Cooking Bacon on a Barbecue
Every few Sundays there’s one smell that I love coming down to in the morning. It’s a smell that prompts memories of childhood, of Sunday breakfast before a day of enjoying the outdoors with friends or sitting inside playing video games if the heavens opened up (and sometimes even if the rain stayed away, depending on how far I was into Final Fantasy VII). It’s a day if being told off because I hadn’t done my homework and I had school the morning after, and a day of having to sit through another dull episode of Last of the Summer Wine whilst we ate tea before realising that, yes, school was coming in the morning and you were sat watching a comedy that you were sure that only old people could understand. But, despite whatever that Sunday would bring, you started the day with bacon and you knew that it didn’t get much better than that.
These days I don’t have bacon as much; largely because I don’t really eat substantial breakfasts anymore and I tend to reserve it as a little treat for us to have every now and again. When we do have it though we prefer to cook it on the grill in the oven rather than frying it in a pan, but during the warmer months when it’s time to pull the barbecue out of its dusty enclosure we whack it on there instead. I prefer cooking bacon on a gas barbecue grill because it leaves that wonderful flavour you can only get with barbecues. It’s also great to take one with you when you go camping, and bacon is always a quick and easy way to get some good outdoor grub. You also won’t get that bacon smell lingering in your home all day, although personally I don’t mind it.
Let’s move on from nostalgia and on to cooking these little slices of heaven.
Cooking Up a Sizzling Bacon Barbecue
Aside from your barbecue (of course) you’ll need aluminium foil, a decent pair of tongs and whatever bacon takes your fancy. I tend to cook with thicker bacon on the barbecue so it doesn’t get too burnt, but you should be keeping an eye on it at all times anyway so it shouldn’t be much of a problem. You can use a charcoal or gas barbecue, although using charcoal will obviously take a bit longer in preparation time. You’ll want to get a medium heat from your barbecue too, although if you prepare your bacon really crispy you can crank it up higher and simply reduce the cooking time.
Before the barbecue starts heating up you’ll want to lay your aluminium foil across it, making sure to fold up the edges to bar the grease from spilling over. It’s a good idea to use foil for three reasons; it stops the fat from dripping down through the grill into the fire – which can cause flare ups – it allows the bacon to sizzle in its own fat and it makes clean up far easier, as all you have to do is throw away the foil.
Lay the bacon out in strips along the foil, leaving gaps between each side. Cooking times vary depending on how high the heat is and how thick your bacon is, but you’ll want to be flipping the bacon over every 5 minutes or so. You’ll know when the bacon is ready to eat when it starts to form little white bubbles that sizzle on the surface of the bacon and your bacon will become a golden brown colour in fatty parts and taking on a darker appearance in areas where there’s more meat.
The reason I don’t cook it directly on the barbecue grill is from experience. I once tried it when I’d run out of tin foil and the flare ups were a lot to handle as the fat kept dripping down into the flames. You can do it this way if you wish, but be prepared to keep a constant watch on it to avoid a burnt disaster.
With all this bacon talk we’re now wishing it was March again. Why? It’s Bacon Connoisseurs Week of course, and the perfect excuse to eat as much bacon on a barbecue as you can!
Image by Flickr user Wayne Marshall. Used under a Creative Commons Licence.