British vs. American Bacon. Only You (and a Baby) Can Fairly Judge This Bacon Battle
We pit American belly bacon against British back bacon. And since everyone has deeply entrenched opinions on bacon, the only unbiased judge we could find is someone who has never before had bacon: a 14-month-old baby.
Read more about the two challengers, and find out which bacon this baby chose. Then vote for yourself on our poll that lines up Baconsteen against Abbey Rasher Road.
THE FIGHT CARD:
The Champion, American Bacon:
Nicknames: Streaky bacon, “Makes Everything Better,” “The Gateway Protein”
Fat-to-Meat Ratio: 1:1
Pedigree: Niman Ranch
Origins: Pork belly
Preparation: Usually dry-cured, then smoked
Texture: Crisp and tough, with ribbons (or “streaks”) of fat running through each strip
The Challenger, British Bacon:
Nicknames: Rasher bacon, “How I Survived British Cafeteria Food”
Fat-to-Meat Ratio: 1:10
Pedigree: Spencer’s Jolly Posh Foods
Origins: Pork loin, with some pork belly attached
Preparation: Cured in one of three ways: submerged in brine, injected with brine, dry-rub with salt and sugar
Texture: Meaty and somewhat chewy with fat on the outer edges, like a pork chop
The Mom (me): I was born in the US, yet spent a semester abroad in England, where I first fell in love with their salty substitute for our paltry excuse for bacon. Status: DISQUALIFIED due to BIAS.
The Dad: Born in Bearstead, England, he broke a seven-year streak as a vegetarian for the one thing he knew would make him turn carnivorous: American bacon. Status: DISQUALIFIED due to BIAS.
The Shopkeeper: Our host, Nick Spencer, who started his business shilling sausage and bacon at farmer’s markets. Though British through and through, and though he cures the British bacon himself, he claims no loyalty to either type of bacon. “I like one or the other depending on what I’m using it for.” Status: DISQUALIFIED due to owning the shop.
The Baby: Born to an American mother and a British father, she has never tried either type of bacon, nor any pork product at all, aside from the filling of a Filipino egg roll. Age: 14 months. Status: QUALIFIED, no bias.
Distractions and attempts for bias were eliminated as follows: high chair turned to face wall; clean pure white plate presented with no embellishments to draw the eye; bacon cut into small equal sizes; disqualified judges remained stone-faced and avoided eye contact so as not to sway the judge’s decision.
The baby judge evaluated the food carefully before choosing, with two disqualified judges (parents) fighting hard to stay calm every time her hands moved toward the plate. Finally, the baby judge plucked a morsel of British bacon off the plate and popped it into her mouth.
The disqualified mom judge was just beginning her victory dance when the baby judge grabbed the American bacon—without so much as a moment’s pause.
The baby judge began alternating between American and British bacon, showing absolutely no preference, simply relishing in the new flavors of salted cured meats, until she was distracted by the salt and vinegar crisps on the disqualified mom judge’s plate. After the baby judge tried one of those, she would not eat anything else.
Bacon. There isn’t really a bad bacon, is there?
And Walker’s Salt and Vinegar crisps ($1.50 for a single-serve packet).
Photos by Andrew Nawrocki, Groupon