Who doesn't love bacon? It's everywhere these days, ice cream, coffee, cupcakes, vodka, chocolate covered, chewing gum, bacon-scented candles, lip balm, soap & even deodorant.
In its original pure form, the smell is irresistibly intoxicating and the taste hits every taste bud.
Sunday in our house is when we have a fry up because its the law! Lol ok, not the law but it's tradition. Its good for the soul!
Usually its just bacon, sausage , eggs (fried in bacon fat of course!) but special occasions (usually means a hangover cure) call for a Full English or Full Monty (I’m not sure if this is just what we call it - when I worked in a canteen someone always asked for a Full Monty) bacon, sausage, eggs, black pudding, baked beans, tomatoes, mushrooms and bread! (Sometimes we fry the bread in bacon fat too!)
The morning after the night before
A full English breakfast is the best cure
Bacon, eggs and sausage fried
will stop you feeling like you died!
We like British style bacon but there are so many types of bacon and cures. Ayrshire, Wiltshire, British bacon, Canadian bacon, Berkshire bacon, we get asked for it all. There are so many types of bacon and different names I think you could write a book, I’ve cut it down to the most common questions we get asked.
Ayrshire and Wiltshire are a type of cure named after the areas in the UK where they were originally made. Berkshire bacon is simply bacon made from the Berkshire breed of pig with any chosen cure. (This is what all our bacon is made from but we call it by the cut of pork used. At the moment we wet cure it without the bones and skin)
Dry Cure - Pork is covered with a salt-based mixture
Wet Cure - Pork is immersed in a liquid brine.
Ayrshire bacon is produced from premium grade pigs and unlike some other kinds of bacon, the skin and bones are removed before curing. It's the only distinctive bacon cure in Scotland. The curing method, which begins with immersing the pork in brine, producing rich and flavoursome bacon that fries perfectly with no milky or watery residue. Once cured it is rolled and is quite distinctive with the fattier streaky rolled around the leaner back bacon.
Wiltshire Cure is traditionally wet cured with the skin on and bone-in. It has a slightly salty flavour and a distinctively meaty texture. Dating back to the 1840’s and developed by the Harris family in Wiltshire, the country’s most prominent bacon producing county. In an age without electric refrigeration, the family would pack the roof with ice to keep the meat fresher for longer.
Nowadays the process still involves bone-in and rind-on pork being immersed into a special brine for up to two days but the cold storage is rather more high tech! In accordance with the traditional Wiltshire method the bacon is given a fortnight to mature, and time – after salt – is the most important ingredient.
Different Bacon Cuts/names
A Rasher is what we Brits call a slice of bacon.
Canadian Bacon/Back bacon - Smoked or un-smoked bacon cut from the boneless pork loin, this is called ‘Canadian bacon’ in the United States when cut into a thick medallion shape.
Side bacon - Pork belly, generally wet cured and smoked.
Streaky bacon - Pork Belly/side bacon
Peameal bacon - is back bacon, brined and coated in fine cornmeal (historically, it was rolled in a meal made from ground dried peas).
Middle bacon - The loin and belly as one piece cured and sliced - can also be smoked
Our own British Style Berkshire Back Bacon - wet cured bacon (not smoked) made from the eye of the loin and a small piece of the belly, a much loved and missed bacon rasher for us Brits.
6 bacon bits of trivia
Bacon dates back to 1500BC - The Chinese were the first to cook salted pork bellies more than 3000 years ago. This makes bacon one of the world’s oldest processed meats.
The word bacon comes from the Germanic root “-bak,” and refers to the back of the pig that supplied the meat. Bakko became the French bacco, which the English then adopted around the 12th century, naming the dish bacoun. Back then, the term referred to any pork product, but by the 14th century bacoun referred specifically to the cured meat.
Bring home the bacon – there are a couple of possible origins to this saying. One goes back almost a thousand years to the Essex village of Dunmow where, it is said, in AD 1111 a noblewoman offered a prize of a side of bacon, to any man from anywhere in England who could honestly say that he had had complete marital harmony for the preceding year and a day. In over 500 years there were only 8 winners! (what a surprise lol) An alternative explanation comes from the ancient sport of catching a greased pig at country fairs. The winner kept the pig and ‘brought home the bacon’
To save one’s bacon again a couple of possible explanations - In the early 17th century, “bacon” was thieves’ slang for “escape” so it indicates that a situation has been rescued. Alternatively, it may mean the sides of home-killed bacon that every peasant family would have hanging up in the house. This would have been valuable property and if you or somebody else “saved your bacon” from fire or theft you would have had a narrow escape.
The first bacon factory opened in 1770 - a businessman named John Harris opened the first bacon processing plant in the county of Wiltshire, where he developed a special brine for finishing the meat - The "Wiltshire Cure".
It was used to make explosives during World War II - households were encouraged to donate their leftover bacon grease to the war effort. Rendered fats created glycerin, which in turn created bombs, gunpowder, and other munitions.
Tips for Cooking the perfect rasher.
(of course I am going to say start with Berkshire Bacon!)
Bring bacon to room temp for 15 to 20 mins.
Put in a cold frying pan - (don’t overlap the rashers)
Cook over medium heat for about 10 mins - turning as necessary
Line a microwave safe plate with paper towel
Lay bacon on top - don’t overlap the rashers
Cook on high for about 5 mins
Line a backing sheet with parchment paper and lay bacon on top. I use a pan with ridges in it so it saves the need for parchment.
Put in a cold oven then set oven to 400 degrees F.
Bake for about 30 mins until done to your liking.
Drain on paper towel.
Try this easy recipe to put a little gourmet spin on your bacon. You could also use maple syrup instead of honey and likely any spirit of your choice - let me know what your favourite is!
Honey whisky bacon
¼ teaspoon pepper
12 slices Cobblestone Farm Berkshire side bacon
¼ cup honey
2 tablespoons whisky
Preheat oven to 350 F - yes you can use the cold oven method if you like.
Combine honey and whisky in a small pan. Bring to boil. Remove from heat and let cool slightly
Lay bacon on a baking sheet and put in oven for 10 mins
Brush with honey whisky mix
Put back in oven for 10 -15 mins
Sprinkle with pepper and serve
Bacon & Jalapeno Canneloni
10 rashers Cobblestone Farm Berkshire side bacon
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup pickled jalapenos chopped
1/2 cup strong cheddar
Preheat oven to 350 degree F
Wrap 10 pieces of cannelloni in foil, tucking in edges. Wrap 1 slice of Berkshire bacon around each tube, and place on baking sheet.
Bake until very crispy, about 30-40 minutes. Set aside and allow to cool completely before filling.
While bacon cools, make the filling:
In a medium bowl, mix together the cream cheese, jalapeños, and cheddar cheese with an electric mixer until combined. Place mixture in a piping bag and fill each bacon shell.
Bacon Infused Vodka (Makes a mean Bloody Mary)
1/2lb Cobblestone Farm Berkshire side bacon (or bacon ends)
Screw top jars.
Cook the bacon.
Put cooled bacon and all the fat too - you throw it away later - in a jar and cover with vodka.
Close lid and leave it for 2 weeks.
Strain into a clean jar. Throw bacon and fat away.
Store in fridge until ready to use.
If you want to share your favourite bacon recipe add it in the comments below!