I was finishing up some bacon while smoking it on my charcoal cooker. But the weather wasn't cooperating and the wind was too high. I couldn't control my temperatures so I decided to finish it in the oven.
It was late and I had been up for quite awhile. So I decided to hurry the process. I set the oven to 350F and put a temperature probe in the bacon. I figured it would be good. Well, it was good cooked by the time the probe went off in the bacon at 150F. The outside was not just warm, it was cooked! And my cookie sheet was full of grease that had rendered out.
I knew better! The temperature to do this is 200F to 225F. Not 350F! Not Gas Mark 7! And I don't plan to make that mistake again. Was the bacon ruined? No, it was still very edible. But much harder to cut. Thank goodness I had tall sided pans or it could have been a real problem. And a good meat slicer to cut my bacon afterwards.
Why do we finish bacon in the oven? It is not required, since many cultures will "cold smoke" their bacon and serve it. It does a couple of things. One it is double insurance against any sort of buggies or contamination being eliminated. If you serve your bacon to any "at risk" folks, such as children under 5 years old, or elderly above 65 years old, not to mention anyone that is ill, warm finishing the bacon simply ensures that there is zero chance of a problem for them. It is not required.
And it improves the look of your bacon. The outside takes on the darker reddish brown that is associated with good bacon. So I always support warm finishing your bacon, either in the oven or by warm smoking if you have the equipment and wood for smoking meat. It adds beauty and gives you peace of mind.
So live and learn.