/ Food & Drink

Bringing home the bacon: how do you have yours?

Bacon

The saying goes that everything tastes better with bacon, and I’m inclined to agree, but does how you cook and serve it make any difference, and will it pay to buy a more expensive cut? 

Whether it’s stuffed between two slices of fluffy white bread with a good dollop of ketchup (sorry, brown sauce fans!), wrapped around a sausage for your Christmas Day pigs-in-blankets, or sat alongside a fried egg, baked beans and all the trimmings for your full English, for me, bacon really is the star of the show.

I personally think the wonderful sizzling sound as it cooks and the resulting smoky, meaty aroma is one of the best alarm clocks around. The smell of it can definitely help to drag me down to the breakfast table in the morning.

But what do you look for when buying your bacon and how do you like to cook it? These days, you can buy smoked or unsmoked bacon, in a range of thickness, cures, cuts, and saltiness, and cook it in the aforementioned ways and more. All of these can affect the flavour.

Or perhaps you like to check the provenance and welfare of your bacon. Outdoor bred vs outdoor reared? Red Tractor vs RSPCA-assured?

Rasher decision

Our expert panel recently blind taste tested 10 premium brands of bacon and they agreed that fat content, saltiness and the thickness of the cut could all affect how much they liked it.

There’s also debate around cooking methods when it comes to bacon. Some people swear by frying bacon, others prefer to grill it, and some even microwave it.

One of our expert panel members suggested cooking it in the oven on a very low heat (130°C) for half and hour. When I tried this method, it produced bacon that was crispy yet succulent, and not at all dried-out.

How do you cook your bacon?

Grill it (46%, 725 Votes)

Fry it (27%, 423 Votes)

I don't eat bacon (17%, 266 Votes)

Microwave it (7%, 106 Votes)

Other (3%, 53 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,573

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So what do you look for when buying bacon? Smoked or unsmoked? Back bacon or streaky? And how do you like to cook and eat your bacon? Grill or fry? Sandwich or roll? Ketchup or brown sauce?

Comments
Guest
Alan Ward says:
21 October 2017

My first choice in choosing bacon is that it MUST be British, unsmoked & a thicker slice.
I’ll usually grill, as always use grill for accompanying sausage & hash browns. Maybe halved tomato & mushrooms.
For a quick butty it’ll be microwave, pouring off excess fat every minute or so.
In all cases I’ll slice into fatty edge (doing all slices in a pack in one go) at intervals which stops slices from curling up and helping crisp up fatty edge, my preference.
Am looking forward to trying the oven method in the article.

Guest
Ivan Hall says:
2 November 2017

All modern bacon contains some water, even today’s dry cure. Im my youth dry cure was commonest in our part of the world, and was as solid as parma ham. Today it would have a label like salami “product contains (well over 100gm) pork per 100gm of product. Cure is also at a lower strength than historically, to limit the ingestion of nitrates / nitrites, hence todays bacon is not so dry.
Wiltshire traditional wet cure involved a long soak in a swimming pool sized bath of brine. Today this is hurried up by injecting the cure into the meat, but the water content is about the same (12-13%). The main problem with cooking wet cured bacon comes if you buy a thin sliced product. Oh for the days of the countertop bacon slicer! However Lidl do a thick cut bacon (smoked and non) for just over £4 a kilo and it cooks and tastes well. £10 a kilo bacon is just a “lifestyle” choice – if the testers buy this, you’re paying them far too much…..

Guest
wendog says:
2 February 2018

My grandson has a severe gut problem which has been treated by the ‘top ‘ specialist in UK, and then various others for the last 3 years.
So far nobody has been able to make a clear diagnosis.
At this time we have been referred to a paediatric nature doctor who we are very enthused about, and as my grandson more or less exists on bacon she is very happy for him to continue but with NITRATE free bacon!!
Can anyone tell me where this is available, and also WHY has all the bacon I have so far looked at (top supermarkets) got nitrates in? I realise it is to prolong the life? but surely we should be able to have the choice!
My grandson cooks the best bacon – slowly fried streaky, turned occasionally for about 15 minutes….. shown an old dog new tricks!!

Guest

Hi Wendog – it would be interesting to know if the nitrate-free bacon helps your grandson, I hope it does! I found this article from The Guardian which I hope helps 🙂 https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/dec/29/nitrate-free-naked-bacon-rashers-to-reach-british-supermarkets

Guest

Nitrites are added to processed meats as a preservative to prevent food poisoning and nitrates used to prevent the pink meat becoming an unappetising grey colour. I’m all in favour of getting rid of nitrites and nitrates but wonder about the safety of not having a preservative. Maybe the salt content has been increased.