Is there any problem for which bacon isn’t the solution? Slap said bacon between two slices of bread, and we’re into near religious territory as far as I’m concerned. There are many meals that could vie for the title of Britain’s national dish – roast beef or even chicken tikka masala – but for me the bacon sarnie takes some beating. Yet for something as astoundingly simple, which people from all walks of life and from every corner of the land enjoy, passions run surprisingly high when the minutiae of the ultimate bacon butty are discussed.
Smoked or unsmoked bacon? Back or streaky? Grilled or fried? Brown bread or white? Toasted or not? Butter? Red sauce or brown? The list goes on, but I’m going to get off the fence and give you my instructions for the ultimate bacon sandwich. Trust me on this…
I LOVE unsmoked back bacon, and at Dukeshill it’s our absolute best seller. However for a bacon sandwich, plenty of fat is a sine qua non. For that reason alone I’d plump for streaky every time. Furthermore, this is one of the occasions where smoked is definitely best; I am convinced that it’s that whole extra spectrum of savoury flavours that smoke imparts that raises my sandwich from the everyday to the sublime. I hope I don’t have to put my foot down on the subject of bread. I yield to no one in my admiration of a dense, gnarly, wholemeal loaf – sour dough if you prefer – but keep that stuff away from my butty. The only bread that is going to get near my rashers and gnashers is the softest, freshest white bread. I don’t care if its a bap, a bloomer or even some pappy Mother’s Pride, this is no time for your “healthy” options!
How you cook your bacon is up to you, just make sure that if you’re not frying it, you’re cooking it in a tray that will catch the glorious savoury fat that will render out of it. I should mention, that nothing but traditionally dry-cured is going to make the grade here. You want your bacon to be yielding up clear, tasty bacon fat, not sloshing around in a puddle of murky juice with curdled lumps of that hateful white goo. You’re on safe ground with Dukeshill bacon – our curing methods make sure that there’s no hidden water waiting to make a break for freedom as soon as it hits the pan.
On the subject of toasting I’m willing to be less stern. Personally, I wouldn’t toast on both sides as somehow you end up with something just a bit too dry in the mouth, Plain, soft bread is fine, but my preferred option is generally to toast the bread on one side only, dunking the untoasted side into the bacon fat as I assemble the components. Butter, I suppose, is also a matter of taste; by choice I generally find that I get all the succulence I need from the bacon fat, but if I’m feeling particularly indulgent a smear of cold butter can add a welcome clean and cool contrast to the bacon itself. And if you’re worried about the calories, why on earth are you reading this in the first place?
Finally we’re down to emotive subject of sauce. I’m going to let you make your own choice here, but for me the answer will always be brown sauce, or none at all – I find tomato ketchup too sweet for such a sophisticated dish. Save it for the chips later.
Follow the link to read my further thoughts on what makes the perfect breakfast! You may also like to check out some of our favourite bacon recipes here.