It used to be the case that meats that took a long time to cook were cheaper than the quicker cuts and while generally that still remains true, I found a little secret in some supermarkets which inverts that rule. “Cooking bacon” is what the supermarkets call those pieces of bacon which they can’t make into rashers and they put it all into one pack and it’s RIDICULOUSLY cheap, £1.15 for 1kg of bacon.
You do have to sort through all of the different packs as some of them can be incredibly fatty however if you do get a good pack then the bacon can be used in replacement for rashers, lardons or even slow cooked to make the most amazing pulled bacon!
My tips for looking for a good pack of cooking bacon is to choose a pack that contains hardly any fat/pieces of rind and depending on what you want to use it for, find a pack that contains what you want; packs usually either contain small rashers or large steaks. For my pulled bacon recipe, it’s best to go for the steaks. Of course choosing a pack with no fat/rind can be tricky so spend a few minutes preparing the bacon by trimming off any large pieces of fat/rind.
The pulled bacon is incredibly versatile and when it’s pulled in this way, it makes it go a lot further but for now, I am sharing my recipe for a homemade barbecue sauce which I mix with the pulled bacon and serve on poured over chips, similar in style to the Canadian dish poutine, which is chips topped with chewy cheese curds and covered in gravy.
For the slow cooker bacon:
200ml apple juice
1 tsp coriander seeds
½ tsp cumin seeds
1 clove of garlic, crushed
½ tsp paprika
A pinch of dried chilli flakes
¼ tsp ground black pepper
1kg cooking bacon
For the barbecue sauce:
40g tomato puree
60g tomato ketchup
40g soft dark brown sugar
2 tbsp malt vinegar
1 tbsp dark soy sauce
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
1 tsp hot sauce such as Tabasco or sriracha
Chips and grated cheese, to serve
Pour the apple juice and all the spices and seasonings into a 1.5L slow cooker. Mix to combine and place onto low while you prepare the bacon.
Trim off any large pieces of fat on the bacon and discard. Cut the bacon into manageable sized pieces that will fit into your slow cooker and then submerge into the slow cooker. Use a spoon to stir the contents so that the bacon chunks are coated in the spices.
Put the lid on and turn the slow cooker onto high and leave the bacon to slow cook for around 4 to 5 hours until the bacon is soft and falls apart easily, giving the contents a stir every hour or so. Once cooked, turn off the slow cooker and leave the bacon to sit in its cooking juices for 15 minutes. Gently lift out as much of the bacon as you can and use two forks to pull apart the bacon.
For the barbecue sauce, heat together all of the ingredients with 100ml of water and 100ml of the cooking liquid in a saucepan, stirring it constantly until it boils. Reduce the heat to medium and leave it to simmer for around 15 minutes until it has reduced slightly, stirring every so often to prevent sticking. Taste and adjust the seasoning as required.
Mix together the pulled bacon with the barbecue sauce in the pan and spoon over the cooked chips in a bowl and finish with a sprinkle of grated cheese.