It may be convenient to buy packs of presliced bacon rashers to throw in a frying pan for breakfast, but there is nothing like preparing your own. A type of salt-cured pork, slab bacon is taken from the belly or less fatty back of the pig, and can be cooked sous vide with Joule for 12 to 48 hours, yielding an unparalleled moreish, moist, and tender result. All you have to do is slice and sear it on one side to crisp it up before serving.
The great thing about starting with slab bacon when you’re cooking is that you can decide the thickness of the pieces you like for the meal you are preparing. It’s not just to go alongside a couple of fried eggs or to sit inside a sandwich with a dollop of ketchup – use it to make lardons for salads and pasta carbonara, knock up homemade crackling with the rind, or cut it into chunks for savoury stews. It can even been candied in brown sugar and baked into brownies. If you can’t eat the whole slab, portion it up and freeze what’s left over.
English bacon is typically unsmoked, but smoked slabs are delicious too. When shopping, ask your butcher for cuts from native rare-breed pigs, such as British Saddlebacks, Middle Whites, or Gloucester Old Spots.