Cast iron cookware has been around for centuries, and for a good reason. It’s durable, versatile, and provides an even heating surface that cooks food to perfection. One of the most popular foods cooked in cast iron is bacon. Cast iron is the perfect vessel to cook bacon because it can handle high heat and allows the bacon to cook evenly. In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know about cooking bacon in cast iron.
Before we dive into the specifics of cooking bacon in cast iron, let’s go over some basics. Cast iron is a type of cookware made from iron that is cast in a mold. It’s known for its durability and even heating. Cast iron cookware is versatile and can be used on the stovetop, in the oven, and even on the grill. Cooking bacon in cast iron has become increasingly popular because it provides a crispy texture and even cooking.
Benefits of Cooking with Cast Iron
One of the main benefits of cooking with cast iron is its durability. Cast iron cookware can last a lifetime if properly cared for. It’s also versatile and can be used for a variety of cooking methods. Additionally, cast iron provides an even heating surface that cooks food to perfection. Another benefit is that cooking with cast iron can increase the iron content of your food, which is beneficial for those who are iron deficient.
Importance of Knowing How to Cook Bacon in Cast Iron
Cooking bacon in cast iron is a popular method because it allows the bacon to cook evenly and provides a crispy texture. However, if not done correctly, the bacon can become burnt or stick to the pan. Knowing how to cook bacon in cast iron is important because it ensures that the bacon is cooked to perfection and doesn’t ruin the pan. In the following sections, we’ll go over the steps to properly prepare and cook bacon in cast iron.
Preparing the Cast Iron Pan
Before cooking bacon in cast iron, it’s important to properly prepare the pan. This includes seasoning the pan, choosing the right size, and properly cleaning and maintaining the pan.
Seasoning the Pan
Seasoning the pan is a crucial step in preparing cast iron cookware. Seasoning creates a non-stick surface that prevents food from sticking to the pan. To season a cast iron pan, start by washing it with warm, soapy water and drying it thoroughly. Next, apply a thin layer of oil to the pan and bake it in the oven for an hour at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Repeat this process a few times to create a non-stick surface.
Choosing the Right Size of Pan
When cooking bacon in cast iron, it’s important to choose the right size of pan. The pan should be large enough to fit the bacon without overcrowding it. Overcrowding the bacon can cause it to cook unevenly and stick to the pan. A 10-12 inch cast iron skillet is the perfect size for cooking bacon.
Proper Cleaning and Maintenance of the Pan
Properly cleaning and maintaining the cast iron pan is essential for its longevity. After cooking bacon, allow the pan to cool before washing it with warm, soapy water. Avoid using harsh abrasives or steel wool, as this can damage the seasoning. Instead, use a soft sponge or brush to clean the pan. After washing, dry the pan thoroughly and apply a thin layer of oil to prevent rusting. Proper maintenance of the cast iron pan will ensure that it lasts a lifetime.
Preparing the Bacon
Now that we’ve prepared the cast iron pan, it’s time to prepare the bacon. Properly preparing the bacon is essential for a delicious and evenly cooked final product. Here are some steps to follow when preparing bacon to cook in cast iron.
Choosing the Right Type of Bacon
When choosing bacon to cook in cast iron, it’s important to select the right type. Thick-cut bacon is the best choice for cooking in a cast iron pan because it will cook more evenly and have a crispy texture. Additionally, look for bacon that has a good meat-to-fat ratio. Bacon that is too fatty can cause grease splatters and make a mess.
Properly Thawing Frozen Bacon
If you’re using frozen bacon, it’s important to properly thaw it before cooking. Thaw the bacon in the refrigerator overnight or in cold water for 30 minutes. Avoid thawing bacon in the microwave as it can partially cook the bacon and make it tough.
Cutting the Bacon to the Desired Size and Shape
Once the bacon is thawed, it’s time to cut it to the desired size and shape. If you’re cooking bacon strips, cut the bacon in half to fit in the pan. If you’re making bacon bits or using bacon as a topping, cut the bacon into small pieces. Cutting the bacon to the desired size and shape ensures that it cooks evenly and has a crispy texture.
Cooking the Bacon
Now that the pan and bacon are prepared, it’s time to start cooking. Cooking bacon in cast iron is a straightforward process, but there are a few steps to follow to ensure that it cooks evenly and doesn’t burn.
Heating up the Pan
Start by heating the cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Allow the pan to heat up for a few minutes before adding the bacon. You should hear a sizzle when the bacon hits the pan. If you don’t hear a sizzle, the pan may not be hot enough.
Placing the Bacon in the Pan
Once the pan is hot, add the bacon to the pan. Arrange the bacon in a single layer, making sure not to overcrowd the pan. Overcrowding the bacon can cause it to cook unevenly and stick to the pan. Allow the bacon to cook for a few minutes before flipping.
Flipping the Bacon
When flipping the bacon, use tongs to avoid burning your fingers. Flip the bacon when the edges start to curl up and the bacon has a golden-brown color. Cook the bacon on the other side for a few minutes until crispy.
Adjusting the Heat as Necessary
If the bacon is cooking too quickly or burning, adjust the heat as necessary. Lower the heat if the bacon is cooking too quickly or raise the heat if the bacon is not cooking evenly. Adjusting the heat ensures that the bacon is cooked to perfection.
Cooking bacon in cast iron is easy and provides a delicious result. By properly preparing the pan and bacon, cooking the bacon to perfection is achievable. In the next section, we’ll go over tips and tricks for perfectly cooked bacon.