What exactly is British Bacon?
Ahhh bacon … the sizzle, the smell which permeates a house and creates hunger pangs from nowhere. So pungent, it has the power to raise teenage boys from their slumber and draw them out of their darkened rooms into the communal family space … (yes, guilty as charged!)
But what is the difference between British, Canadian and American bacon?
Simply put, it’s all in the cut:
· American bacon is cut from the belly of the pig. In the UK we call this “streaky” bacon. As you would expect, this cut is very fatty.
· Canadian bacon is cut from the loin of the pig, so this is thicker, meatier and very lean.
· British bacon is cut from the loin with a little part of the belly attached. This makes it much meatier than American bacon, but with the addition of the belly it is less dry than the Canadian bacon.
If you already knew all that, here’s something you might not already know … in America the USDA does not permit any cut other than the belly to be called “bacon”
Here is the USDA definition of bacon: The term "bacon" is used to describe the cured belly of a swine (hog) carcass. If meat from other portions of the carcass is used, the product name must identify the portions where the bacon comes from, e.g., "Pork Shoulder Bacon."
A few other terms you might hear the Brit’s use when talking about bacon:
· Rasher - this is simply a slice. As in “how many rashers would you like in your sandwich?”
· Green bacon - this is the term used for unsmoked bacon. American bacon is always smoked. British is often smoked, but not always. When it is unsmoked it is called “green bacon”.
· Cure – there are different methods used: a wet cure (where the meat is soaked in brine – this process is quicker, taking typically about 5 days) or a dry cure (where the meat is covered in a salt mixture and left for about 10 days)
· Butty – a sandwich traditionally made of thick sliced white bread and butter. The term is now commonly used when referring to a bacon sandwich (where the bacon is served hot – not to be confused with the BLT where the bacon is served cold with the tomato and lettuce).
We’ll be making our own bacon at The Salt Pot Kitchen, using brines and cures developed by Charlie, and smoking them on our recently purchased smoker, but in the meantime, we will be supplementing with delicious back bacon from R.J. Balson's.
Our regular spot will be at Gilbert's Corner Farmers Market, which is at the roundabout (circle) where Route 15 and Route 50 intersect, Aldie, VA every Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 AM - 3:30 PM EST where you can guarantee a Bacon Butty or a Full English Breakfast no matter the time of day!