Me and my dear friend Pete Begg have two very different approaches to the institution that is the perfect bacon sarnie. The only thing we agree on is that bacon ain't bacon unless it’s smoked, but that’s pretty much where the similarities end.
We do both use two 1½cm-thick slices of simple standard white crusty loaf, but I favour a bloomer and Pete tends to go for a tin loaf. Pete’s a 3 rashers of streaky-bacon boy; I’m a back-bacon boy. He cooks it in a frying pan, starting out from cold with a little drizzle of olive oil and gradually bringing the temperature up to medium-high so the fat renders out, placing something flat and heavy on top to ensure super-even crispy bacon. I, on the other hand, put the grill on full whack, rub a tray and 3 rashers of back bacon with olive oil, then blast it until golden and crisp, which encourages the fat end of the bacon to curl up, creating a little pond of delicious bacon juice in the middle.
Pete butters his bread, then lays the bacon on side-by-side, like floorboards. I skip the butter, but push the bacon to the side of my tray and lay the bread in the fat for a few seconds before assembling, letting the bacon rashers sit on the bed of bread like spooning lovers. At this point, Pete goes into another gear and displays a little trick his dad taught him as a boy, sandwiching his creation together and placing it back in the pan of smoky bacon fat to lightly toast on both sides, again with a little weight on top. And it doesn’t finish there – Pete stipulates that if the bacon runs north to south it must be cut east to west into 3 thin sandwiches, so you get 3 bacon soldiers in each, from which he gets 3 perfect bites. Genius. I simply cut mine diagonally from corner to corner and get it in my gob as quickly as possible .
Having been brought up in Essex I have a loyal commitment to HP sauce, but Pete pulls yet another trick out of the bag, treating his plate like an artist’s palette with 60% ketchup, 30% English mustard and 10% green chilli sauce, feathered together with a knife, to ensure 9 erratic, beautiful-tasting mouthfuls. Wow.
These two sandwiches are both delicious, but most importantly, this is how I like mine and Pete likes his. How do you like yours?