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Microwave Cooking Trays for Bacon

Enjoy bacon and eliminate grease with cooking trays for the microwave

Many people are reluctant to abandon their pans when it comes to frying bacon to take up the sport of microwave cooking. Many of us have battled the splattering mess and the painful pops from a hot skillet to enjoy the great taste. Each time we cook, we deal with a mess to cleanup in and around the stove.

We have not tried the bacon that is suited for microwave cooking because the cost seems to be exorbitant. We did finally try cooking regular bacon in the microwave. We did it the old-fashioned way - on a paper plate with many paper towels. It, too, was messy, but we were delighted to find that the bacon came out extra crispy - to suit our taste - and contained much less grease than pan-frying.

After a few Sunday mornings of fussing with the paper plate and towel method, we purchased a plastic ridged plate designed especially for microwave bacon cooking. It truly was so much easier and the grease settled in the bottom. All we had to do was dump out the residue after each tray of bacon was cooked.

We found we could get 4-5 bacon slices on the tray and it took about 4 ½ minutes per tray. A one-pound package of bacon will produce about 4 trays - all without a lot of mess.

No mess, that is, until you get to tray cleanup. Then we found we had to deal with the baked on residue from the drippings. We soaked and scrubbed. We used Bar Keeper's Friend and a nylon squeegee. Brown sticky stuff remained and we left the tray to soak some more. After some really intensive scrubbing we finally got it clean enough to go in the dishwasher and were pleased with the results.

We had given up a messy stove and surrounding area for a turn at hard labor - all for the love of bacon. What to do? Finally, we resolved the problem by pouring vinegar into the tray and microwaving it for about 5 minutes - one minute at a time to prevent boiling. After letting the tray cool, most of the nuked-on greasy hard stuff came up and we were left with a lot less elbow grease.

Our particular microwave cooking tray was the least expensive of the models we looked at: it was about $4, looks unbreakable, and should last a very long time.

Here is a quick overview of other bacon cooking trays. Although we have not tried them, I see some design issues.

Model 1 has about l4 rows set up so the bacon fits in sideways. The unit costs about $15. I'm not at all sure how you're going to get a slippery limp piece of raw bacon to prop up sideways even if it has 3 slot posts for support. My second reservation is that cleanup in between the slats could be a major challenge.

Model 2 has an insert that looks like a tent. The bacon is folded over the top and spread out in an inverted "V" shape on top of the plastic. I suppose that's not a bad design if you don't plan to really cook your bacon; otherwise a good, crisp piece will be V-shaped when it is done. Also, I did read one report that the plastic tent would sag over time, although that is not verified for this article.

Model 3 looks like an old-fashioned X-shaped clothesline. It allows the bacon to hang over the top and droop downward. Again, I can't see that this is to the benefit of the bacon or the consumer. Grease will indeed drip downward, but the ends would be touching each other. Same problem as the V-shape - if cooked too crisply, they'll be doubled over.

Other microwave bacon cookers on the market are ridged and made for microwave and/or oven cooking up to 400 degrees. These, I believe, would have the same problems as we have with our particular model: major scrubbing.

We'll continue to use our microwave tray because it's healthier - at least as healthy as you'll get eating bacon. We also like the fact that you can put the tray in the microwave, turn it on, and walk away from it for a few minutes.

As we test other products that will cook bacon in the microwave, we'll update this article to reflect our experiences and opinions.


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