Tuesday, November 11, 2008
British Style Back Bacon, an American Review.
I picked up some British style back bacon at Eats care of the William's Pork company. I have heard a lot about the differences between national bacon styles and the woes of American expats who are unable to find their accustomed bacon abroad. I have never had British/Irish style bacon, so when I saw this stuff at a very reasonable price I decided to give it a go.
The first obvious difference between American and British bacons is the cut of pork used to make them. The American bacon seen below is made from pork bellies, a very fatty cut of pig.
British bacon is made of center cut boneless pork loin. It kind of looks like very thinly cut pork chops with a little tail of darker meat. It is noticeably leaner then American streaky style bacon.
I threw this in the skillet with a little vegetable oil to brown. The British bacon does not give as much grease as American so a little more oil is necessary to achieve browning.
The cooked back bacon is a very different animal then what I am used to. You are not really going to achieve any great deal of crispness. If it is crisposity you seek, American bacon is the undisputed champ. It was too early to judge the bacon yet so I decided to see how another component of the pork. American bacon gives us a gift of luscious grease in which to cook our eggs and potatoes, the British stuff gives much less, barely enough to cook a couple of eggs.
I sat down with a nice plate of bacon and eggs to really see what this stuff is all about.
I was planning on making a definitive value judgment on who makes the better bacon, Britain or America. But after finishing the plate of the British style back bacon I decided that a direct comparison to our own bacon is really not fair. The two products are like comparing apples and oranges. Other than the fact that they are both a cured pork product they are really pretty different. If you are looking for crispy, greasy, salty and decadent goodness American bacon is definitely the way to go. British bacon has its own hight points, it has a delicious pork flavor and really goes well with eggs. It is not as salty and is totally without the smoked flavor of most American bacon. There is very little crispness, British bacon is more like eating an actual piece of meat, a thin pork chop if you will. It is not necessarily bad but it is so unlike the bacon that I was reared on that it defies comparison. I am not going to bad mouth the British stuff, but I would definitely miss our own homegrown strips of heavenly pork if I was forced to live abroad.