British bacon

Bacon in the UK

Both English bacon and streaky American bacon (made from pork belly) is popular in the United Kingdom. When the term bacon is used here without any qualifier, it typically refers to British-style back bacon rather than belly bacon. Back bacon will typically contain both a lean oval bit and a streaky bit. Middle cuts consisting of an eye of meat and an extended streaky section are common, but you can also find highly trimmed back cuts with no or very limited streaky parts.

Rasher is not a special type of bacon; the term just denotes a thin slice of bacon. Both British-style and American-style bacon can be referred to as a rasher in the UK, provided that it is a thin slice. Grilled (broiled) or fried British-style back bacon rashers is a part of a traditional English full breakfast, and the same is true for a traditional full Ulster breakfast and traditional full Scottish breakfast. In Wales, thick bacon is used for the full breakfast instead of rashers.

British-style back bacon can be dry-cured or wet-cured, and is sold smoked or unsmoked. Unsmoked bacon is sometimes referred to as green bacon.

Make your own British Bacon

This is one of many different ways to make bacon in Great Britain. This version yields a wet-cured nonsmoked bacon that can be grilled or fried. Grilling it (known in the U.S. as broiling) will remove more fat from the finished product, which is a bit sad since this bacon is comparatively lean to start with and whatever fat is there really contains a lot of flavor. If you nevertheless decide to grill the bacon, I suggest you capture and save the flavorsome fat for use in another dish.

Instructions

  1. Start out with 2 lbs of boneless pork loin. The fat should still be on it, not trimmed away. (Without fat, the end result will be more like ordinary ham.)
  2. Now it’s time to make the brine. In a big bowl, stir together ½ cup of coarse salt, ¼ cup of white sugar, ¼ cup of brown sugar and ¾ ounce of pink curing salt. Fill up with water until you have roughly ½ gallon of brine. Add juniper berries and coriander seed to taste.
  3. Submerge the pork loin in the brine for 3-4 days.
  4. You now have wet-cured British Bacon. I cook mine by putting it in an iron skillet and leave it to fry slowly over low heat.