How Bacon is Cooked in a Commercial Kitchen

Bacon is a breakfast staple loved by many. The sizzling, savory bacon strips complete a hearty breakfast plate. While cooking bacon at home is relatively simple, it requires a bit more thought and technique when cooking for a commercial kitchen. So how exactly is everyone’s favorite pork belly treat prepared for the masses? Let’s explore the ins and outs of commercial bacon cooking.

The Bacon Basics

First let’s cover some bacon basics. Bacon is most commonly made from pork belly. Pork bellies are the underside of a pig basically the stomach area. This cut consists of alternating layers of fat and meat, which provides the characteristic bacon marbling when sliced.

To make bacon, pork bellies are cured either through a dry-cured or wet-cured brining process. The pork absorbs salt, spices, sugar, and preservatives like sodium nitrite during curing. This imparts flavor and preserves the meat. After curing comes cold smoking where the pork belly is smoked slowly over low heat. Smoking infuses a lovely smoky flavor into the meat. The final step is slicing and packaging the smoked pork belly into the familiar thin bacon strips.

Now that we understand how basic bacon is made, let’s look at the commercial cooking process.

Bacon Cooking Methods in a Commercial Kitchen

Professional cooks use several techniques to churn out piles of perfectly cooked bacon day after day for breakfast service. Here are some of the most common approaches:

Pan Frying

This is likely the cooking method you use at home. Strips of bacon are placed in a hot pan, usually cast iron or stainless steel in a commercial kitchen, and fried until crisp. The bacon renders its fat into the pan as it cooks. The cook may add a touch of vegetable oil to prevent sticking.

Pan frying allows the cook to monitor doneness and get the bacon as crispy as they like. It also gives the bacon a nice caramelized and brown exterior from direct contact with the hot pan. Pan frying is still commonly used in lower volume commercial kitchens.

Tips for pan frying bacon:

  • Use thick, heavy pans like cast iron or stainless steel. Thin pans will cool down too much when the bacon is added.

  • Choose flat or oval-shaped pans to maximize surface area contact.

  • Cook the bacon in batches to avoid crowding the pan and steaming the bacon.

  • Cook over medium to medium-low heat to render the fat slowly without burning.

Oven Baking

Cooking bacon in the oven is ideal for larger batches. The bacon strips are placed on sheet pans, usually lined with parchment paper. The pans go into a conventional or convection oven heated to 375-400°F.

Oven baking gives very even and consistent results. The bacon fat drips onto the parchment paper instead of gunking up pans. It allows for an easy workflow of loading up sheet pans, popping them in the oven, and pulling them out. Sheet pans also stack, maximizing space.

Tips for oven baking bacon:

  • Line sheet pans with parchment paper for easy cleanup.

  • Use sheet pans with raised edges to prevent grease spills.

  • Bake in a convection oven for faster cooking and crisping.

  • Spread the bacon out in a single layer without overlapping.

  • Rotate sheet pans and check frequently for doneness.


Yes, even microwave cooking has a place in the commercial kitchen! Microwaving allows very fast bacon cooking for small batches. The bacon is placed between sheets of paper towel and cooked in short bursts in the microwave.

Paper towels absorb excess grease and prevent splatters. Microwaving produces inconsistently cooked bacon, so cooks must watch it closely and shuffle strips around for even crisping. But it’s a quick option when only a few orders come in.

Tips for microwaving bacon:

  • Use paper towels above and below the bacon to absorb grease.

  • Cook in 30 second bursts, checking often and shuffling strips.

  • Don’t overcrowd strips or stack too high when layering.

  • Watch closely to avoid localized overcooking.

Deep Frying

Deep fryers allow cooks to prepare piles of crispy bacon fast. Strips of bacon are submerged into hot oil, allowing the heat to surround the bacon completely. The bacon comes out uniformly crisped in just minutes.

Fryers used for bacon are around 350-375°F. Restaurants may use a dedicated fryer just for pork to avoid mixing flavors. The cooked bacon is drained over the fryer or on paper towels. One downside is the oil absorbs bacon flavors over time.

Tips for deep frying bacon:

  • Use a thermometer to maintain proper oil temperature.

  • Fry uniform bacon strips for even cooking.

  • Fry in small batches to prevent temperature drops.

  • Drain fried bacon on paper towels or cooling racks.

  • Filter oil frequently to remove bacon debris.

Steaming Then Crisping

Here’s an interesting technique used by many pro cooks. First, raw bacon strips are suspended over a steamer on wire racks. The steam gently cooks and renders fat from the bacon while keeping it tender.

After steaming, the par-cooked bacon strips are finished by quick pan frying, baking, or microwaving. This Jumpstarts the cooking, giving a tender interior and crisp exterior. Pre-steamed bacon can go straight from fridge to pan as needed without defrosting.

Tips for steaming then crisping bacon:

  • Hang bacon strips on wire racks over a steamer tray.

  • Steam for 5-10 minutes depending on bacon thickness.

  • Pat strips dry before final crisping in a pan, oven, or microwave.

  • Cook bacon low and slow when crisping to avoid burning.

Bacon Cookery in a Busy Commercial Kitchen

On a typical busy weekend breakfast service in a restaurant, the kitchen will be whipping up bacon using multiple techniques. Here’s an inside look at how it all comes together:

The cooks prepare trays of raw bacon strips on parchment lined sheet pans the night before. These are covered and left to chill overnight in the walk-in refrigerator.

Early morning before the rush, some of these trays are baked off in the convection ovens. The crisp baked bacon is held in a hot box or under a heat lamp. This pre-cooked bacon is ready for immediate service – the chef grabs bacon as needed to top plates.

When the first tickets start printing, cooks drop strips of raw bacon into the deep fryer. The fried bacon accumulates in small batches as orders come in. During slower moments, bacon may be pan fried to order on the stove.

Runners keep microwaveable paper towels stocked. When the odd bacon order comes in, a cook can zap a few slices in the microwave for fast service.

The chef keeps replenishing the bacon supply using all these methods simultaneously. Cooks communicate to ensure there’s always crispy bacon ready to go at a moment’s notice!

Bacon-Loving Customers Demand the Best

Americans eat over 1.5 billion pounds of bacon annually. With bacon gracing breakfast classics like omelets, sandwiches, burgers, and more, customers expect the very best from their local eatery. Nobody wants a sad, soggy bacon strip!

Commercial cooks are masters at meeting bacon expectations through skill and bacon cooking diversity. Their arsenal of frying pans, ovens, fryers, microwaves, and steamers delivers therobust bacon flavors diners crave.

So next time you enjoy a perfectly crisped strip of bacon with your meal, appreciate the orchestration happening behind the scenes. There’s serious culinary science and technique dedicated to giving you that sublime crunch you love!

how is bacon cooked in a commercial kitchen

How to Cook Bacon So It’s Crispy, Tender, and the Most Perfect Ever

What is the best way to cook bacon?

The perfect way to cook bacon depends on who you’re serving. Food Network offers three methods (skillet, oven and microwave) to get it right every time.

How long should Bacon be cooked before cooking?

This tried-and-true method is the obvious choice when you need to cook 6 to 8 slices at a time. 1: Pull out the bacon from the fridge 15 to 20 minutes before cooking. At room temperature, bacon just cooks up better (just like steak). 2: Don’t preheat the skillet. Lay out the bacon strips without overlapping in a cold pan.

How do you cook bacon in water?

You cook over high heat until the water boils, lower the heat to medium until the water evaporates, and then cook over medium-low heat until the bacon is done. The theory here is that the water “keeps the initial cooking temperature low and gentle, so the meat retains its moisture and stays tender.”

How long do you cook thick cut bacon?

You’ll need to check the bacon for doneness about a minute or two before the indicated cook time, and then cook in increments of 10 to 15 seconds until you get the right texture. Basically, although this method is the fastest, it requires some finesse. Bottom line: OK for thick-cut bacon, if you’re in a hurry and don’t want the drippings.

How do you cook bacon in a microwave?

1: Line a microwave-safe plate with 2 layers of paper towels. 2: Lay out the bacon strips without overlapping. Cover with 2 more paper towels. 3: Cook in the microwave on high to desired crispness, 4 to 6 minutes. Since the strips cook on paper towels, no draining is necessary.

How is bacon prepared?

Bacon is prepared differently depending on the type of bacon and the region you’re in, but it is commonly brined and cold smoked or hot smoked to impart a smoky flavor in the meat. Then, the meat is typically sliced, and you can get it sliced in various thicknesses.

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