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FoodTech Report

Volume 7 Issue 2

Ask the Expert:
Consistent results when cooking bacon

Ian Burns

Ian Burns

Although bacon may not seem complex to cook, it can be challenging to achieve a consistent product that is similar in size and shape every time. Microwaving is a popular choice for many processors. JBT FoodTech's Double D business has developed alternative solutions to cooking bacon that use less water and less electricity, while still retaining an excellent overall color, taste and appearance. Ian Burns, a food processing development engineer, explains more.

Q: What factors can improve consistency when cooking bacon?
A: Greater control over oven temperature when cooking can produce a consistent product that is cooked evenly and retains excellent color and appearance. This can be achieved through an impingement process, which provides airflow on top of and below the products with high temperature capability. The Double D Revoband Linear Protein Cooker features a specially designed direct impingement system that has the ability to cook at temperatures of up to 540°F (280°C) and is designed to produce high volumes of well-cooked and consistently colored bacon. For complete consistency, it is also important to ensure the bacon is pre-sliced at the correct temperature and the pieces are of uniform thickness. To learn more about consistent thickness slicing for bacon, detailed discussion can be found in Volume 5, Issue 4 of FoodTech Report.

The Revoband Linear Protein Cooker features a hold-down belt that keeps bacon ultra-flat during and after cooking.

Q: Can curling or wrinkling be prevented during the bacon-cooking process?
A: Yes, however, processors tend to have different requirements on this. Bacon naturally becomes curly or wrinkled when cooked, producing some potentially unusable pieces. The ability to keep bacon flat benefits processors who supply to the fast-food and quick-service restaurant (QSR) sectors, many of which require ultra-flat bacon that fits within their desired bun coverage for burgers and sandwiches. The Revoband Linear Protein Cooker offers an optional “hold-down” belt, which is positioned on top of the bacon slices so they remain very flat during and after cooking, while retaining excellent color and appearance. The hold-down belt also slows down shrinkage of the bacon pieces and holds them still while blowers remove any surface fat. The result is a bigger, better-looking product.

Some processors don’t require completely flat bacon. In this case, even without the hold-down feature, the impingement pressure on the belt helps maintain good shape and appearance.

Click here to view a video demonstration of the Double D Clean-in-Place System.

Q: How can I minimize cleaning downtime without sacrificing food safety and quality?
A: For “heavy-cook” products, an efficient clean-in-place system is crucial because of grease and drippings left in the oven after cooking. The Revoband Linear Protein Cooker features an extensive system of sparge pipes that deliver a pressurized, heated solution through the cooker. The system also features oscillating brushes which can penetrate any difficult-to-reach overlaps in the belt weave, thoroughly removing any debris. The belt is then sprayed with fresh water to remove any chemical residue.

To learn more about bacon processing and impingement cooking, visit the JBT FoodTech Web site and the Double D Food Engineering Web site. Read more about JBT FoodTech’s recent acquisition of Double D Food Engineering in this issue of FoodTech Report.

Do you have a food processing question that you would like a JBT FoodTech expert to address in the next issue of FoodTech Report? Submit your question.

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