a food lover’s chronicle of all things culinary

Frying Bacon

June 11th, 2006

Ever hestitate to make bacon to save yourself the mess of grease spatters all over the stove?

Cooking bacon over a high heat is not only messy, but it can also be detrimental to your health. Bacon is cured with a liquid brine that contains small amounts of sodium nitrite. This preservative aids in controlling and inhibits the growth of Clostridium botulinum, the bacterium that causes botulism. According to a study by J.W. Pensabene, W. Fiddler, R.A. Gates, J.C. Fagan and A.E. Wasserman, sodium nitrite can react with amino acids to form a carcinogen called nitrosamines. This nitrite-to-nitrosamine reaction can be exacerbated by high heat — a great reason to cook bacon at moderate temperatures.

Lowering the cooking temperature drives moisture more slowly from the bacon. Moisture explodes in hot grease and causes the mess we’re used to. Knowing this bit of information, we have a better way of frying bacon: place bacon strips in a cool frying pan and place over medium-low heat. This results in a nice slow sizzle keeping all of the grease in the pan and not on your stovetop. In addition to less mess, you have peace of mind in knowing that you are cooking without the risk of forming nitrosamines.

If you are still concerned about grease splatters, I suggest picking up an inexpensive splatter screen to place over your frying pan.

Entry Filed under: Basics,Techniques

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