Bacon bits

CookieMonster

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on the care and feeding of "bacon bits" . . .

bacon bits can be used in many dishes - in salads is a prime example.
but also in omelets, in a compote topping (onion/mushroom/tomato/etc) for fish, steak, chicken.....
bacon bits in peanut butter on toast . . .

once upon a time I tried the jar variety of 'bacon bits' - forget it. it's "something" flavored from the chem lab. horrible stuff.

making bacon bits from scratch is somewhat time consuming. one cannot simply 'turn up the heat' and create bacon bits - they burn. it takes a low/medium temp in a fry pan - and frequent attention to turning/watching.

after any number of attempts and approaches,,, here's my method to pre-make/keep real bacon bits for quick use in a dish:
if it works for you, great. if you have a better method - even greater . . .

#1 - I prefer double thick cut bacon. we don't like double thick for out-of-hand eating, however double thick bacon bits are thicker/meatier and more satisfying to the crunch.

here's a stack of double thick sliced into ~1/4 inch (5-6 mm) length chunks.
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into a fry pan.
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now . . . almost to exclusion . . . any large scale "brand name" commercial bacon is "wet cured" - i.e. injected with a curing solution. when the bacon chunks hit the pan, first thing that happens is all the 'curing solution' aka water comes out of the bacon. with so much water solution in the pan, the pan cannot get hot enough to actually start 'frying' the bacon bits.
all the bubbles in this pix is water being 'boiled off'
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here the water is gone, and the bacon bits are starting to "color up"
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this batch was 1.5 pounds (680g) - done in two batches using a 10"/25cm fry pan.
then drained, cooled,
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plunked on a sheet and put into the freezer for ~one hour, then into a freezer bag for longer term storage.
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it's important to cool/freeze them before bagging - homespun version of 'individually quick frozen' - prevents have one solid bacon bit rock . . .
 
Agree about the jarred stuff, just nasty.


Honestly, I make bacon bits as I need them. We don't use them often or in quantity enough to make big batches and freeze. I just fry the bacon in strips and break up.
 
I have never done bacon of any sort in the oven . . .
for bacon bits, the fat rendered out in the pan plays an important role in 'crisping' the bits - not sure how that would work in an oven method, where typically it is so arranged to drain any render fat away.
 
Could this be done/cooked in the oven?
Yes. I do it often. I line a baking sheet with parchment paper and bake bacon by the pound in strips, then when cooked I store it in a ziplock bag until we need it. I just microwave a few pieces in a paper towel for 30 seconds and crumble some for bacon bits. It's a lot less messy to bake it than frying it and no need to stand over the stove watching it. And no need to flip it, it cooks thoroughly and evenly to a crisp texture when baked.

Edited to add that after pulling the strips off the parchment paper and putting the bacon on a paper towel, I drain the rendered fat into a small pyrex container (kept in the fridge) to use for frying eggs.
 
The parchment paper does make for easier cleanup. While it still gets a little greasy from the rendered fat, there are no stuck on bits to scrub.
I don’t know if it’s these particular pans (Nordicware), but there’s really no scrubbing, just regular wiping with the soapy sponge.

I used to use foil, but I laid the bacon out on the pan without foil (was in a hurry) and surprise, surprise…no scrubbing. 🤷‍♂️
 
I don’t know if it’s these particular pans (Nordicware), but there’s really no scrubbing, just regular wiping with the soapy sponge.

I used to use foil, but I laid the bacon out on the pan without foil (was in a hurry) and surprise, surprise…no scrubbing. 🤷‍♂️
That's good to know! I also used foil previously, but I found it tore and the bacon stuck to it, and I didn't feel like investing in the non-stick foil which is even more expensive than already costly regular foil. Parchment paper is less expensive than foil and works well when cooking in the oven at 400F or lower (I usually bake my bacon at around 325F-350F).

I might look into getting some of the Nordicware pans, though...I like the idea of just wiping with a sponge!
 
I might look into getting some of the Nordicware pans, though...I like the idea of just wiping with a sponge!
I have their aluminum 1/8th sheet pans (the kind annoying “trendy” places use for plates these days). I was dubious at first because they’re extremely light, and I was always in the heavier-the-better camp for bakeware, but I love them.
 
I cannot begin to count the number of "free breakfast" events at various hotels/motels I have survived . . .

however and etc so forth (that's my grandfather showing thru . . . ) there was one place in Lynchburg, VA - - -
the bacon was stellar. and I asked the attendant how that happened.
she assured me it was 'just bacon' done in the oven - but obviously this lady had mega-care genes to actually do it ultra-super-right.

many years earlier, my father-in-law insisted he could do good bacon in the microwave. I passed. but since I have learned that really is not only possible - but produces very good results.

plate.
cover plate with two paper towels.
plunk 2-4 slices of bacon on the towels.
cover with one paper towel (prevent splatter inside the microwave)
microwave one minute per slice.
you _must_ adjust the timing to the power/quirks of your microwave oven.

it's now my go-to method when it's "breakfast for two"
doing bacon "right" in a cast iron pan takes a long longer.

oh, you can scrape/pour the bacon fat off that plate into the cast iron pan to cook your eggs . . .
waste not, starve not . . .
 
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