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A few days ago, I tried cooking bacon on the stove for the first time, following the directions on the package to a T. I left it in the frying pan for 3 minutes, just like it said. Unfortunately, at the end of the 3 minutes, my bacon was stuck to the pan and smoking. The only thing I can think that I did wrong according to the directions was that I used an egg timer to time the 3 minutes. Is there a "bacon timer" or something like it I should be using instead? I know it sounds crazy but what else could possibly be wrong here? My wife told me frying bacon was easy and I don't have the nerve to just ask her what I did wrong!

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I have some tips in my answer on this question: cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/5042/… ... As with other answerers, I believe the most likely culprit is too hot of a pan. I definitely recommend starting with a cold pan, or at least a pan on lower heat, and cook the bacon lower and slower. But baking is by far the easiest/most foolproof way! –  stephennmcdonald Dec 21 '10 at 18:47
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I assure you, egg time is the same as bacon time. :) –  Brian Ortiz Apr 1 '11 at 5:40
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6 Answers

up vote 12 down vote accepted

My guess is that your pan was super-hot when you put in the bacon, and the fat didn't have time to render out fast enough to work as lube in the pan to keep things from getting sticky and then burnt. I've never been able to cook bacon in three minutes, it usually takes closer to 15. Next time, try using the oven and baking it. Still tastes like bacon, less fat gets on the plate, no spatter on the stove, and no more little grease burns on your arms (or am i the only one to get these).

Also, are you sure it was bacon, you can't just fry up bacon bits, that doesn't really work well.

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I will also say that I prefer the oven to make bacon. It is easier to control and get the temperature closer to what you expect. –  Naomi Campbell Dec 21 '10 at 15:04
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I do it stovetop all the time, or in the George Foreman grill. Just don't use high heat! Most packages of bacon will say medium heat, unless they're "instant" bacon (which could be the problem here). –  Aaronut Dec 21 '10 at 15:36
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I agree with boxed-dinners, you probably had the stove on too high. You might also have been using turkey bacon or some super lean variety...In that case, add a little cooking oil first to prime the pan.

And you don't need a timer for bacon. It's bacon. It's done when it looks like something you'd want to put in your mouth, and at a normal cooking temp you've got an easy 10-12 minute window between "raw" and "cinder". Generally I like mine toward the "cinder" side, but if you like some tasty fat to remain, you can take it out before then.

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Spider Robinson says that the fool-proof method to get perfect bacon is to cook it naked. You will NEVER turn the heat up too high again!

Now, since that doesn't work for me, I make my bacon in the oven. Put it on a baking rack over a sheet pan and bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes. PERFECTION!

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This is how my wife taught me, and it works great every time. Especially for getting the whole batch uniformly crispy. With bacon that's cut thin (aka: purchased on the cheap), this takes finesse with a flip mid-cook, and will probably take 2 cookie sheets per 1-pound package. Don't let the raw bacon overlap, or it often becomes inextricably stuck together. –  zanlok Feb 8 '11 at 5:04
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Use bacon with a good amount of fat on it (bacon with no fat is crispy which is very nice but might not be what you want on this ocassion).

Use a good quality, standard olive oil in your pan. Do not use extra virgin olive oil as this has a lower boiling point and will just smoke.

Use a medium heat and be patient. Watching bacon cook is a joy in itself anyway.

Alternatively to the above, use a grill as that cook the bacon really nicely and will burn off a lot of the fat.

No need to time the cooking - just do it by eye. Thick bacon will take longer to cook.

Have a look at http://www.baconaholic.com for bacon goodness.

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Why would one use olive oil to cook bacon? Bacon already has more than enough fat to cook itself. –  Aaronut Dec 21 '10 at 15:37
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Only if needed. –  Techboy Dec 21 '10 at 15:42
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@Aaronut: Well, I've used peanut oil to cook bacon fairly often—in the deep fryer. Mmmm, bacon… –  derobert Dec 21 '10 at 20:25
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@aaronut: If you add some oil to start, it doesn't shrink as much. –  Satanicpuppy Dec 22 '10 at 1:41
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@Aaronut Our local pigs are very low in fat (think free range, not cruelly stuffed in cages!), olive oil is required to get a proper cook. So it depends where you live, and what you buy –  TFD Dec 22 '10 at 2:28
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The best way I know to contain the mess and assure perfect bacon is to bake it in the oven a la Alton Brown. Put a cooling rack on a 1/2 sheet pan and lay out the rashers. Start the pan in a cold oven and heat to 400F. When the oven comes to temp, turn the bacon rashers over with tongs and check them every 5 minutes until they are as crispy as you want them. This method makes the best bacon IMHO-- crispy on the outside, with a slight chewiness in the center, and never greasy as the cooling rack lets the fat fall away. Additionally, save the bacon drippings collected in the sheet pan for other recipes. Throw any leftover bacon (what?) in a zip top bag for storage in the refrigerator and microwave for 10 seconds the next morning to return it to bacon-y goodness.

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I wonder how the result here differs from that of @Elizabeth's answer? –  zanlok Feb 8 '11 at 5:09
    
Good observation, I didn't read past the "naked" part :) –  Kelly Adams Feb 14 '11 at 20:43
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My best luck with stove top bacon has been to start with a cold pan. Put the bacon in the pan without separating it. Let the pan warm up gradually, medium/medium low heat, and separate the bacon slices as they warm up and stop sticking together. Keep cooking, although you can probably turn up the heat slightly as the pan gets a little more fat in it. Good bacon takes time.

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