Old Fashioned Yorkshire Bacon
We wanted to make proper Yorkshire bacon like the bacon I remember growing up in a Yorkshire Dales butcher’s shop.
My dad was a butcher in a Yorkshire Dales village and I remember growing up in the 1970s and having proper fatty Yorkshire bacon for breakfast. Bacon that didn’t disappear in front of your eyes as you cooked it.
When I started The Grid Iron Company, one of the goals was to go back to the tradition of supplying great quality meat from local farms with customer service that you would expect from your local butcher’s shop. That included making our own bacon and charcuterie and working with other nearby artisan producers.
In the later part of last year, we went to work making some dry cured bacon from the original recipes from the old butchers shop. Over a couple of months we experimented with various cuts and worked with a local supplier to develop a cure mix that we were happy with. We chose pork with a good fat probe depth (that’s a measurement taken on the back fat to determine how much fat there is). As you probably know, fat means flavour, and we wanted our bacon to have the depth of flavour that I remember. We use rare breed pork from local North Yorkshire farms, mostly Gloucester Old Spot. These are pigs that eat a natural diet, have a happy life and grow slowly, putting on weight naturally.
The bacon is dry cured here, in the Yorkshire Dales, before being rinsed well with ice cold water and then hung to air dry naturally. This process means that water is lost rather than added, concentrating the taste and meaning that you don’t lose most of the bacon when you cook it at home.
Although we were very happy with the taste of our new dry cured Yorkshire bacon, we didn’t have a way to smoke it and weren’t prepared to use fake “spray on smoke” or flavourings. The problem was solved when we teamed up with an award winning chef, Jake Buchan, who had taken over the local smokery. The Holy Smokery is based on the Kilnsey Estate in the Yorkshire Dales and Jake uses the skills he learned as a chef to make some fantastic smoked products. It was a match made in heaven and we soon came up with the perfect smoke for our bacon using applewood.
Now we have our range of bacon that we’ve called our Old Fashioned Bacon. We have streaky bacon from the belly, back bacon from the loin and, my favourite, collar bacon from the shoulder. All are available in an unsmoked and a cold smoked version and we do all three in our Fabulous Breakfast Box.
Our plan is to make a range of limited edition bacon using some original ingredients such as long pepper and smoked black garlic. Any suggestions for original recipes will be gratefully received.