The 10 Best Microwave Bacon Cookers
10. Lekue Maker
- integrated drain spout for grease
- large handles for easy maneuvering
- too small for long strips
|Rating||4.6 / 5.0|
9. Emson Wave Cooker
- convenient stackable construction
- good for making large batches
- plastic skewers are flimsy
|Rating||3.7 / 5.0|
8. Waveware Grill
- adjustable-width handles
- works well for eggs too
- difficult to clean
|Rating||3.8 / 5.0|
7. Progressive Grill
- vented cover eliminates mess
- good for tight budgets
- not the most durable choice
|Rating||4.1 / 5.0|
6. Presto Cooker
- holds 12 pieces
- plastic won't warp or melt
- tough to cook all strips evenly
|Rating||4.3 / 5.0|
5. Joseph Joseph Stackable
- also works well for rice and pasta
- handles stay cool
- won't fit in smaller microwaves
|Rating||4.3 / 5.0|
4. Joie Piggy Tray
- includes useful spatter lid
- features cute piggy handle
- compact and easy to store
|Rating||4.4 / 5.0|
3. Camerons Products Original
- good for slices of all thicknesses
- doesn't create much mess
- stores drippings for later use
|Rating||4.5 / 5.0|
2. Presto PowerCrisp
- strips don't stick to it
- convenient wraparound handle
- minimal cleanup required
|Rating||5.0 / 5.0|
1. Nordic Ware Tray
- great for defrosting other meats
- holds quite a few slices at a time
- excellent for crispy strips
|Rating||4.6 / 5.0|
Why Microwave Bacon?
When you think of cooking bacon, your microwave is probably not the first image that comes to mind. While there are countless methods available, the microwave does present some unique advantages over its competition.
For starters, cooking a plate of bacon in the microwave takes just a few minutes. If you're like most people whose morning routines are a constant battle against the clock, every second counts. Depending on how thick your bacon is, it can take up to 10 minutes to get crispy in a skillet. It takes even longer in the oven, usually 15-20 minutes. While it depends on how much bacon you're cooking at once, what contraption you're using, and the power of your microwave, one minute per slice will usually do the trick.
Another great reason to turn to your microwave for your salty morning treats is that it makes cleanup easy. Rather than cleaning up a greasy skillet, frying pan, or sheet pan, microwave bacon racks tend to be small and relatively easy to clean. Many also trap the grease for you, so if you choose to save it, you can pour it directly from your tool of choice into a jar for storage. Just make sure you choose a model that limits the degree to which grease can splatter around the inside of your microwave oven, as that would defeat the purpose.
A Brief History Of Everybody's Favorite Breakfast Meat
The history of bacon dates back nearly 4,000 years to a somewhat surprising point of origin. While consumption of wild pigs goes back almost as far as the beginning of human history, the Chinese had domesticated the animals by around 5000 B.C.E. and began using salt to cure pork bellies by 1500 B.C.E.
By that same time, domesticated pigs had made their way across the Middle East and into Europe. The Chinese salt-curing technique followed the same path, though it didn't fully make its way to Europe until Roman conquests in the Middle East over 1,500 years later. In the meantime, the Ancient Romans developed their own bacon-like predecessor to today's breakfast meat of choice. Called petaso, it was made from pork shoulder boiled with figs and paired with wine.
While pork belly and fat were used extensively in the middle ages in Europe, the advent of bacon that looked and tasted like what we consume today didn't come about until several hundred years later. Until the 1500s, the Middle English term bacon or "bacoun" was used to refer to pork in general. Those words came from a variety of Old French and Germanic terms like "bako" and "bakkon" respectively, which referred specifically to the back. However, bacon is made from the belly of a pig, not the back, and it's unclear when these terms shifted in meaning.
Domesticated hogs first made their way to the Americas via Cuba thanks to Christopher Columbus. Fellow explorer Hernando de Soto was the first to bring pigs to the American mainland via Tampa Bay in 1539. While he started with just 13 animals, after a few years his sounder of swine had grown to number over 700. This early pig population set the stage for the explosion in popularity bacon would experience on American soil around 400 years later.
The first person to manufacture bacon on a large scale was John Harris, who set up a processing plant in Wiltshire, England in the 1770s. While it did gain popularity in Europe and the newly established United States for the next one and a half centuries, World War II brought about the beginning of biggest bacon boom the world has experienced thus far.
Nearly 10 years before the war in 1924, the Oscar Meyer company introduced pre-packaged, sliced bacon to the American market. It was immensely popular right away, and the invention made its way back across the pond to England in short order. This cheap and readily available source of protein became a wartime favorite as many families struggles to keep meat on their tables due to government rationing. The military found several uses for pig fat, and so eating bacon became a patriotic duty. The grease could be returned to one's butcher, who would in turn donate it to the war effort.
For the rest of the 20th century, and in fact to this day, bacon has reigned supreme. Since the 1990s, the bacon craze has spawned fan clubs, clothing lines, and much more. It's even the subject of countless internet memes. Some scholars have even referred to this phenomenon as "Bacon Mania."
Some Tips For Achieving The Crispiest Microwave Bacon
Microwave bacon cookers, while compact, actually enable you to cook more bacon at a time. This is because, unlike other methods, bacon cooked in the microwave does not need to lie flat in order to absorb heat. That means that, while you may only be able to fit four strips or so at a time into your frying pan, you can fit far more bacon in one go into most microwave cookers. Whether you choose a model that stacks the strips side by side or has them draped over a surface is up to you, but either way you'll be able to get your pork belly fix faster and in greater quantities than ever before.
That being said, haphazardly piling strips of pork on your cooker of choice is not the way to produce desirable results. There are a few keys to achieving maximum crispiness. The first is to ensure, as you would with any method, that no strips are in contact with another. They can be extremely close together, but they just can't touch. The other key to crispy microwave bacon is to keep the meat elevated.
Unlike in a pan, where the grease helps cook the bacon and make it crispy, bacon sitting in a pool of grease in the microwave will get soggy. Most racks are designed with this in mind, and use either a draping method or have built-in drainage to ensure your bacon stays dry as its fat drips away. Just follow the instructions, and make sure to reserve that delicious grease for cooking later on.