Have you tried back bacon yet? Sometimes called English Bacon, British Bacon or Irish Bacon, this product is similar to American bacon but different (in some very tasty ways).
It is generally thicker, meatier and milder in flavor than traditional bacon, and is typically pan fried. The most important thing to know is that it’s jolly good for eating!
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The star of a traditional full English breakfast in the U.K., it’s typically accompanied by beans, sausages, tomatoes and eggs. You can also find back bacon used in bacon and cheese turnovers. Properly cooked British bacon is very delicious!
In this post, you’ll find detailed information about how to buy and cook the best back bacon, ways to use it, nutritional information, storage instructions, and pro cooking tips.
What is Back Bacon?
American bacon is cut from the pork belly, while back bacon is cut from a section of the pork loin, typically from the center of the cut. It is then seasoned, cured, and smoked to produce its signature flavor and texture.
Some say that English back bacon is like a cross between leaner Canadian bacon and regular bacon.
Back bacon is more commonly enjoyed in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. It can be found at butchers, specialty shops and some grocery stores in the United States, and a number of companies will also ship it to you(see list below.)
If you’re wondering about back bacon calories, an average cooked slice has 105 calories.
Back Bacon vs Streaky Bacon
English Bacon shares similarities to the traditional sliced bacon sold in the United States, but it’s different in several important ways.
British back bacon is cured, smoked and sliced, much like American bacon. However, it’s a different cut that includes mostly the loin and a bit of the pork belly, too.
When cooked, the slices may curl up in a shape some describe as an apostrophe. To prevent curling during cooking, check out our pro cooking tips below.
Why You’ll Love It
Back bacon is leaner than traditional bacon, with a smoky, savory flavor you’ll love.
It’s versatile and can be used in a variety of recipes (see list below).
You can enjoy it for breakfast with eggs and potatoes, at lunchtime on a sandwich, or for dinner in soups, pastas, casseroles and more.
Here’s what you’ll need to prepare this easy recipe for cooking British bacon:
Sliced back bacon – For the best flavor, look for lean slices with bit of fat around the edges. The bacon above came pre-trimmed, but you may need to trim some of the fat to suit your tastes.
Freshly ground black pepper (optional)- You don’t need to add anything to the bacon, but I like to season it a bit before serving to bring out the flavor.
Pork seasoning or rub (optional) – I used Traeger Pork and Poultry Rub with Apple and Honey, which adds a little spicy sweetness to the bacon. Feel free to use your favorite mix!
Step by Step Cooking Directions
STEP ONE: Trim any excess fat if needed. Pat the bacon slices dry with paper towels.
STEP TWO: Heat the skillet over medium-low heat and add 3 or 4 of the bacon strips.
STEP THREE: Cook for 3 to 4 minutes and check the underside with a heatproof spatula. When the strips are browned on the bottom, flip over and continue cooking.
STEP FOUR: When each bacon rasher is browned on both sides, use a spatula or tongs to remove from the pan.
STEP FIVE: Drain slices on paper towels. If you wish, you can sprinkle the tasty strips with freshly ground black pepper or your favorite pork rub seasoning.
Pro Tip to Prevent Curling
Some people like the curly strips, but if you want your tips to be flatter you can make little cuts along the thin layer of fat around the edge of the bacon.
You can see from this photo how cutting little notches in the bacon strip allowed it to cook flatter:
Air Fryer Cooking Directions
Set the temperature on the air fryer to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). (We like to preheat the fryer before cooking.) Arrange the bacon slices in a single layer in the air fryer basket.
The exact amount of time it will take your bacon to cook depends a bit on how hot your air fryer cooks and how thick the slices are, but the cooking time should be between about 6 and 10 minutes.
When the bacon is browned, use tongs to remove it to paper towels to drain. Repeat until all of your delicious bacon is cooked.
Storing and Reheating
Cooked bacon can be stored, tightly wrapped, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
To reheat, arrange slices in a frying pan over medium heat and cook for about 3 minutes per side, until bacon is hot and heated through.
Make Your Own Back Bacon
Would you like to learn how to make homemade British bacon?
You can create your own dry cured back bacon with boneless pork loin and seasonings. The curing process takes about a week, which you can read more about at the British food blog Keef Cooks.
What is Peameal Bacon?
While it’s not quite the same thing as proper back bacon, peameal bacon could be considered a cousin. Peameal bacon is a popular breakfast food in Canada and some parts of the US. It is traditionally made from lean, boneless pork loin which is rolled in finely ground yellow cornmeal.
Peameal bacon is typically leaner and less salty than traditional bacon, and it is usually sold in large rounds or loaves that are sliced to the desired thickness. Here’s how to make your own peameal bacon.
It is usually sliced and pan fried or grilled, but it can also be roasted in the oven. While typically served for breakfast, it can also be used in sandwiches, salads and other dishes.
Where to Buy English Bacon
If you’re in the U.S. looking for this delicious British style bacon and can’t find it in a local store or butcher shop, here are some sources.
Most of these suppliers will ship via 2nd day air so you can be enjoying it in no time!
10 Ways to Use Back Bacon
- Make the best sandwich, such as our tasty B.L.A.T. Sandwich.
- Use it to top Irish Burgers.
- Enjoy it in bacon soup recipes.
- Use it in our delicious recipe for Bacon Onion Jam.
- Enjoy it with Southern style green beans.
- Add it as a topping on pizza.
- Enjoy it with pan-fried Brussel sprouts.
- Use it in a warm German potato salad recipe.
- Enjoy it in breakfast casserole recipes.
- Add it to smoked baked beans.
Let’s get cooking, shall we? You might also enjoy our Back Bacon web story.
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Cooking Back Bacon
- 10 ounces sliced back bacon
- ground black pepper (optional)
- seasoned pork rub (optional)
- If you wish to reduce curling, use the kitchen scissors to make small cuts along the fatty edges of the bacon.
- Arrange several slices in a skillet. Heat over medium-low heat until browned.
- Turn the bacon slices over and continue cooking until browned, about 4-5 minutes on each side.
- Remove from the pan with tongs or a spatula and drain slices on paper towels. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper or your favorite pork rub seasoning if you wish.