The streaks of fat running through bacon shrink during cooking, causing the meat, which also shrinks but not as much, to curl. The anti-curling answer: pressure. Cooking bacon between two pans keeps it flat and prevents curling. Use two skillets for stovetop cooking; one skillet should measure between 10 to 12 inches wide to accommodate a smaller pan inside it. This makes it unnecessary to obtain a single-task item, the bacon press, although this can be valuable to have if you work as a short-order cook. The following cooking times are for 1/4-inch-thick bacon. Allow a few more minutes for thick-cut bacon.
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Set the bacon strips out for a few minutes to warm up. Set a large skillet on the stove.
Lay the bacon in the pan. Space the strips at least 1/4 inch apart from each other. Place a piece of parchment paper on top of the bacon.
Set a heavy-bottomed pan or saucepan on top of the bacon. Set the heat on the stove to low.
Cook the bacon for 8 minutes and remove the top pan. Carefully lift the paper and turn the bacon over using tongs. Replace the paper and top pan.
Cook the bacon for 6 minutes. At this point, most of the fat should be rendered, leaving the bacon chewy and meaty but not crisp. For crisper bacon, replace the top pan and continue cooking the bacon until it reaches the desired doneness.
Heat the oven to 400 F. Set the bacon out for a few minutes to warm up.
Line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper. Arrange the bacon strips on the paper, spacing each piece about 1/4 inch apart.
Lay another piece of parchment paper on top of the bacon. Set a second baking sheet on top of the parchment paper.
Scatter 1 to 2 pounds of dried beans on top of the top baking sheet. Place the pan-and-bacon setup in the oven.
Roast the bacon for 20 minutes. You don't need to turn bacon when roasting it. Take the bacon out of the oven.
Lift the top pan (using a towel or oven mitt) and set it aside. Carefully remove the paper and discard it.
Use tongs instead of a fork when turning bacon. Tongs make bacon easier to handle and help prevent splattering.
Reserve rendered bacon fat. While the fat is still warm, pour it through a sieve lined with cheesecloth and into a food-grade container. Store bacon fat in the refrigerator up to six months.