What's the difference between "English" & "American" bacon?

by Tetsujin   Last Updated August 13, 2019 19:17 PM - source

Prompted by Is it possible to cook bacon without melting as much fat? where I answered in an "English" way…

I've had crispy bacon - you can get it on pre-made sandwiches or in chilled packs in the cooked meat section in supermarkets, but bacon in the UK isn't normally served that way, it tends to be 'wetter', for want of a better term.
Smoked or not, back or belly, dry-cure or wet-brined, fried, grilled or even done in the oven [mass-catering-style] it still comes out "English".

Cue images of greasy-spoon cafés the length & breadth of our motorway system…

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Credit: The Telegraph - The 15 most British foods ever

Also cue jingoistic comparison from a chat site -

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So, national pride aside, what's the difference?

I'm aware there's a cultural element, but does it come down to cooking method or curing method? Can I take my "English" bacon & cook it like "American" bacon, or do I have to look for a different 'type' altogether?

Note that I usually cook what in the UK is called streaky bacon - which looks like the same cut as "American" bacon - as opposed to back [as in the pictures of "English" above] but I still have never attained that complete crisp end result.
If I just keep cooking it until it's crispy, I don't get the same end product - I get 'over-cooked' [or in extremis, 'burnt'], but still recognisably "English".

Google for this seems useless - it serves up page after page of opinionated "which is best" with no facts at all.

Tags : bacon curing

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