Well Fed Buff: Out of the frying pan and into the bacon

Photo: cookbookman17

Vegans and vegetarians, this is not the Well Fed Buff for you. This week, it's time to talk Thick-Cut Bacon.

I loved bacon as a child, but once I had to cook it myself, I swore off. Popping, sizzling grease and I don't play well together, and so (I naively believed) that was that. But then last year, it was out of the frying pan and into the bacon when I discovered the wonderful world of alternative preparation methods -- that, plus a bunch of really good recipes (like Half a Lovely Apple ... With Bacon) that simply beg to be made on a regular basis.

Got a hankering for some bacon? Let's go over the best ways to cook up some bacon with no fuss (and even with very little mess) and then dig in to a couple of delicious recipes from fellow WoW Insider readers.

The Way of the Bacon

Ready to cook some sizzling-hot bacon? Choose from the three basic methods.

1. Fry it up. Take bacon out of the fridge about five minutes before you cook it, to let the fat soften. Start cooking in a cold pan (preferably cast iron) to reduce the risk of scorching. Cook your bacon over medium to medium-low heat one side at a time (no constant flipping) until it's browned to your preference on each side. Keep a close eye on things the entire time; fried bacon is persnickety and prone to curling and burning.

2. Microwave it. Six pieces of bacon on a plate between two pieces of paper towel cooks in about four to six minutes on high. Check after two minutes and then keep going in one-minute increments until it's cooked to your taste. Quick, easy and so much less mess!

3. Bake it. Tuck a broiler tray or cooling rack into a cookie sheet (to catch the drippings) and lay the bacon on top. You can cook at anywhere from 350 degrees to 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 to 15 minutes; again, keep an eye on your bacon so that it doesn't get too crispy for your taste.

Bacon recipes worth making

Once you've whet your appetite with Half a Lovely Apple ... With Bacon, you'll be primed to try these recipes from fellow WoW Insider readers.

Bacon Stuffed-Crust Pizza Nobody said this was going to be healthy. This pizza recipe comes from Ceraphus of The Sundering and Azeroth Pirate Radio. He calls it the "Porkapolypse Edition" recipe, noting that you can substitute other goodies for bacon. (But why would you?)

Bacon and Brew Chili Those of you who remember my fondness for cooking with beer will understand why I had to share this next recipe, also from Ceraphus. "My family loves when it gets cold, because it means I make my chili," he writes. "My sister-in-law will drive 60 miles just to get a bowl. So what's the secret to my homemade chili? Well if you must know, it's bacon and beer." We're in.

Bacon and Bleu Dip Here's one last bacon-crazy recipe from Ceraphus, and it's got everything you'd expect from an oozy, cheesy, delectable dip. Ceraphus claims this recipe is so easy even a caveman can do it. I'll bite.

Brussels SproutsWith Bacon Need a good way to get your veggies down the hatch? Try @thedeohcee's method:

OK, people, you know what's next: Share your favorite bacon recipes in the comments. It's cold outside, and the sizzling bacon awaits!