English Bacon, Canadian Bacon . . . Who knew there was so much to a pig?
March 16, 2006 5:00 AM   Subscribe

While abroad last fall, I had really awesome sandwhiches. It seemed like every pub we ate in had a brie-and-bacon-on-some-sort-of-bread available. Now that I'm back in the states, I want to know where to find English bacon, or how to substitute for it.

I've found a couple of things online, but I'm not getting enough detail (like, a picture of it cooked, since that's the only way I've ever seen not-American or not-Canadian bacon). This looks promising. Bonus Points: If you live in or around Atlanta, is there a local butcher or other shop that you know of that sells this stuff?
posted by Medieval Maven to Food & Drink (11 answers total)
By English bacon, do you mean back bacon?
posted by Orange Goblin at 5:57 AM on March 16, 2006

Most bacon in the UK is 'back bacon'.

Most US bacon is what the brits would call 'streaky bacon'.

'Canadian Bacon' (in the US) is sweet-pickled back-bacon rolled in yellow peameal, so a reasonably close match to the brit stuff. But it is usually cut thicker than the British stuff and it is definitely sweeter. If you can get a butcher to cut it a bit thinner for you it will be closer for sure.

Bacon on Wikipedia

Bacon blog

Cooking for Engineers experiments with bacon
posted by unSane at 6:00 AM on March 16, 2006

You almost certainly had back bacon in the UK. Streaky bacon would work just as well in that sandwich, IMO.

The words for bacon seem to be all over the place, but I think:

bacon(US) == streaky bacon(UK)
canadian bacon (US) == back bacon(CA)
irish bacon (US) == back bacon(UK)

Both Canadian Bacon and Irish Bacon are loin cuts, but Irish Bacon is cut thinner and has a rind of fat. Can't help you with a suplier, but try to get dry-cured if you can.
posted by Leon at 6:07 AM on March 16, 2006

You can get vacuum packed back bacon at most stores that sell Irish or English or Scottish tchotchkes. They'll almost always have a refrigerated area with all sorts of sausages and the like even if things don't seem supermarkety from the outside.

Just look for Union Jacks or those Irish harps or a load of tartans in the window. Keyword: tacky.
posted by bcwinters at 6:18 AM on March 16, 2006

You may find what you're looking for at the Grateful Palate (no relation).
posted by grateful at 6:25 AM on March 16, 2006

In Ireland last year it seemed the bacon was called "rashers", which i assumed was the same as back bacon. It sure was yummy.

I've seen it in regular grocery stores in the states, at least in the Boston Area.
posted by bondcliff at 7:12 AM on March 16, 2006

a "rasher" is a unit of bacon, i.e. it's a synonym for a "slice"
posted by patricio at 7:18 AM on March 16, 2006

I can think of few foodstuffs that are better in Britain than America (disclosure: Brit living in America) but bacon is surely one of them. Standard American bacon is far more horrible than the worst I've ever had in Britain.
Rant aside, I would think that the back bacon you linked to in the question would do the trick nicely. Be careful not to overcook it; American bacon is usually cooked to a crisp, but this should remain pliable and succulent!
For equally nice sandwiches, perhaps Italian alternatives such as prosciutto would be easier to obtain and just as tasty? (I've never been to Atlanta, and live in an Italian neighborhood of the Bronx so that's the case for me!).
The Brie should be allowed to age for as long as you can bear to wait before you eat it; it will still be hard in store, most likely. Whilst good Brie is readily available in the US, great Brie is hard to find because of the requirement for cheese to be made from pasteurised milk.
posted by nowonmai at 7:40 AM on March 16, 2006

You could learn to make your own. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has very clear instructions, and a gung-ho enthusiasm that puts botulism far to the back of your mind.
posted by roofus at 8:00 AM on March 16, 2006

As an aficionado of sandwiches, you've peaked my interest -- what is this brie and bacon and some sort of bread concoction? Anyone have any more details on what kind of sandwich we're talking about here? Sounds like the perfect thing to soak up a pint.
posted by incessant at 8:56 AM on March 16, 2006

I had it twice on baguette, once on something else. It was pretty much tasty bacon, tasty melty brie, and nothing else. Maybe lettuce once? And one place served it with some sort of cranberry relish-spread. But I pretty much couldn't walk into a pub for lunch and not see it on the menu. Lucky for me, actually, because I can live off of brie.
posted by Medieval Maven at 10:06 AM on March 16, 2006

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