How to cook bacon effectively

In general, cooked bacon can be defined as crispy or regular bacon. Crispy bacon have a weight loss greater than 65 percent and is best cooked in Belt Grill’s at 260°C (500°F) for about a minute. Regular bacon is cooked at 240 to 260°C for about 45 seconds and has weight losses generally about 45 to 50 percent. 

ConDuoTemperatureWeight loss
40 sec240°C40%
50 sec250°C55%
60 sec250°C65%
75 sec260°C70%

ConDuo Belt Grill’s produce a flat bacon while ConduVec Combi oven’s produce a wavy, to some more natural looking bacon.

ConDuoVec cooking systems for bacon unite the Belt Grill and Combi Oven technologies. The function of the Belt Grill is to rise the temperature quickly and kick-start the thermal process before the appearance take place in the Combi Oven.

The temperature of 2 mm thick and -8°C (18°F) slices of bacon reaches 72°C (172°F) after only 7 seconds in the Belt Grill modules. The bacon is only pre-cooked in the Belt Grill modules and requires further cooking in Combi Oven modules for final texture and appearance.

Modular cooking systems which unite Belt Grill’s and Combi Oven’s, like ConDuoVec, have one thoroughgoing and solid Teflon-belt for product conveyance and fat collection. Belt Grill modules have two heated Teflon belts below and above slices, while Combi Oven modules have one heated Teflon-belt and Broiler Grills atop to allow slices to become crisp and wavy.   

ConDuoVecTemperatureWeight loss
90 sec240°C40%
120 sec250°C55%
195 sec250°C65%
210 sec260°C70%

Back bacon is generally thicker than regular or streaky bacon. On Belt Grill’s, back bacon is cooked at temperatures about 235°C (455°F) to avoid blackening. Back bacon can be cooked on Belt Grill’s, Combi Oven’s and ConDuoVec modular cooking systems alike.

Bacon bits or bacon cubes can be produced from “gripper ends” on ConduVec Combi Oven’s. The heated Teflon-belt is solid and retain the pork fat on top of the belt throughout the entire cooking process. This in turn, allow fat and drippings to be collected.

Bacon bits are diced at negative temperature around -6°C (21°F). Maintaining low product temperature after dicing allow bits to be fed onto the cooking system by an Infeed Vibrator. The vibrator delivers a even layer of bacon bits across the Combi Cooker’s entire belt width.

Bacon cubes decrease in size during the thermal process. Cubes can therefore be fed and cooked in 1,5 to 2,5 layers with all-around browning. The belt-load of 10×10 mm (0,4×0,4 in) cubes is circa 3 kilos per m2 (7,3 lb per ft2).

Well coloured bacon cubes with 55 percent weight loss requires about 3.25 to 4.5 minutes in a Combi Oven. 

Bellies are sometimes rolled before slicing to produce round bacon, typically for hamburgers. Belt Grill’s pinch the slices between their Teflon-belts which in turn prevent the ends from opening.

Slicing-thickness and cooking-parameters for round bacon are similar to those used for regular bacon.   

Production widthRaw dimensionsWeight
Slices per linear meter
600 mmW220xL35xH2 mm18 g.40 slices
600 mmW85xL35xH2mm7 g.120 slices
1000 mmW220xL35xH2 mm18 g.80 slices
1000 mmW85xL35xH2mm7 g.200 slices
1200 mmW220xL35xH2 mm18 g.100 slices
1200 mmW85xL35xH2mm7 g.240 slices

It is common to slice and cook bacon with the long-side-leading when using pendulum slicers. Pendulum slicers lie down several rows of slices at one time.

It is however possible to cook bacon with the short-side-leading.

Bellies can be smoked, sweet cured or salted and then frozen to about -15°C (5°f). While frozen, the bellies width and height are pressed to define their dimensions before slicing.

Pendulum slicers are dependent on pre-defined dimensions to deliver uniformed weights to the cooking system. When length and width are defined, then the thickness of slices produces the uniformed weight.

Depending on numerous factors, salt content and method of slicing, bellies are sometimes tempered during 16 to 32 hours before slicing to allow the temperature to equilibrate. Normal temperature for slicing with pendulum slicer is about -6 to -9°C (21 to 16°F).

Slicing at higher temperatures cause variations in thickness, weight and cooking result. Slicing at too low temperature cause the bacon to curl, move and potentially end-up on top of each other while they are cooked.

Slicer’s lay down individual slices in rows with a defined distance between them. The distance between rows is determined by the belt-speed and how many rows the slicer cut per minute. The rows of sliced bacon and the distance between them form an organised pattern which must be maintained through the process to prevent bacons from moving and causing marriage during the thermal process.

A Liquid Dipper can be installed between the slicer and the Belt Grill to submerge bacon slices functional liquids before cooking. Functional liquids can contain smoke, caramel, nitrite, etc. to enhance colour, texture, taste, shelf-life, etc.

Belt Grill’s (also called Contact Fryer’s and Teflon Contact Cookers) are highly effective systems for cooking of regular and crispy bacon. Their conductive surfaces and Teflon belts apply 260°C (500°F) direct heat to both sides of the bacon slices simultaneously.

In short, Belt Grill’s govern the dwell time, cooking temperatures and the distance between conductive surfaces below and above the sliced bacon. Two horizontal Teflonbelts convey the sliced rows of bacon between two Teflon belts according to a defined dwell time. 

The precise distance between the heated surface must correlate with the thickness of the slices. The distance is vital for uniformed conduction across and along the entire cooking zone. Variations in distance between conductive surfaces, or variations in the bacon thickness may cause colour and weight loss to fluctuate.   

Fat and drippings are collected them to be transferred to IBC (Intermediate Bulk Containers) for further use.

A Fat Remover (also called Fat Blower or Air Knife) may be incorporated at the end of ConDuo Belt Grill’s to remove excess surface-fat from the cooked slices before low temperature preservation.   

Impingement and cryogenic freezers are commonly used to reduce the temperature of cooked bacon. The thin slices crust-freezes in under a minute, partly due the low water content after losing 45 to 70 percent of fat and water during the cooking process.

The crust-frozen slices will rapidly gain temperature after freezing as they are exposed to positive surface and ambient temperatures. Maintaining the organised pattern, from slicing through the cooking and freezing processes may ease the after-coming packing.    

Crispy bacon in particular is fragile. Their uniformed cooked-weight comes from known dimensions and uniformed slicing-thickness, producing a uniformed start weight, weight loss and thereby a known cooked-weight. Such bacon can therefore be counted by piece to final packing weight.  

Regular bacon can be weighted by a multi-head-weight before bagging in a VFFS machine.