Everyone loves cooking bacon. It is a mouth-watering savory that not only saves time but requires you to set out minimal effort. However, to experience the unique umami taste of bacon, the meat must always be cooked to perfection by following some easy tricks.
Evenly cooked bacon is golden brown in color and has a crisp texture. The curling of sides due to heat and loss of moisture also indicates perfectly cooked bacon. The striped or sliced pieces of meat can be oven-grilled, fried, or dry-fried, and depending on the thickness, bacon is usually cooked for ~20 to 30 minutes (at an average) for best results.
Whether you like a thin and crispy texture or a thick and meaty piece that melts in your mouth, bacon should always be prepared in small batches. This guide on how to know if bacon is cooked will help you make the best platters of pork and turkey bacon every time.
How To Know If Bacon Is Cooked
Bacon is curated and removed from the side of a pig. After separating it from the side ribs, bacon is cut into slices or strips and then dried, pickled, or smoked. But, the true flavors and the juiciness of bacon are revealed only when it is perfectly cooked. The following are some of the ways that will help you know if the bacon is evenly cooked:
Use a fork or knife to test the texture of the bacon. Well-cooked bacon is crispy on the outside. If the bacon has a soft texture then it is a clear indication that the bacon is still undercooked.
During the cooking process, bacon changes its color from pink to a golden brown appearance. If you like crispier bacon, you could cook for more, however, make sure the color does not change to deep brown or black as this would indicate that the bacon is overcooked or burned.
Because of the heat and loss of moisture during cooking, the corners of bacon would curl up during the process. If the bacon lays flat, you would need to cook a little longer or adjust the temperature.
Are you tempted by the juicy fat that slowly oozes out from the strips of bacon? When steam or hot air bubbles through the layer of fat or grease, you can see a layer of foam on the bacon. Such foaminess is a sign of crispy and fully cooked bacon. Foam is also a sign that it is time to flip the pieces of bacon.
How Long Does It Take To Cook Bacon
The amount of time taken for bacon to be fully done will depend upon the cooking method, the thickness, and the type of cooker used. If you are grilling or frying, regular cuts of bacon will get fully cooked in about 20 to 30 minutes.
Grilling Bacon In Oven
When baking in an oven, always follow these steps:
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (or 191℃). The temperature works well for thick, regular, or thin cuts of bacon.
- Place the slices or strips of bacon in a single layer on the rack. Avoid crowding the individual pieces.
- Depending upon the size of each slice, follow these rules for baking:
|Thickness of Bacon||Time Required|
|Thick Cut (or Butcher’s Cut)||30 to 40 minutes|
|Regular Cut||20 to 30 minutes|
|Thin Cut||12 to 15 minutes|
- Toss the bacon after 5-7 minutes to ensure both sides are evenly cooked. Once the bacon turns golden brown in color (depending on the degree of crispiness you prefer) or the internal temperature reaches at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit (or 71℃), switch off the heat source and transfer the pieces onto paper towels.
- Let the excess grease drain off or get soaked in a paper towel before you serve them on a platter.
Note that baking on a sheet pan will make the bacon slightly chewy, and if you use a cooling rack, then it will be wavy, lighter in texture, and crispier along the edges.
Deep Frying Bacon
Use any cooking oil to evenly coat the frying pan. Use medium-high heat until the oil is hot. Add the bacon strips or slices and toss over for 2-4 minutes on each side until golden brown or desired crispiness is achieved. Pre-seasoned skillets or grillers produce better flavors.
Dry Frying Bacon
If you are dry frying, place the bacon in a cold frying pan and let it cook under low heat for a few minutes. Once some amount of fat is released, toss the bacon and increase the heat, depending on how crisp you like it.
Grilling bacon is much healthier than deep-frying or dry-frying bacon. Not only does it render an even texture and color, but the method produces the most delicious-tasting meat every time. Watch this video to learn how to cook bacon in an oven.
Reheating Cooked Bacon
Since bacon loses its crispiness upon reheating, it is best consumed when served! However, if you have bacon leftovers, ensure that it is properly refrigerated within 2 hours of serving. Smoked bacon should be consumed within five days of refrigeration. For retraining the maximum crispiness, it is recommended to bake the bacon leftovers wrapped in an aluminum foil (preheated at 350 degrees Fahrenheit) for 8 to 10 minutes. For reheating bacon in the microwave, just spread the bacon in a single layer and heat for around 20-30 seconds.
|Kirkland Signature Premium Sliced Bacon - Naturally Hickory Smoked - 12 Total Packages||Learn More|
|Hormel Black Label Fully Cooked Bacon ,72 Slices (2 Pack)||Learn More|
|Hormel Real Crumbled Bacon, 20 Ounce||Learn More|
|Fully Cooked Bacon, Ready to Eat, 80 Slices Per Pack / Case, 10 Year Shelf Life||Learn More|
Why Undercooked Bacon Is Unsafe To Consume?
Undercooked bacon should never be consumed. This is not only because they have a substandard taste, but the raw meat can also be responsible for causing food poisoning. Meat that is not properly cooked possesses the risk of getting easily contaminated with bacteria and other microbes, which can cause food-borne illnesses like stomach aches, abdominal cramping, vomiting, fever, headache, and other symptoms. Undercooked bacon may also contain tapeworms that can block the intestines and cause extreme abdominal pain and weight loss.
Depending upon the thickness of the bacon, the meat should be cooked until it has an internal temperature of 150 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Do remember that smoked bacon should never be kept at room temperature (above 90 degrees Fahrenheit) for more than two hours.
How Do You Know When Turkey Bacon Is Done
Since turkey bacon is low in fat content, pan-frying and deep-frying are the best methods to cook the meat. Cooking them in the oven will yield bacon that is dry, difficult to chew, and leathery. Turkey bacon can be cooked in a preheated and greased skillet on medium heat. Having some fat in the skillet ensures that the turkey does not stick to the pan. The strips should be turned every 2-3 minutes or until the bacon is crispy and has a deep brown color. There will be no signs of foaminess. Thick to medium slices or strips of turkey bacon is usually done in 8-10 minutes. Since the meat has low fat, the sides will not curl up, and if not properly greased, the meat may also stick to the pan.
Final Thoughts on Bacon
A slice or two of bacon is perfect to start a relaxed Sunday morning breakfast. If you are on a low-calorie diet, it is great to opt for turkey bacon instead of regular bacon. Some of the other signature breakfast sides that go well with bacon are eggs (scrambled or poached), peanut butter, and of course, some fruits or salads. Bacon makes every dish special and can be used to prepare delicious slaw, guacamole, sandwiches, and many other recipes!