Precooked bacon is a savior in a short-order kitchen. Cobb salads and BLTs would not make it to your table in less than 10 minutes if the bacon wasn't ready to go when the order rolled in.
Take a page from the restaurant rule book when precooking bacon at home: Fully cook it the first time around, but don't crisp it. Then, when reheating, cook it to the desired crispness.
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You want to cook bacon to just before crisp when precooking, to prevent overcooking when reheating. The oven works best for precooking bacon -- its ambient heat cooks the bacon gently, unlike the surface heat of a frying pan. The fat renders more slowly and the bacon tends to stay flat, making storage easier. The oven gives you more control over doneness, and you can cook bacon in large quantities. You can then reheat precooked bacon in the oven, microwave or skillet with equal success.
Precooked foods must reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit before serving, but it's unlikely you'll get an accurate reading using an instant-read thermometer on a thin slice of meat such as bacon. Alternatively, the United States Department of Agriculture suggests cooking the bacon until crisp to ensure doneness. Let the bacon sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before you reheat it.
- Oven: Arrange the bacon on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper, and bake it in a 350 F oven until it sizzles in the center, about 5 to 7 minutes.
- Stove: Heat the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crispy, between 3 and 5 minutes, depending on thickness.
- Microwave: Line a microwave-safe dish with four layers of paper towels. Arrange the bacon on the paper towels and cover it with two layers of paper towels. Microwave the bacon on high for 1 minute per slice.
Heat the oven to 375 F. Arrange the bacon on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Space the pieces at least 1/2 inch apart.
Place the bacon in the oven on the middle rack. Cook the bacon until the center sizzles and the edges curl -- about 15 to 20 minutes, depending on thickness.
Take the bacon out of the oven and transfer it to a dish lined with paper towels to drain. Let the bacon reach room temperature.
Line a food-storage container with wax paper or parchment paper. Arrange the bacon in layers, separating each layer with a piece of wax or parchment paper. Store the bacon in the refrigerator for up to two days.
For freezer storage, pack the bacon flat in a heavy-duty freezer bag. Keep the bacon in the freezer for up to one month.
Reheat the bacon with a tablespoon of water in the pan if you prefer chewy bacon.