I like to say that bacon is its own reason. If you ask why you should add bacon to a recipe, I’ll respond “because bacon.”
Bacon enhances many different recipes, but the way you prepare it depends on what you are serving. Today, in Chewing More Fat: Tips for Cooking with Bacon, I will cover two of my favorites: the bacon cheeseburger, and roast turkey.
Turkey can be prepared in many ways. I’ve heard from many husbands that a deep fried turkey is the best, but I disagree. A properly-prepared oven roasted turkey will beat a fried turkey any day. The chief complaint about a roasted turkey that I’ve heard is the white meat is too dry. Turkey will dry out if not prepared properly.
To make your turkey as moist and delicious as any fried turkey, prepare it in a dutch oven or roasting pan. Place a stick of butter in the turkey. Cover the turkey with bacon. To make sure you have enough bacon, follow these simple rules:
1. If you can see any part of the turkey, you should add more bacon.
2. If you can see any part of the first layer of bacon, you should add more bacon.
3. If you have raw bacon anywhere in your house, you should add more bacon.
In seriousness, two layers of bacon is sufficient. Once the turkey is covered in bacon, cook it uncovered for thirty minutes at 300 degrees. This will partially render the bacon fat into the meat, while protecting the turkey from drying. Remove the turkey from the oven. Remove the bacon from the turkey and pan fry it until crisp. Crumble the bacon and insert it into the turkey. Cover the turkey completely (this is where a dutch oven comes in handy the most, but foil will do if you only have a roasting pan). Reduce the oven temperature to 200 degrees and cook for at least four more hours. Overnight is better. Three hours in, flip the turkey so the breast meat is submerged in the rendered bacon fat and turkey juice. Serve at least one hour after flipping. Be cautious, as the bones will have partially liquefied. There is no turkey more tender than this.
DO NOT STUFF THIS TURKEY with bread stuffing. Only use butter and bacon.
The Bacon Cheeseburger
The burger is a king among luncheons. I’ve had everything from a well-done briquette to meat so raw that a competent surgeon could save the cow, and I still love every bite. My intenstines disagree with me, but I still love it. Even a bad burger is yummy, and there is no burger so good that it cannot be improved by the addition of bacon.
The key to a good bacon burger is making certain the bacon is crisp, thick, and fits neatly onto the bun. Ideally each bite should crumble off in your mouth. I recommend a slow frying on the pan. Start at medium low heat, and cut each strip in half. Two strips will suffice, but use four if you’re being indulgent. Once the bacon starts to change color, flip it with a fork and straighten it to make sure the shape is kept. Raise the heat to medium heat. When the bacon is sizzling, flip it again and keep it as straight as possible. Once it is completely crisp, serve it on the burger. My favorite accompaniments are pepperjack cheese and spicy barbecue sauce.
For added deliciousness, drain all the bacon grease except a thin layer. Sear the inside of burger bun in the thin layer of grease. If making a patty melt, sear both sides of the bread.
Live long and prosper!
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