As unappetizing as it might sound to the uninitiated, the bacon butty is truly a national treasure. In a 2012 survey of the 50 things Britons love most about Britain, this piece of culinary tradition ranked #1 (fish and chips and the Queen trailed behind at #9 and #15, respectively). Clearly, this is something that every Britophile should pay attention to.
|Bacon Butty, a photo by didbygraham on Flickr.|
A bacon butty is technically a sandwich, but it is variously known as a bacon sarnie, rasher sandwich, bacon sanger, and piece ‘n bacon–it all depends on where you come from. Basically, a bacon butty is a slab of bacon, sometimes topped with a condiment, smashed between two pieces of bread. But that’s just the basic makeup, the details of this dish are liable to a thousand interpretations, and are the source of heated debate (nearly to church-schism proportions).
Everyone seems to have their favorite version of the bacon butty, but there are a few ground rules that must be complied with if the sandwich is to be a success. First of all, you must realize the vital function of each layer:
- The Bread: Not the star of the butty. It should be unobtrusive. Dry enough to soak up some fat from the bacon. Able to give a slight crunch.
- The Bacon: The main attraction. Plenty of fat but not too greasy. Imparting delectable flavor and crispy texture.
- The Condiment: Gives more flavor and some moisture to the butty. Good for covering up poor-quality bacon. Personal preference varies widely.
- The Texture: This is arguably the most important element of the bacon butty. Should have crunch and crisp. Certainly not dry or chewy.
|Bacon Butties, a photo by sk8geek on Flickr.|
- Cook two or three back rashers of bacon under a preheated oven grill for seven minutes at around 240c (475f).
- Place the bacon between slices of good quality bread (1-2cm thick).
Now you will notice that there is absolutely no guidance here concerning condiments, whether the bacon should be smoked or not, or if the bread should be toasted. These are highly subjective but critical elements which every butty-maker must take into consideration. I suppose that what it comes down to is that, much as the scientists wish to codify it, the bacon butty is simply not a science. It is an art. To decide for yourself what the “perfect” formula really is, you should have all the information made available to you. Please examine the chart below:
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