Bacon is most commonly cooked on the stovetop or in the oven. If you’re opting for the former, start with a cold pan with the bacon strips touching, but not overlapping. Set the burner on low and allow the bacon to slowly release its fat. As it begins to cook, use tongs to flip the strips and fry them on their opposite sides. Continue to flip and turn until the bacon is browned evenly. Let the cooked bacon drain by carefully placing them on paper towels or a newspaper.
To cook bacon in the oven, simply line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and arrange the bacon strips on its surface. If your baking sheet does not have grooved edges, be sure to fold the aluminum corners upwards to catch excess grease. Bake at 400°F for ten to 20 minutes (depending on your texture preference), remove, and place bacon strips on paper towels or a newspaper. The bacon will crisp as it cools.
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Pre-packaged bacon has an impressive shelf life, but not once it’s opened. While it’s best to freeze uncooked bacon, the slices can be tightly wrapped in aluminum foil and stored in a ziploc bag for up to a week. The same storage technique should also be applied to fresh bacon purchased directly from the butcher.
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Next: How to Freeze Bacon
Bacon actually holds up quite well in the freezer, though its peak flavor quality will only last one to two months. To freeze, you may keep the bacon in its original packaging, but wrap around it with another layer of aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or freezer paper. Just be sure to keep your freezer at a consistent zero degrees for optimal freezing results.
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Pork fares best in the freezer if packaged with freezer-friendly materials like waxed paper, aluminum foil, or heavy-duty plastic bags.
Wrap any meat tightly so that air does not escape and freeze at 0°F. Generally, fresh cuts of pork can last up to six months, while ground pork can last up to three.
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Pork is easiest to thaw when placed in the refrigerator in its original wrapping. Small roasts will take three to five hours per pound, while larger roasts can take up to seven hours per pound. Thawing ground pork depends entirely on the thickness of its packaging.
It is safe to cook frozen or partially-frozen pork, but its cooking time may take 50 percent longer. Frozen pork should not be cooked in a slow cooker.
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Sealed pork products can typically last in the fridge for two to four days, with ground pork having a slightly shorter shelf life at one to three. Ham or other smoked pork products like bacon can be stored for up to a week, though this only applies to products that aren’t vacuum sealed or prepared with preservatives. The latter can obviously last a lot longer.
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Top Chef finalist Kevin Gillespie wowed the judges early in season 6 with this recipe for bacon jam. He braises bacon with onion, brown sugar, chicken broth, and Espelette pepper, then blends it into a sweet-savory jam. Toss it with split fresh okra pods that are charred in a cast-iron skillet to remove some of their characteristic slime. Spread the leftover bacon jam on toast or biscuits with eggs, or layer it into a tasty meatloaf or egg salad sandwich.
What to buy: Piment d’Espelette is France’s only native pepper, and it is so highly revered that it is protected by AOC status. It has a nice heat and is worth seeking out at a gourmet grocery or online. If you have trouble finding it, you can substitute hot paprika.
Game plan: The bacon jam can be cooled to room temperature and then refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Rewarm before using.