How to Properly Defrost and Thaw Bacon

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Freezing your bacon is an excellent way to store it for later use. Continue reading to find out how to properly defrost frozen bacon.


What Exactly Is Bacon?

Bacon is a type of salt-cured pork product with a high fat content. Bacon is typically made from the pig's belly, sides, or back. The combination of crispiness, salt, and fat in bacon makes it a popular savory treat. Bacon is typically thinly sliced and can be smoked, a flavor-enhancing cooking process.

Different types of wood, such as applewood or maplewood, are used to smoke the bacon, imparting the flavor of those trees to the bacon. Smoked bacon is deep pink with a golden rind and can be cut thick or thin. Other countries have different types of bacon, and in other countries, this type of bacon is known as "American bacon" or "streaky bacon."


5 Good Ways to Defrost Your Bacon

Depending on your specific needs and the equipment you have available, there are several ways to defrost frozen bacon. Consider the following approaches:

1. Bath in cold water: You can defrost the bacon quickly by using cold water. Place the bacon in its original packaging in a watertight container or freezer bag, then place the bag on the kitchen counter in a bowl of cold tap water. The amount of time required to thaw depends on the amount of bacon being defrosted”a pound of bacon can take up to twenty minutes to thaw. You can also run the bacon under cold water from the sink.

2. Refrigerator: If you have the time, the overnight refrigerator thaw is the best method. Remove the frozen bacon from the freezer, discard the packaging, and place it in a container. Then put the container in the fridge. This will allow the bacon to slowly thaw; usually, overnight is sufficient defrosting time.

3. Microwave oven: If you're short on time, thawing frozen bacon in the microwave can help. Place the bacon on a microwave-safe plate or bowl, cover with a paper towel to absorb moisture, and defrost in minute-long increments for a few minutes. In between increments, check on the progress. If the bacon is in a block, you can gently separate the slices with a knife.

4. Conventional oven: A conventional oven can also be used to defrost bacon. Preheat your oven to 300°F. Remove any packaging from the frozen bacon and place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Defrosting in the oven should only take about five minutes.

5. Frying pan: A stainless steel or cast iron frying pan can be used to defrost bacon and is also an excellent tool for cooking bacon. Reduce the heat to low to medium on the stovetop. Place the frozen bacon in the pan after removing it from its packaging. Optionally, line the pan with aluminum foil to help conduct heat and keep the bacon from cooking. After a few minutes, flip the bacon and allow it to heat up on the other side.

Keep in mind that the USDA food safety guidelines recommend keeping raw meat away from the danger zone of 40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, where harmful bacteria can quickly multiply. This means that thawing frozen bacon at room temperature, or using warm or hot water, can increase the risk of food poisoning.


How to Prepare Thawed Bacon

Cooked bacon can be used in a variety of dishes after it has been thawed. Bacon is a common side dish in many breakfast recipes that include eggs, toast, and hash browns. Bacon can be added to sandwiches, such as a bacon, lettuce, and tomato (BLT), or crumbled into small, crispy bits and sprinkled on salad. Slicing a large block of bacon yields lardons, which are small pieces of bacon that can be used as the base of a pasta sauce, ingredients in a soup, or in a casserole.
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