What Is a Bacon Press?

A Cast Iron Bacon Press Separates the Cookware Clowns from the BBQ Griddle Gods. That's why you NEED one.

| Read: 5 min

A cast iron Bacon Press from Norpro
Everyone needs a bacon press

The wielder of mighty Mjolnir, Thor himself, would be hard pressed to find a better kitchen tool for his bbq arsenal than that of a swine-emblazoned Bacon Press. And if you're going to be cooking the meat of the gods, you're going to want a tasty sidekick as a beverage. Perhaps a Zombie Dust?

You may be thinking, do I really need a bacon press? Yes, yes you do. And, you don't need to be a Norse God to benefit from owning the most enchanted of all grill tools. This holds true when you're cooking candied bacon.

Quite the treat to celebrate Bacon Day with this year.

Norpro Cast Iron Bacon Press

Norpro Cast Iron Bacon Press

A sturdy bacon press will actually allow you to feel the sizzle of the slices themselves. This will prove rewarding to no end.

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Benefits of Using a Cast Iron Bacon Press

There are distinct benefits to using a grill press. For starters, the bacon weight will add some heft, allowing the bacon strips to cook evenly. It will also keep the bacon flat, which will reduce curling. However, the biggest benefit to using a bacon press is the reduction in splatter. Trust us, your forearms will thank you for the purchase.

Why does bacon curl up when frying?

The protein cooks faster than the bacon fat renders. This happens because a fry pan will only apply heat to one side of the meat, unlike the even application that an oven provides. This is why you need the weight, to provide heat to both sides of the rashers simultaneously. An added benefit is a reduction in overall fuel (gas/electricity/firewood) consumption and in overall cooking time. No one wants to sit around waiting for cooked bacon. They want it, and they want it now!

This would work a bit different with a slab of pork belly, as pork belly and bacon get treated a bit differently when it comes to cooking.

Preparing, Cleaning, and Storing Your Cast Iron Press

You may be wondering, how do I care for a bacon press? Care comes from seasoning, cleaning, and storing your bacon press properly. Cast iron cookware requires seasoning. You will need vegetable oil, a cast iron skillet, a rag/paper towel, and a half hour of your time. During the process, you will want to run your stove fan to remove any smoke. Also, don't use a frying pan with a teflon coating, as the teflon will scratch the cast iron press.

The seasoning process is as follows:

  1. Set your stovetop between low and medium heat.
  2. Add vegetable oil to the cast iron skillet, just enough to cover the grill press for when you place it face down.
  3. Rub a light coat of oil on the bottom of the press with a rag or paper towel. Get the oil in the grooves.
  4. Then place the bacon press face down in the pan. Let it heat up for about 20, maybe 25 minutes.
  5. Wipe off the excess oil and let it cool down.
  6. After it cools down, give the press another light coat of oil.

The cleaning process:

The cleaning process is less involved. Hand wash the press in hot water and dry thoroughly. Hand towels and paper towels are acceptable. You don't want to use detergents as they will ruin the cast iron.

As for storage, there is only one rule:

Keep your bacon weight within arm's reach of your stove or grill at all times.

What Else Can You Make With a Bacon Press?

A meat press is one of those handy gadgets that you never knew you needed until you had one. And, if you don't keep one in stock on your countertop, you're missing out. Beyond cooking bacon, a cast iron press is good for grilling hamburgers, making homemade quesadillas and tortillas, and, serving as a makeshift panini press. It will even help you pan-sear veggies. So kiss your Breville goodbye, your new steak weight demands satisfaction.

What to Look for When Buying a Bacon Press

Your typical cooking situation is the most important factor when buying a bacon weight. Will you be cooking with a grill pan? Will you be outside on your patio standing at the barbecue grill? Bacon cookers need to weigh in on a few key factors before tossing a new press on the ol' credit card. Another thing to consider is packability. If you are going camping or renting a ski house (places where mass quantities of bacon get cooked), then bringing along a 3lb heavy metal pig (heh, heavy metal!) might not fit into your plans.

What are Bacon Presses made of?

Look for presses and related products that are made out of cast iron. They are a little extra work, but well worth it in the long run. Your next best bet is stainless steel, followed by aluminum.

A wooden handle should be top of mind when acquiring steak weight because a wood handle does not conduct heat. The stainless steel spring handle press isn't too bad, you just may have to wear an oven mitt or use a potholder if you're cooking for long enough.

How big are Bacon Weights?

It really depends on the shape. There are rectangular presses, round weights, and even unique shapes, like the Norpro porcine-shaped press. Rectangular presses generally keep a 4 inch side, along with a with a range of 6 to 8+ inches for the other. Round weights come in 7, 8, and even 9 inch dimensions.

How much does a Bacon Press weigh?

As low as 8oz and up to a couple of pounds. The Chef's Press keeps the weight low (8oz) because they are stackable. The big pig-shaped presses can come in upwards of nearly 3lbs.