Our post-pub nosh deathmatches are proving highly popular with Reg reader gourmets, but we should have known better than to stray into that most hazardous of culinary minefields: just how to make the ultimate bacon sarnie.
Last week's clash of titans featured our version of said butty, featuring hand-sliced white bread, bacon, butter and brown sauce.
It didn't take long for Mr Anonymous to be the first to object. He thundered:
First, you didn't fry the bread in the bacon fat and second that's not British bacon!!!
Well, we have to work with what we can get at the Special Project Bureau's mountaintop kitchen complex, so we make no apology for the bacon. However, David Knapman agreed that the bacon juices alone were sufficient lubrication, opining:
I'm not sure what you're doing there - but you've got excess ingredients for your bacon buttie. The bread should be moistened purely by the meat juices - butter has no place here.
Frank Bough turned up the butter disapproval volume with:
Fry bacon without oil, remove bacon and wipe good stuff from pan using bread. Allow bread to see ketchup, assemble sandwich.
We'll have more on the ketchup-versus-brown sauce controversy later. Frank insisted the only bacon suitable was streaky, an assertion which found favour with Kubla Cant:
Bacon butties should never be made with back bacon. The fat from streaky bacon is necessary for dipping or frying the bread (no butter involved, either).
Well, Tom Wood disagreed, chipping in that "bacon butties need to be made with back bacon", while Rampant Spaniel attempted a compromise solution with the suggestion that "proper middle bacon is required".
Having dismally failed to agree on which slice should be hewn from the living pork, readers did reach some sort of consensus on the smoked/unsmoked issue. Psyx favoured "smoked back", and TeeCee agreed the bacon "must be smoked", declaring:
Unsmoked bacon isn't bacon, just raw ham with delusions of grandeur.
So, just how should whatever flavour of bacon happens to find its way to pan be fried? Loyal Commenter sizzled:
Fry the bacon until the fat bubbles up through the top of the rashers. Turn and repeat.
I ain't Spartacus offered:
I like the bacon to be pink but just getting crispy at the edges - but that's a matter of taste.
Psyx mandated the bacon "grilled until crispy at the edges", and found an ally in Anonymous Coward, who stated it should be "fat fried or grilled until it becomes slightly crispy round the edges".
So some kind of agreement there, then. However, in case you're thinking we might - if we can resolve the smoked/unsmoked/back/middle/streaky issue - be on track to formulate a compromise commentard ultimate bacon sarnie, think again.
Our offering used HP Sauce as the condiment. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear...
Another anonymous contributor slammed HP Sauce as "an abomination since it became Dutch and followed EU guidelines on salt and spice content". That's of little consequence to Jimboom, who favoured "ketchup over brown sauce any day of the week!"
We're prepared to concede that ketchup may indeed replace brown sauce as the sarnie condiment par excellence, but there are some unspeakable fluids which should never touch the sacred bacon.
Try this, from Richard 81:
Personally I like to butter one slice and put a mixed layer of English mustard and ketchup on the other. I'm not saying it's the only way to do it, but it's damn tasty.
Provocative, but not as flameworthy as ColonelClaw's ill-advised contribution:
At the risk of having my Reg account deleted by a moderator, I must admit I prefer mayonnaise to HP sauce in my bacon sarnie.
TeeCee correctly observed:
That's the least of your worries. Being repeatedly pelted with rotten fruit and subsequently burned at the stake for heresy should be your primary concern.
Agreed. In summary, then, we are no nearer to the ultimate bacon sarnie than we were a week ago, and it seem unlikely we'll ever nail it. Just to demonstrate the diversity of opinion on the matter, get your laughing gear round this outrage from Simon Ward:
Something to upset the purists ;-)
Crispy(*) bacon on rye bread with Tabasco Habanero sauce(**) - Brown sauce is the work of Satan
(*) - For best results, fry the bacon normally then crisp it up in the microwave.
(**) - You may substitute another chilli-based condiment if you so wish.
Flame away :-)
God preserve us all. Young Simon can consider himself banned from El Reg for a month, as can those who suggested a bacon sarnie would be better for the application of blue cheese, lime marmalade, mushrooms, black pudding, chilli sauce or salad cream.
In conclusion, we'd like to give a mention to German delicacy Bauernfrühstück, which was battling the bacon sarnie for deathmatch supremacy. Blofeld's Cat reminisced:
Not quite the recipe for Bauernfrühstück I recall from my student days, but still excellent.
A German flatmate would whip this up at the drop of a hat. There were a lot of variations depending on what leftovers were in the fridge, how much beer we had drunk etc..
He also used to demonstrate the other way* to cook sausages.
Bacon sarnies still have the edge though. Where's that shopping list.
*It involves two forks, some jump leads and a 14 kW generator set.
This last sentence rang a bell with Mike Richards, who said: "I remember a stag night along similar lines."
Yes Mike, but how did you cook your post-stag bacon sarnies? ®