If you make your own bacon, or process your own hogs, you likely know how incredible homemade bacon is. English bacon is slightly different, but easy to make at home if you have a smoker.
After butchering a few hogs at home, I asked my friends for suggestions on new cuts to make with different parts of the pig. My friend Mathew Normansell, who's British, mentioned British bacon or British back bacon. They might also be known as English rashers.
What's English Bacon?
American bacon (called streaky bacon) is made from pork belly. English back bacon is a made from the loin. If you look at pictures it resembles thinly sliced pork chops, and that's exactly what it is.
English bacon is a cut from the loin with the fat cap attached. This gives it a nice combination of fat-to meat. It's a bit like Canadian bacon crossed with American bacon.
How to Cut English Bacon
The blue square above shows the rib-less section of the loin that will be your English bacon. If you need a refresher see this video tutorial on whole pig butchery.
- Cut the animal in half through the spine
- Lay the hog half, cut side up on a table
- Remove the shoulders
- Remove the legs
- Remove the belly in one piece, cutting in half with a handsaw for a straight cut
- Take the loin and find where the rib bones end
- Remove the rib-less ⅓ of the loin---this is your English bacon
How to Cook English Bacon
Cook UK bacon just like regular bacon, or eat it like ham. English bacon is an important part of a full English breakfast, along with fried tomatoes, beans, eggs, and black pudding. If you don't have time for a whole English breakfast, it's fine on it's own with some eggs and toast, or in a bacon sandwich like a BLT.
- 1 rib-less pork loin roast about 3-4 pounds, including the fat cap
- 8 oz brown sugar
- 4 oz kosher salt
- 10 grams or 1.5 teaspoons pink salt sodium nitrite
- ½ teaspoon whole cloves
- ½ teaspoon whole allspice
- ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- Combine the spices and grind to a fine powder in a spice grinder, then mix with the salt, pink salt, and sugar.
- Stand the pork roast up so that the fat cap is facing up. Score the fat ¼ inch deep in a cross-hatch pattern, then flip over and cut next to the bone/spine a bit as if you were going to start removing the bone. Follow the bone with a paring knife, revealing an inch or two in, to make it easier for the cure to absorb, and to give you an outline of where to cut to remove the bone when the “bacon” is done smoking.
- Rub the meat liberally with the cure, getting into all the nooks and crannies, then put in a zip loc bag or vacuum seal and refrigerate for 5 days, turning occasionally to distribute the juices.
- After 5 days, remove the pork from the liquid, rinse, pat dry, then refrigerate for at least a few hours, preferably overnight, uncovered, which will help it form a skin that will absorb smoke, known as the pellicle.
- Smoke the loin, fat side up at 225 for 3 hours, or until lightly browned and fully cooked (145-150F)* then cool, cut off the bone, slice, portion, vacuum seal and freeze or refrigerate until needed.