cornerstone of any balanced breakfast. Or lunch. Or dinner. Or, for the truly audacious among us, a midnight snack. This marvel of modern gastronomy deserves a preparation method that’s as refined as its salty, crispy, mouthwatering essence.
Now, I’m sure you’ve attempted to fry bacon on a stovetop at least once in your life. But let’s be real—unless you enjoy grease splatter that doubles as an aggressive exfoliation treatment, that method is as outdated as your grandma’s landline phone. The true culinary wizards among us have discovered a more arcane method, a method that harnesses the elemental power of fire and air to elevate bacon to its highest form: Cooking it in the oven.
Step 1: Preheat The Oven
The first, and most challenging step in this venture is to preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C). You can also opt for 375°F (190°C) if you’re the cautious type who still uses training wheels on your bike. Ah, the choices! Don’t be afraid to take a deep breath here; preheating the oven is, after all, a sacred ritual that tells the universe, “Yes, I’m serious about bacon.”
Step 2: Line That Baking Sheet
Grab a baking sheet. If it’s a shiny, pristine sheet, it won’t be for long. Your oven is about to see some action. Now, line this future hero with parchment paper or aluminum foil. This layer will serve as the catcher’s mitt for the bacon’s grease, lovingly cradling all that liquid gold. Your future self will thank you when you don’t have to scrub away your sins (and the burnt grease).
Step 3: Summon Your Bacon
Ah, here it is—the pièce de résistance. Retrieve your package of bacon and prepare to unshackle the porcine strips from their vacuum-sealed prison. You don’t need any fancy bacon. No, even the most generic brand will do. Remember, bacon is like a pet — it’s not about pedigree; it’s about how much love you give it.
Step 4: The Great Unfurling
It’s time to lay out the bacon on the prepared baking sheet. Now, I know this might be tempting, but let’s not pile bacon strips on top of each other like they’re attendees at a bacon rave. No, each piece deserves its own space to dance and sizzle. Social distancing rules apply here: one strip per space. If you can’t fit all your bacon on a single sheet, congratulations — you’ve just discovered the reason baking sheets were invented. Use two.
Step 5: Spice It Up (Or Don’t, I’m Not Your Mom)
Some people like their bacon like they like their romance novels — plain and straightforward. But if you’re an adventurous soul, this is your moment to shine. Sprinkle some black pepper, or if you’re feeling ritzy, perhaps a little brown sugar or maple syrup. Just remember, bacon is already perfect; you’re merely gilding the lily here.
Step 6: The Waiting Game
Alright, you’ve made it this far, which means it’s finally time to slide that meticulously prepared sheet of bacon into your preheated oven. Like a treasure chest being lowered into the depths of the sea, your bacon is embarking on an adventure it will never return from — unless you forget the timer and it turns into charcoal, but we won’t talk about that.
Set your timer for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on how crispy you want your bacon to be. If you set it for less time, you’re just making warm, rubbery meat. If you set it for more time, well, you’re probably someone who likes to watch the world burn. Choose wisely.
Step 7: The Art of Doing Nothing
This is the part where you do absolutely nothing. You may feel the urge to flip the bacon midway, but let me save you from a lifetime of regret: Don’t. Oven-baked bacon is a self-sufficient teenager; it doesn’t need you micromanaging its life. Just let it do its thing. It will curl and crisp all on its own, like magic but with more saturated fats.
Step 8: Safety First, Or Second — You’ve Already Been Playing with Fire
When your timer starts singing the sweet symphony of ‘your bacon is ready,’ equip your most valiant oven mitts. You’re about to retrieve molten piggy gold. Once the baking sheet is out, use tongs to gently lay your bacon strips on a paper towel. The paper towel will absorb the extra grease, making your bacon just the right amount of unhealthy.
Step 9: The Final Countdown
Before you delve into this culinary masterpiece, let your bacon sit for about a minute or two. This is like the end credits of a movie. You don’t want to leave the theater (or the kitchen) without paying proper respects to the artistry before you.
Step 10: The First Sacred Bite
Ah, the moment has arrived. You’ve journeyed far and wide — or maybe just to your kitchen and back — but here you are. Take a bite. That crisp texture, the melody of salt and fat; it’s a siren’s song for your taste buds. Now, look around your kitchen, littered with parchment paper, empty bacon packaging, and a dollop of brown sugar that missed its mark. Isn’t it all worth it?
Conclusion: You’ve Done the Impossible
You’ve done it. You’ve cooked bacon in the oven, the method so groundbreaking it’s been passed down from like, at least a few generations or a couple of YouTube videos. Feel free to bask in your culinary triumph, write a sonnet about it, or just eat more bacon. You’ve earned it.
So next time someone questions your cooking skills, or you find yourself in a philosophical debate about the best bacon cooking techniques, you can now raise your hand — or better yet, a bacon strip — and declare, “Oven-baked is the only way, you heathens.”