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I have been cooking bacon in ovens for several years. Our new house has a gas oven, a new experience for me, and while I've generally mastered it, I'm struggling with cooking bacon in there. It certainly cooks, but it doesn't seem to get that charred, crispy taste we used to have. I imagine this has to do with the extra moisture in gas ovens? Either way, does anyone have a solution? I would also appreciate the scientific reasoning behind the phenomena.

  • Can you describe the method you are using? – GdD Aug 22 '17 at 1:11
  • @GdD Laying it out in strips on a tinfoil-covered baking sheet. Goes in between 400 and 450 degrees F (depending on what else I'm cooking). Usually took 15-30 minutes with an electric oven. – cryptic_star Aug 22 '17 at 1:55
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    Do you use a rack? Getting airflow under the bacon will help it crisp. – Wolfgang Aug 22 '17 at 12:09
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    No, no rack. I had considered it with an electric, but didn't want to waste a rack for that one use. I might consider it, seeing as it sounds like I might need a rack for other purposes with a gas oven. And the bacon does get crisp/cooked, it's that it no longer gets charred and crispy. – cryptic_star Aug 22 '17 at 16:14
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I've cooked plenty of crispy bacon in plenty of ovens— gas and electric, commercial and home, with and without convection— and I really doubt the browning of bacon could be noticeably retarded by trace amounts of moisture from the gas. A common trick to getting crispier bacon involves generously sprinkling water on the tray before cooking so it will render out more fat (which happens at sub-boiling temps) before it starts to brown. (Personally, I haven't seen enough of a difference to do it consistently, but I've known chefs that have sworn by it.)

I've heard people say that it can affect the browning of bread, which makes sense considering how much more readily starches absorb water than protein. This might be relevant for recipes which use time rather than appearance/smell/texture/internal temperature to determine when to stop cooking something, but I'd blame lack of more accurate measurements to consider whether the bread was done and/or needed the heat adjusted before I blamed the heat source. I've also baked plenty of bread, pizzas, and other starchy foods in gas ovens without a problem.

If you're using the same bacon you used in your old oven, the problem is almost certainly an inaccurate oven thermostat in one or both of your ovens. Oven thermostats are notoriously inaccurate. I'd recommend purchasing an oven thermometer so you can more accurately gauge the temperature of your oven, and cranking up the heat until you achieve your perfect bacon. Even if I'm totally wrong and you've got a gas oven which is nearly steamer-level moist, the answer is probably more heat.

Good luck!

Edit: Are you sure your oven is properly vented?

  • All great points! I'll have to give the recommendation on raising the temp a go in the next week or so. I do think the oven is properly vented, although my main basis for that is from our home inspector, whom I trust. Do you have any quick tips for checking? – cryptic_star Aug 25 '17 at 19:14
  • @cryptic_star I'm not super familiar with ventilation in home kitchens or on home equipment. Sorry! Good luck! – ChefAndy Aug 28 '17 at 21:03
  • Well, sure enough, pushing the temp up to 475 got me much closer to what I wanted. Not perfect, but pretty darn good. – cryptic_star Aug 30 '17 at 2:05
  • Great! Unless you were cooking it very quickly, your oven is probably not REALLY at 475. Unless all you will ever cook is bacon, it might be worth getting an oven thermometer to see how far off it is, and then installing a new thermostat. (how complicated this process is relies on the design of your stove.) – ChefAndy Aug 30 '17 at 2:53

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