Beefy bacon
June 29, 2005 3:03 PM   Subscribe

I was eating a bacon butty this evening and I was wondering why beef isn't traditionally cut that thinly and cooked in the same way.
posted by feelinglistless to Food & Drink (30 answers total)
 
It is. Examples: Philly cheesesteak, Chicago Italian beef sandwich
posted by rxrfrx at 3:05 PM on June 29, 2005


Hmm. Or maybe the Italian beef is cut from a whole roast beefe. Either way, the cheesesteak is a good example (a fatty cut like ribeye is commonly used)
posted by rxrfrx at 3:06 PM on June 29, 2005


Pastrami and French dip also.
posted by y6y6y6 at 3:08 PM on June 29, 2005


I don't know what a "bacon butty" is, but I do know that just about all deli cold cuts of beef are pretty thin. Your average generic Roast Beef Sandwich is usually comprised of some mighty thin cuts of beef.
posted by majick at 3:20 PM on June 29, 2005


For those who aren't in the know, bacon butty. It's basically a bacon sandwich.
posted by handful of rain at 3:27 PM on June 29, 2005


Note that pastrami, smoked meat, French dip, and various deli cuts are all sliced thin from a large roast after cooking.

The poster is asking about stuff that's cut thin, then cooked on a griddle.
posted by rxrfrx at 3:30 PM on June 29, 2005


Oh. Wikipedia on Bacon butty.

Not as fun as it could be.

Preview:

Damn! Rain, don't do that!
posted by SlyBevel at 3:31 PM on June 29, 2005


Oh. So the question, after translation from Garbledese, is "why doesn't anyone make something bacon-like out of beef?" In which case, the answer is that they do. In fact one of my favorite dishes to cook and eat is a vaguely Szetchuan crispy beef, over rice. I usually cut the beef quite a bit thinner than bacon, though. Bacon's not especially thin compared to some other meat servings.
posted by majick at 3:33 PM on June 29, 2005


Actually my garbledese has a pronounced accent...

As a secondary question then, how come this thin beef isn't available in supermarkets and sold in the same way as bacon. From your answers it seems to be something which appears in particular recipes rather than as a quick snack.
posted by feelinglistless at 3:38 PM on June 29, 2005


You say "Butty". Are you in the UK? In my experience, cured beef doesn't have much of a tradition in UK butchery, which - as bacon is sliced cured pork - would explain why you haven't seen it.
posted by coach_mcguirk at 3:40 PM on June 29, 2005


I've had beef-bacon. It's tasty, but not the same.
posted by falconred at 3:46 PM on June 29, 2005


L: Do you know what I fancy right now?

R: A big, fat woman with thighs the size of a hippo's.

L: No, I want a triple fried egg butty with chili sauce and chutney.

[/Derail]
posted by googly at 3:46 PM on June 29, 2005


"how come this thin beef isn't available in supermarkets and sold in the same way as bacon."

It is. The same supermarket meat counter that sells sliced bacon will usually sell sliced beef -- typically sirloin -- often labeled for use in stir fry.

Packages of shaved beef differ from bacon packages in that shaved beef is often in a frozen packet or a tub of some kind, but it's there.
posted by majick at 3:51 PM on June 29, 2005


In the UK it is called minute (minit) steak or frying steak and you can buy it anywhere, either in steak form or shredded for stir frys.
posted by fire&wings at 3:59 PM on June 29, 2005


Two points: one - beef is sold thinly sliced, particularly at Asian food markets for use in sukiyaki, hot pot and other such dishes. two - it might be very unappetizing to cook such beef in the same way as bacon as the relatively lower fat content would make the beef really dry if fried to the same extent.
posted by birdsquared at 4:08 PM on June 29, 2005


It is. Examples: Philly cheesesteak, Chicago Italian beef sandwich

Anyone lucky enough to live in California would add "Barbequed Tri Tip Sandwiches" to this list. Mmm...sliced tri tip.
posted by muddgirl at 4:54 PM on June 29, 2005


Already some marked best answers, but I feel like there is a basic missing point here - Bacon is from a specific cut for which I don't think there is a real equivalent on the cow (or bull) and is generally cured by salting and sometimes smoking. Meat for cheese steak sandwiches is from sliced uncured sirloin generally. Bacon (and pancetta, and "chinese bacon") is a way to use the fatty belly of the pig. The same region of a cow becomes flank steaks. Flank steak is often used to make beef jerky, but outside of Mexican machaca is infrequently cooked these days.

See here for some red hot compare and contrast action. As noted above, pastrami and corned beef are actually the closest, but they come from a different cut of meat and they generally are not sliced prior to cooking, having been cured and cooked prior to arrival in the kitchen.

The fat content issue noted above is the real difference - I would assert by way of analogy that you don't see Peking Chicken preparations because the basic physiology of the chicken is too dissimilar to duck to really make it work.
posted by mzurer at 4:54 PM on June 29, 2005


Since pork bacon (streaky bacon) is from the pig's belly, are there any cuts from a cow's belly?
posted by nprigoda at 6:59 PM on June 29, 2005


Actually, flank steak is very often used in Chinese stir-fries, but again, that's not cured or prepped in any way that matches the process involved with making bacon.
posted by Big Fat Tycoon at 8:51 PM on June 29, 2005


in chile we have something churrasco that's basically fried, thinly sliced beef, typically in a sandwich. it doesn't go crispy like bacon (i guess because it has less fat).
posted by andrew cooke at 9:14 PM on June 29, 2005


Since pork bacon (streaky bacon) is from the pig's belly, are there any cuts from a cow's belly?

Brisket.

It's great. Doesn't fry too well, though (not enough fat in certain varieties of cow, *too* fat in others to hold togather). Not sure why it isn't more commonly smoked, though, but it's great in stews and soups. Could be that there's too much connective tissue that it's tough to eat without stewing.
posted by PurplePorpoise at 9:28 PM on June 29, 2005


Not commonly smoked? Have you been to texas?
posted by piro at 10:40 PM on June 29, 2005


It sounds like you would really love bresaola. It's an Italian cold cut, basically a beef prosciutto. Mmmm.
posted by cali at 12:16 AM on June 30, 2005


Wikipedia on Bacon butty.

It says they usually have gravy on, what drivel is that? It's HP sauce or nothing.
posted by biffa at 5:44 AM on June 30, 2005


There are also people who make stuff simply called beef bacon.

in chile we have something churrasco that's basically fried, thinly sliced beef, typically in a sandwich. it doesn't go crispy like bacon (i guess because it has less fat).
Ah! Thanks for enlightening me, Andrew, the Falkland Islands have a version of churrasco and it's just a burger the size of a dinner plate with lots of garlic, I always wondered why they didn't just call it a big burger. I guess that's because they're trying to pretend it's not just a big burger...

Oh. So the question, after translation from Garbledese, is "why doesn't anyone make something bacon-like out of beef?"
majick, that's Garbledese, also known as British English. Don't you just hate these obscure dialects spoken only a few million people?
posted by penguin pie at 6:56 AM on June 30, 2005


And if you like Japanese cusine, yakiniku makes use of very thinly sliced beef.
posted by Arthur Dent at 7:53 AM on June 30, 2005


i think churrasco means barbecue in brazil (something like a chilean parrillada), so the falklands/malvinas thing may refer to that.
posted by andrew cooke at 8:40 AM on June 30, 2005


Bacon in the UK is more like a thin slice of fried ham (at least the "bacon" I had was). You can find a similar product known as "back bacon" in Canada (also similar to ham). Disgusting stuff, nowhere near as delicious as real bacon.
posted by deborah at 11:18 AM on June 30, 2005


My butcher (since unfortunately retired) used to make his own beef bacon. He said it was from the same part of the cow that, in pigs, gives pig bacon.

It didn't shrink like pork bacon, though. Had a nutty taste to it. He pepper cured it. Lovely stuff. Wrapped in fresh pita bread, it was heaven.
posted by QIbHom at 2:05 PM on June 30, 2005


beef bacon? I'll look out for that.
posted by feelinglistless at 3:49 PM on June 30, 2005


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