Waking up early to prepare the family meal can be an exciting activity. Dashing a couple of coffee in the coffee maker and getting some pieces of bread on the toaster would be ideal. A few eggs and some butter would do the trick and a little bit of bacon would make it an ultimate breakfast treat. But wait, your bacon is as hard as a block of steel. If you hit something with it, you’ll know that bacon will shatter everything it hit to pieces.
But what can you do, in just a few minutes, everybody is going to rush in and will sit in their places and will ask you? What’s for breakfast? One of them will ask you for bacon and your bacon is still freezing. It would not have been a big problem if it ain’t a school and workday. But sadly, it is. Everybody is eager for the next thing to happen and they kept on reminding you that they are about to get late.
Are you just going to put the freezing bacon on the pan and see what happens? Or, you’ll thaw it for a while and hopefully, some magic will happen and do wonders. Or you may just wish you have been a little bit wiser and anticipated all of these and bring back the hands of time like in “Prince of Persia” and undo all of these. Which is which? Your time is running out and you are running out of options.
Defrost or not to defrost, that is the question
There are two possible scenarios in this event, you may defrost the bacon, it would take time, they would be looking constantly on the clock and they will stare at the ceiling and you will keep on apologizing. Or, you’ll just throw the bacon straight on the blazing hot pan still ice cold, they ate the bacon, they rush like bulls outside and you end up still saving the day. But did you?
Is it okay to cook bacon that is not defrosted?
Yes, it is okay to cook bacon that has not been defrosted. The fat, like lots of it in bacon, would allow you to just thaw it in a few minutes. As long as you take the time of separating those thin slices individually and not cook it outrightly in a large block of frozen bacon, it will just turn out fine. You can have two options, you can cook in a pan using very low heat and increase it gradually and constantly flipping it now and then or you can cook it in an oven.
Would it be okay to defrost bacon before cooking?
But if you opt to defrost the bacon before cooking it, then it can be done in three (3) ways. Thawing a frozen and rock hard bacon can be done safely in:
- Using a cold water
Never perform bacon defrosting on your kitchen counter at room temperature. Why? Because when you leave meat at room temperature for 2 hours, you are practically putting your bacon on what they call the “danger zone”. The danger zone is the temperature where bacteria and other pathogens can thrive after exposing your bacon to a favorable temperature that would induce microorganism production and thriving.
The same is true if you do the mistake of thawing your bacon in hot water. So please be careful. USDA explains on its website how to safely handle bacon. It is always a good practice to read the label or packaging of frozen products. If it is not indicated on their label online resources can be a welcome source of safety practices on how to best handle frozen products and choice cuts.
These additional tips in handling bacon are important to ensure that your family is consuming safe meat products. It is better to be safe rather than be sorry later. Let us have some safety tips on how safely handle your bacon.
- Keep the bacon sealed in its packaging. Be sure that the pack does not have any leaks. Leakings can be entry points of microorganisms that cause illness and other serious health concerns.
- Run a consistent stream of cold water while you are placing your bacon on a cooling rack. By placing it on a rack you are actually allowing the cold water to flow on the package.
- Do not in any way soak the bacon package in a cold bath. As we have mentioned, keep a steady flow of cold water.
- Thaw your bacon for 30 minutes and cooked it immediately. Avoid refreezing it.
- You can use your microwave in defrosting your bacon. Read and follow the instructions on how to defrost meat using your microwave. Instructions on different microwaves may vary so please read your microwave’s manual. Be sure to stay with your defrosting as to not melt the plastic because you have left your bacon unattended.
- Once you have noticed that the bacon is now soft and can be separated easily, layout individual pieces or slices on a baking sheet that you covered with parchment. Baked it on your oven until you are contented with its level of crispness. This is usually around 15 minutes or even less just don’t leave it unattended.
Can we right away cook frozen bacon in the oven?
Yes, you can cook frozen bacon in the oven. The high-fat content of bacon that thawing it in a few minutes is possible. Like what we have mentioned earlier, be sure to cook it in individual slices and not cook in it in a big pile of a frozen block of bacon.
Can you boil frozen bacon?
Sometimes our quest of feeding our families would allow us to take some shortcuts in doing a lot of things. It could be that at one time, we have done something that we are not supposed to be doing. For example, boiling a piece of frozen bacon, can we just boil frozen bacon to spare the trouble of waiting for it until it gets unfrozen.
The United States Department of Agriculture set specific guidelines on thawing meats. As a regulatory body on handling frozen meat and other meat products, they are committed to bringing people to know things about safe meat consumption. And here is what they have to say about safely handling bacon.
Bacon can be thawed safely using three safe methods,
- You can thaw bacon in the refrigerator – For example, you have put your bacon in your freezer. It had stayed there for days. When you are planning to cook it, you may put it down to a less cold temperature in your refrigerator until it loses its “hardened” state, and to do this, you need to do it in advance because if you are to do it on that moment you that you are about to cook it, it doesn’t yield good results. So if you are planning to cook it today, put it on the less cold part of your refrigerator the night before.
- You can thaw it by placing it on running cold water – Put the slices of bacon on a rack and place it below the cold running water. Avoid giving your bacon a “cold bath” like placing it in a container with cold water and let it soak there for hours until you get the desired softness that you wanted. The USDA is very specific on this guideline. It must be cold running water, not lukewarm and not boiling. The pressure from the running cold water would help it prevent leakage which is a bad thing because it would encourage bacterial growth making your bacon unsafe for consumption.
- Using your microwave – Different microwave brands have different ways of thawing frozen meats and that includes your bacon. Never assume that all microwave uses the same instruction for thawing. A higher-tier microwave may have a different set of instructions compared to a lower-tier microwave. It would be best to consult your microwave’s manual. In case you have lost it, try visiting your microwave’s website and read their instructions and specifications on how to thaw safely frozen meats. Again, we repeat, refrain from assuming, read and understand everything.
- To summarize, the USDA allows only three safe methods in thawing bacon, (1) Thawing inside your refrigerator, (2) Thawing by placing it under cold running water, (3) Thawing using the microwave.
How long does it take to thaw frozen bacon?
Many people would argue that the consumption of food that has a high-fat content is dangerous and is not healthy. They are absolutely correct, but come on this is bacon. The dripping oil when you cook it using either a pan or oven would never fail to induce a mouth-watering reaction to an eagerly waiting audience once the smell of burnt fat roams inside your home.
But to do that, you need to thaw it and how long would it take? Let us have a closer look.
- Defrost bacon inside your refrigerator overnight. So if it is governing it would take if you took it out of the freezer at 7:00 P.M. and you are planning to cook it the following morning, it would take you around 8-12 hrs. of thawing inside your refrigerator. It could be longer if you do it at an earlier time.
- For defrosting it in cold running water, a minimum of 10-15 minutes would be sufficient. If you are going to thaw several pieces of slices, it needs more time it could reach up to 30 minutes. Remember that by letting it stayed outside the refrigerator for 2 hours, you are endangering and exposing yourself and your family to bacterial infestation on the bacon.
- This is the quickest way of defrosting, using your microwave. The shortest time would be about a minute. If your microwave has a defrosting setting, set it to 30% power. Defrost in a short 1-minute burst. It would take about 3 – 5 minutes of continuous defrosting 1.5 lbs of bacon would take 3 minutes of thawing. The moment it is already thawed, cooked it immediately either by pan or using your oven. Never set your microwave to the highest setting. It will burn the outside but will leave some inside parts frozen.
- You can use a skillet or a pan. Place the bacon on the skilled, use either a low-medium heat setting. After seeing the bacon separates, slowly arrange it in your skillet and cover it with its lid or some aluminum foil. You can slow cook it by flipping it side to side for 15 to 20 minutes until it gets crispy.
- You may thaw it by making “lardons“. You need to chopped pieces of bacon finely from a block of smoked bacon. Cut lardons from bacon that is still frozen using your sharp knife by slicing it horizontally across rashers. Transfer the bacon from the freezer into a cutting board. Place the tiny sliced bacon on a skillet and place it over medium heat on your stovetop. As it slowly separates into pieces, give the skillet a bit of a jiggle as it separates while oil is being extracted. Jiggling it would also make you appear like an expert. Cooked the lardons nice and crispy. You can use the lardons for salads and other recipes that would need bacon flakes.
We hope that we have shared some insights on how to cook frozen bacon. Bacon is a versatile piece of meat. You can eat it in so many ways. you can prepare it for breakfast, or you can use it for toppings for a mouth-watering snack. Combining with things like butter, or wrapping it on some chicken breast you’ll get exactly a tasty recipe with almost all types of cooking.
A piece of bacon could drip several ounces of oil, while health enthusiasts would frown on the sight of oily carnage, but others would salivate on the sight of dripping oil and would even call the drippings ” the good stuff”. You can consume some of the “good stuff” but please do it in moderation. Bacon goes well with other fats like butter and cheese so you need to limit your consumption to safe levels.