The Perfect Bacon Butty

It’s Chinese New Year tomorrow and Valentine’s Day on Sunday, so of course I’m going to suggest a romantic Asian-inspired menu, right? Well, no.

I’m not even a little bit Chinese and when it comes to cooking for your loved one you have a much better idea of their personal tastes than I do. Or maybe you’re single and bored with all this talk of coupledom. So here’s something for the morning after. Or the morning before. Or lunch. 

It’s hardly a recipe at all, more a method and one I learned from watching the cook in a Birmingham cafe during my misspent youth. I need hardly add that it is an excellent cure for a hangover, especially if coupled with a mug of tea or coffee strong enough to trot a mouse or better yet, a Bloody Mary.

Sourdough has no place here. Save it for your avocado toast. What you need is a fresh, springy, white tinned loaf. I prefer home-made but I’m not going to judge you if it comes ready sliced.

Secondly, crispy, smoked streaky bacon is best. I’ll admit this is a personal preference so if you are wedded to barely cooked, unsmoked back bacon we needn’t fall out over it. You’re wrong, but that’s okay. You do need that fat to run, though. 

Similarly, if you want to add a fried egg, ketchup, hot sauce or (gag) brown sauce, that’s entirely up to you. I like mine unadorned. 

What I must insist upon is this: having cut your bread (not too thick) and fried your bacon (keep it warm), you fry one side only of each slice of bread in the bacon fat until golden brown. Do it in batches, adding extra butter or olive oil when the bacon fat has been soaked up. Alternatively, lightly butter any additional slices before frying. 

Take a slice, fried side facing up, and layer on the bacon. Top with another slice, with the fried side facing down. This gives you, in my not remotely humble opinion, the perfect bacon butty, crispy in the middle and soft and giving on the outside. Cut it in half, provide napkins and tuck in. Try it, it’s bliss. 

15 thoughts on “The Perfect Bacon Butty

  1. You’re with my husband on this – he prefers a crispy middle too. It’s just … wrong. You need a nice crispy shell to hold it all together. That is my final word on the subject.

  2. When I lived in Italy, a bacon butty was the only English food I ever missed and the memory of the rare treats when a kind friend brought a packet of streaky to Rome still make me salivate. I’ve always poured the bacon fat onto the bread but never thought to fry it. Fabulous idea. Dare I correct you regarding the provision of napkins though – surely half the pleasure comes from licking fat-smeared fingers at the end?

    • Honestly, you try to be dainty … 😀 I must admit that I end up licking my fingers regardless of napkins (or kitchen roll, as we call it). Bacon sarnies are the chief reason I could never become a vegetarian. Frying one side of the bread in the bacon fat just takes them to another dimension. I’m a bit keen on these as you’ve probably guessed. 🙂

  3. And I just told Keith this morning that virtually all the recipe sites have nothing but chocolate centric recipes…

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