Introduction: Cooking 36 Lbs of Bacon
The goal of this ible is to show you how to cook and store bulk amounts of bacon on the stove top. In this example, I cooked up 36 lbs of bacon.
I specify on the stove top, because I don't like the oven methods. I find that the top layer gets very crispy, the middle is always too soft, and the bottom just gets boiled and gets all chewy and not that good.
Step 1: Slow Down... How Do You Store 36lbs of Bacon Wihout Ruining It?
I freeze it. "Won't it ruin the bacon?" you ask? Nope! What messes up frozen meat is that the water in the cells expands and bursts the cell walls. This changes the texture and allows everything to flow through all over the place. Cooked bacon, on the other hand, is crispy precisely because it has very little water left in it. Once you warm it up, it is like it was freshly cooked.
Step 2: Material
You will need
- A large pot (10L)
- A medium size pot (3-5L) that has a steamer addition on top of it
- A funnel for pouring the fat into jars (could be done without the funnel, but you are gambling; also, don't use a platic one, a nice big stainless canning funnell goes for less than 10$)
- An empty and clean sink
- A roasting pan
- A rag for your hands and for the vent hood (prevent excess condensation drip)
- Glass jars with lids to store the fat for disposal.
- Stainless ustensils to manage the bacon
- Bulk pack of bacon (probably only available from your local butcher, I can get mine about 35% cheaper than at the grocery store, and it is much better quality)
At all costs avoid plastic in this endeavour. Hot fat will melt some plastics, but also greassy plastic is so much harder to clean than greassy glass or metal.
Step 3: Soaking the Bacon
After cleaning the sink, I fill it up with cold water and soak the bacon for at least 20 minutes before I start cooking it. Properly cured bacon, salt and all, tastes better, but after rinsing it thoroughly, it does not actually taste all that salty when you eat it. I do the same with hams.
Step 4: Managing the Fat
I recommend putting newspaper around the stove and to put under the smaller pot with the steamer. The steamer is just used as a strainer and the newspaper is to avoid massive messes if you spill some. The newspaper around the stove also catches spittle, and generally makes cleanup easier in the long run.
As the bacon gets cooked, you just dump it in the steamer, the fat drains into the pot, and you can just keep going. As needed, pour the fat into glass jars with lids, no plastic here again!
The roaster is where you can put the bacon after it has mostly drained, as it drains, you can get the next wave started.
Step 5: Cooking the Bacon
I cook about 1-2 lbs of bacon at a time in the large pot. A pan would work, but the pot's walls catches much of the splatter.
After a batch is cooked, you empty it into the other pot. As it drains and drips, add a new batch of bacon into the pot. By now, the pot has grown bacon crumbs stuck all over the bottom.
Step 6: Cleaning As You Cook
When you start a new batch, the water on the bacon will instantly boil, and if you wipe the bacon around a bit, most of the crumbs will just go back into the cooking. This will tide you through 4-6 batches. Every 5-6 batches, you will have to boil some water in there to clean it out. You want to do this to avoid the bottom burning up. If that happens, the fat gets the burnt taste and gives it to the bacon as well, even if the bacon looks just fine.
Step 7: Storing the Bacon
A fair percentage of the bacon should already be in your stomach by now (or that of your family and friends, and anyone who walked by your house and smelled that delicious cloud of bacon steam).
The rest can go in zip-lock backs and be frozen. When you are ready to eat it, just pop it into the toaster oven or on a hot pan for a few seconds, and it will taste like fresh.
The cleanup does involve putting the fat in metal or glass containers, if you put this in your drains, you will have some serious issues.