What would life be like without bacon? It adds a touch of salty deliciousness to so many dishes. It’s so popular that last year Americans spent around $5 billion on it!
Have you ever considered how it is made and if you even need to cook it?
Most industrially produced bacon today is wet-cured. This means that several curing ingredients are blended to make brine. These include salt, sugar, sodium nitrate, and several other chemicals.
The raw pork is injected or soaked in this brine then sometimes smoked as well for extra taste. Usually, though, the “smoking” is done with liquid smoke.
First of all, yes, bacon does need to be cooked. The curing process does not cook it but merely flavors and preserves it for longer.
How To Tell If Bacon Is Cooked Enough?
There are a few things that you need to consider while cooking the bacon so you will know if it is cooked properly. Namely, the texture, color, shape, and moisture content.
Not to mention the delicious aroma that permeates the entire house when bacon is fried!
How to Cook Bacon
The best way to cook bacon is the traditional way… on the stovetop in a frying pan. Cast iron pans are great for this purpose, especially the ones that have ridges that drain the fat away.
You can use a basting bulb to suction the fat off and put it into a jar for later use. Some people swear by non-stick frying pans, but in truth, once the fat starts rendering out, the bacon shouldn’t stick anyway.
You can use a little cooking spray or oil to start the process if you like. Cook bacon low and slow for crispy, caramelized results. This will cause much of the fat to melt out and you’ll be left with crispy, golden strips.
Once they’re at this point, remove them and drain them on paper towels, newspaper, or brown paper bags. Tongs are the best utensil for turning and handling the rashers.
1. The texture
The first thing that will tell you that your bacon is cooked enough is its texture. Bacon needs to have a certain crispness to it to be at its best.
You can try checking it with a spoon or knife to feel the texture. If you find it soft even after cooking for a considerable amount of time, you will need to cook it more.
Make sure that you don’t crisp it until it is too hard because you don’t want it to crumble to pieces or have a burnt taste. A balanced crispness is what most people want to have on their bacon.
You will notice that the bacon will start changing from a pinkish to a golden brown once it gets the right texture. Make sure that you keep it to light brown only.
Do not let the bacon turn darker shade as that will give it a burnt taste and that is obviously not something that you want.
So, once your bacon is light brown, you need to check if it has got the right crisp to it as well. Once you find that point, you need to stop cooking it, drain it, and serve it immediately.
Another interesting thing about bacon is that once it is cooked properly and all the water in it has evaporated out, the corners of each rasher will not only turn brown but they will also start to curl.
You need to cook for a while more as to cook it evenly from the center too. Once all the corners have curled up and you feel like you have the right crispness in the center as well, you can stop cooking your bacon.
A properly cooked piece of bacon contains no moisture at all and has just a slight amount of oil on its surface.
Allowing for Preferences
Of course, while some people like their bacon extra crispy, some prefer theirs soft. Remember that the bacon will continue to cook for a few minutes after you have taken it out of the pan.
If you’re cooking it soft, you’ll know it’s cooked because the meat will change from a reddish-pink to light pink. The texture will firm up and the fat will change from translucent to white.
If you have a lot of bacon to cook, do it in batches rather than overfilling the pan. Too much at once will cause the meat to steam rather than fry.
For the second batch, pour off any rendered fat, wipe the pan clean, then heat it again before adding more bacon.
We hope this article has helped you to know when your bacon is cooked. If you have any questions, please leave a comment for us below and we will do our best to answer them for you. Thanks for reading!