How Is Bacon Cooked In A Commercial Kitchen? A Look At The Most Popular Methods

Crispy, savory bacon is a breakfast staple found on menus across the country. But cooking up piles of perfect bacon for hungry customers takes skill and the right techniques. Commercial kitchens rely on efficient, large-scale cooking methods to churn out mountains of bacon every morning.

So how exactly is sizzling, delicious bacon prepared in a professional kitchen setting? Let’s take a look at some of the most common techniques used by restaurants, hotels, cafeterias and other foodservice operations.

Cooking Bacon on a Griddle

One of the most popular ways to cook bacon especially for high-volume breakfast places, is to use a large griddle. Griddles allow you to cook a lot of bacon at once and are commonly used to prepare other breakfast foods like eggs and pancakes.

To cook bacon on a griddle

  • Preheat griddle to 350°F, Stainless steel commercial griddles are ideal

  • Place bacon strips side by side directly on the hot griddle surface. Don’t overcrowd.

  • Cook for 2-3 minutes on the first side. Bacon should sizzle and start to stiffen.

  • Flip and cook 2-3 minutes on the second side. Adjust cooking times based on doneness preferences.

  • Use tongs and spatulas for easy flipping. Never pierce the bacon, which causes juices to escape.

  • Bacon is done when it’s fully browned and crispy.

  • Drain on paper towel-lined sheets.

The open surface makes it easy to flip and move bacon as needed. But the spattering grease can make griddles messy and difficult to clean.

Baking Bacon in the Oven

Another popular commercial technique is to bake bacon in the oven. This hands-off method allows you to cook large batches of bacon evenly with less splatter and fuss.

To bake bacon:

  • Preheat convection oven to 400°F. Line sheet pans with parchment paper.

  • Arrange raw bacon slices on pans in single layer without overlapping.

  • Bake for 15-18 minutes depending on thickness. Rotate pans front to back halfway through.

  • Bacon should be crisp and deeply browned when finished baking.

  • Remove from oven and transfer to paper towel-lined pans to drain.

The oven allows for very even cooking and is great when you need to prepare a lot of bacon at once. But it takes longer and requires more prep.

Frying Bacon on the Stovetop

Pan-frying in smaller batches is also popular in commercial kitchens when less bacon is needed. It requires more attention, but allows the chef to control doneness precisely.

To fry bacon:

  • Heat large skillet or sauté pan over medium heat. Add just enough bacon to fit without crowding.

  • Fry for 2-4 minutes on first side until underside is browned. Fry for 1-2 minutes on second side.

  • Adjust heat as needed to prevent overcooking or burning.

  • Use tongs to flip bacon. Drain on paper towel-lined sheet pan.

  • Repeat process in batches until all bacon is cooked. Pour out grease between batches.

Pan-frying is great for cooking smaller amounts or to order. But it can’t match the volume of griddles or ovens.

Deep Frying for Maximum Crispiness

For delicious crispy bacon, many restaurants deep fry it. The hot oil bubbles away moisture and seals the bacon for an ultra-crispy texture.

To deep fry bacon:

  • Heat 3 inches of oil to 360°F-375°F in deep fryer or large pot.

  • Fry bacon for 1-2 minutes on each side until dark golden brown.

  • Work in small batches to prevent oil temp from dropping drastically.

  • Drain fried bacon on paper towel-lined sheet pans. Sprinkle with salt.

  • Repeat process until all bacon is fried. Discard oil when done.

While deep-frying makes bacon extra crispy, it requires close monitoring of the hot oil. Improperly heated oil can make food greasy.

The Challenges of Cooking Bacon in a Commercial Kitchen

When cooking up pounds of bacon every morning, kitchens face some unique challenges:

  • Time-consuming – Traditional bacon cooking methods take time, especially when dealing with high volumes. Stovetop frying and baking in the oven both have lots of active cooking time.

  • Messy – Bacon grease spatters on griddles and skillets. Oven-baking requires lining sheet pans. Deep-frying calls for hot oil. Lots of clean-up is needed afterwards.

  • Inconsistent results – It’s tricky getting every piece evenly cooked and crisped when frying or baking large batches. Some pieces likely end up underdone or burnt.

  • Food safety – Handling large volumes of raw pork raises the risk of cross-contamination in the kitchen.

To solve these challenges, many commercial kitchens are turning to pre-cooked bacon.

The Efficiency of Pre-Cooked Bacon

Rather than starting from raw, pre-cooked bacon provides a convenient shortcut for busy kitchens. Brands like Hormel® BLACK LABEL® Perfectly Cooked Bacon are pre-cooked using a proprietary process to lock in flavor, then flash-frozen to preserve freshness.

To use pre-cooked bacon:

  • Thaw sealed packages overnight in the fridge.

  • Heat bacon on the griddle or in the oven until hot and crisp.

  • Microwave individual slices directly on a plate.

  • Add pre-cooked bacon already hot and crispy to dishes.

The benefits of using pre-cooked bacon include:

  • Huge time savings – No long cooking required, just a quick crisping or reheat.

  • Less mess – Minimal splatter, dripping, or cleanup since most grease is removed pre-cooking.

  • Consistent results – Every slice gets perfectly cooked with the ideal crispness.

  • Food safety – Fully cooked from the start, reducing risks.

Pre-cooked bacon simplifies prep work and allows the kitchen to focus on creative menu options rather than lengthy bacon cookery.

Serving Crispy Bacon All Day Long

From crunchy BLTs to loaded breakfast sandwiches, customers crave bacon around the clock. Here are tips for keeping pre-cooked bacon hot and crisp for all-day menu service:

  • Hold bacon in a hot box or warmer drawer near the griddle to keep hot. Place between parchment sheets.

  • Reheat to order in small batches on the flat-top grill or in the oven.

  • Microwave single slices for 20-30 seconds directly on a plate.

  • Fry reheated bacon in a skillet for 1 minute per side to recrisp.

  • For salads and bowls, break bacon into bits and sprinkle on just before serving.

  • Mix crumbled bacon into burger toppings and melty cheese dips.

  • Use in layered sandwiches that will be grilled or pressed to recrisp the bacon.

No matter when customers crave that smoky, savory bacon flavor, pre-cooked bacon stays ready for action all day long.

Storing and Disposing of Bacon Grease

One downside all that sizzling bacon creates is excess bacon grease. While this flavorful fat shouldn’t go to waste, proper storage and disposal is crucial.

Commercial kitchens should:

  • Pour hot bacon grease into an empty can for cooling. Strain if needed to remove food particles.

  • Store cooled grease in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to 1 month. Freeze for longer storage.

  • Use small amounts to enhance flavor of certain dishes like brussels sprouts or baked beans.

  • Never pour grease down drains, which can clog pipes.

  • Discard hardened grease in the trash once fully cooled.

  • Consider donating unused grease to biodiesel processing centers.

Following safe storage methods keeps plumbing running smoothly and avoids rancid grease odors.

Serving Up Breakfast Bliss

Satisfying hungry breakfast crowds with mountains of mouthwatering bacon is an art. Commercial kitchens employ specialized techniques to cook bacon efficiently and consistently. Pre-cooked bacon provides a fast and easy solution to keep the savory bacon coming all day long without the hassle.

So next time you bite into a perfectly crispy strip of bacon at a restaurant, take a moment to appreciate the culinary skills and kitchen mastery it took to create that bacon bliss.

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


Do restaurants pre-cook bacon?

The secret is pre-cooking your bacon According to Epicurious, par-cooking it in the oven is the preferred method of many restaurant owners. Once it’s cooked, they layer the bacon slices on paper towels to absorb the fat and refrigerate.

Why does restaurant bacon taste different?

Lean bacon is key The bacon chefs use in restaurants, however, is usually far leaner than the supermarket kind. Chefs often have the benefit of specifying with their suppliers how they like their meat-to-fat ratio, and this gives them less fatty bacon that has the perfect amount of lubrication without getting greasy.

How do you cook bacon in the oven?

Compared to cooking on the stovetop, the oven will expose the bacon to heat from all sides, ensuring it cooks more evenly. To use this technique, follow these steps: Heat your oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Add the bacon slices to the sheet. Place in the oven.

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.”

Can you cook bacon in a pan?

“Crowding a pan with bacon slices can cause them to steam instead of crisp, resulting in uneven cooking.” If you need to prepare a large amount of bacon on the stovetop, Lonsdale advises cooking it in batches for evenly cooked and crispy slices. If you want to cook perfect bacon, do not use a thin pan.

How long does it take to cook bacon?

Total Time: 10 minutes (regular- and thick-cut bacon) About This Method: I used the instructions from Food52 ’s roundup of bacon cooking methods. I arranged bacon slices in a cold nonstick pan and cooked on medium heat, flipping the slices occasionally as needed.

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