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Discussion in 'Bacon Talk' started by Xene, Feb 20, 2014.

  1. Xene

    Xene New Member

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    I'd like to start with a hello, I've been doing some bacon research and I was looking for folks to share my findings with and hoped to find others who might also want to perform a bit of bacon testing to confirm results. I am approaching this in fun, I'm not terribly serious about it, but I have made some rather interesting discoveries along the way.

    First off, I've written a blog post about it, but it doesn't go into much depth, as I didn't think the average reader had that much interest: http://pixfiz.blogspot.com/2014/02/baconology.html

    I've tested all kinds of pans, methods, brands, and I've collected a bit of information about what makes great bacon. (Yes, all bacon is good, some is just greater than others.)

    Is anyone else interested in...any of this (the link above is a good starting point) - want to weigh your bacon? Okay, admittedly, that sounds a little odd to ask on the first meeting... ;)

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  2. Xene

    Xene New Member

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    Forgive my offense (was it my bacon cooking method? my boldness in posting?) but I had hoped I might get one person interested in perhaps talking a bit about the science of cooking bacon. Perhaps a debate about the methodology of cooking it? Anyone curious about how come so much of the meat shrinks away as it is cooked? I find it rather fascinating stuff. I must be too geeky about bacon for even other bacon lovers.

    I come from a computer geek background, so geek I 'get.'
  3. Kevin

    Kevin Code Monkey Staff Member

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    Baconology as in the study of bacon? I'm in! :D

    On the point of it shrinking as it cooks, have you come across an item yet that supposedly running the bacon under water first will prevent the amount of shrinkage? I have not tried it yet but it is on my list of experiments to try.
  4. Xene

    Xene New Member

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    Oh yeah! Thanks for playing along. :)

    I just recently came across that recommendation to rinse it in cold water but scientifically I can't see what benefit that might have. In relationship to meat proteins and fat, it doesn't make any sense that it would work. So if anyone tries it, I'd love to know the results.

    Here's the thing, no matter how I cooked the bacon, it lost just about half it's weight, measuring 4 oz in meat and 4 oz in grease (on average) so 50% of our bacon is water. So adding water to it before it cooks just doesn't compute. I understand the theories behind adding water to the pan as it fries, and honestly that is just a trick to maintain an even pan temperature, which I think my method does by coaxing out more grease and creating an even base for rendering fat. The water method still requires cooking in batches (assuming you have seen the Cook's Illustrated tip of adding water to the pan.)

    I found that my method reduces shrinking because it hold the bacon firmly in place until it comes up to temp, so that the proteins can't fold in on themselves and make it excessively curly or shrink. The real test would be to do a side by side. Rinse half the pound, don't rinse, use the exact same cook method and also weigh the results. I'll be shocked if it makes any difference at all. Just my hunch though...I do have the geekiest bacon notes ever to back up that assumption though. ;)

    Hormel Black Label, the #2 selling brand in America shrunk the most in all my tests and was the saltiest because it was so lean, making it one of our least favorites. Higher weight ratio though, as a result of the leaner meat, so I guess you get more for your money in weight, but far less in flavor and overall length. Go figure.
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