Why is Australian Bacon So Bad? An In-Depth Look at the Differences Between Aussie and UK Rashers

Bacon. It’s one of life’s simple pleasures. Sizzling rashers straight from the pan are hard to beat. But if you’ve ever tried cooking up some bacon during a visit Down Under, you might have found the experience to be a major letdown.

So what gives with Australian bacon? Why is it so.bad?

As someone who grew up devouring top-quality British bacon in the UK, I was horrified when I first bit into a tasteless, leathery strip of supposed bacon after moving to Australia The difference was night and day I just couldn’t understand why Australian bacon was so inferior to the succulent, mouthwatering rashers I was used to back home.

Over time, as I dug into the issue, the reasons behind Australia’s subpar bacon eventually became clear. Below I’ll break down exactly why Aussie bacon falls short and explain the key differences between British and Australian rashers. Grab a mediocre piece of Australian bacon to snack on as you read on to fully appreciate just how disappointing it is!

The Main Differences Between British and Australian Bacon

There are a few key differences that account for the vast gap in taste and texture between British and Australian bacon.

Breed of Pig

One major factor is the breed of pig used. In the UK bacon predominantly comes from British Landrace, Large White or Tamworth pigs. The meat from these heritage pig breeds tends to be juicier, fattier, and more flavorful.

In Australia, commercial bacon producers overwhelmingly use Large White pigs, which produce leaner meat with less fat marbling. This leads to drier, tougher rashers.

Curing Method

Traditional British bacon like back bacon and streaky bacon is dry cured. Dry curing involves rubbing salt, spices, and sometimes sugar or maple syrup directly onto the pork belly and letting it sit for an extended period. This draws moisture out while allowing the cure to penetrate deep into the meat, resulting in concentrated pork flavor.

Meanwhile, most Australian bacon is wet cured by quickly injecting a brine solution. This speeds up processing but produces a less robust bacon flavor.

Smoking Process

Proper British bacon is traditionally cold smoked slowly over smoldering wood chips. This infuses the meat with delicious smoky undertones.

Commercial Australian bacon operations often use faster hot smoking methods that don’t impart as much depth of flavor. Or they skip smoking altogether.

Cut of Pork

British back bacon comes from the loin of the pig while streaky bacon is made from the belly. These cuts contain more fat and connective tissue so they remain tender when cooked.

Australian middle bacon contains meat from the side/belly section but also includes lean, sinewy bits of loin. This makes for bacon that crisps up dry and tough.

Why Does Australian Bacon Look Pre-Cooked?

If you’ve handled Australian bacon in its raw form, you’ve likely noticed it has an unusual pre-cooked appearance. It’s much darker in color and looks drier than raw British bacon, which has a pale pink hue and moist, translucent look.

This comes down to two factors:

  • Brining – The rapid brine injection method used to cure Australian bacon causes the meat to take on a cooked, cured color.

  • Drying – After brining, Australian bacon is often dried out more compared to UK bacon. This dehydrates the meat, making it look cooked before it hits the frying pan.

So the pre-cooked vibe is just a side effect of common Australian bacon production methods. It doesn’t actually mean the meat has been cooked already. It will still sizzle and (hopefully) crisp up once you fry it.

How to Get Decent Bacon in Australia

By now it’s clear that mass-produced Australian bacon is vastly inferior. But does this mean Aussies are doomed to eternally suffer through subpar rashers?

Thankfully, no. There are a few options for obtaining tasty bacon while living in Australia:

  • Import British bacon – Specialty British food shops in Australia will stock imported back bacon, streaky bacon, etc. The taste brings back fond memories of home.

  • Order from artisanal bacon curers – Boutique companies like Emperor’s Pantry, Ben’s Bacon, and Seven Hills Bacon focus on traditional dry curing and smoking techniques. Their small batch bacon delivers on flavor.

  • Make your own – With pork belly, a bit of time, and a DIY dry cure brine, you can create your own properly-made bacon from scratch.

So while commercial Australian bacon is depressingly bad, homesick Brits living Down Under can still enjoy glorious bacon reminiscent of back home. Don’t settle for bland Aussie rashers – demand better! British-style bacon can be obtained with a little effort.

Why Finding Quality Bacon in Australia Matters

I’ve been quite harsh on Australian bacon in this post. But there’s a good reason for my scathing critique – mediocre bacon just isn’t acceptable!

Bacon is more than just a food – it’s an essential part of the full English breakfast, it’s perfect for sandwiches and burgers, it takes potatoes from great to glorious. For many Brits like myself, bacon is tied up with fond memories of beloved family breakfasts and familiar flavors of home.

So when you’re living abroad in Australia and craving a taste of back home, poor quality bacon can be more than disappointing – it’s an affront!

The British and Australians share bonds of friendship, family, and many wonderful cultural traditions. But we’ll never see eye to eye on what constitutes good bacon.

That’s why it’s so important for homesick Brits to keep proper British-style bacon in their lives when living in Australia. We need juicy, smoky, flavorful rashers to provide that connection to childhood memories and home cooking that bacon does so well.

And Australians should try cooking up some high-quality dry cured British bacon too! One rasher and they’ll be hooked. Once you experience really amazing bacon, you can never go back.

So next time you’re at an Aussie BBQ faced with a pack of pathetic bacon, remember – you deserve better! Don’t settle for second-rate rashers. Seek out great British-style bacon any way you can and keep the treasured bacon experiences of home alive.

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Why is bacon different in Australia?

A lot of other European bacon, like Dutch, is belly. Cut thin and cooked more towards crispy. The answer is that Australian bacon rashers are already cooked. They aren’t cured, but hot-smoked.

Why does American bacon taste so good?

After butchering, the meat is injected with a flavoring and curing solution containing water, salt, sugar, and a curing agent. This solution marinates the pork for a few hours to several days before the cut of meat is hung in a smokehouse or smoker while the bacon is heated.

Can Australian bacon be eaten raw?

Can you eat raw Australian bacon? Bacon is salt-cured pork belly meat. Because of the heightened risk of food poisoning, eating this particular breakfast item raw is dangerous. Instead, thoroughly cook bacon — but be cautious not to overheat it, as this can enhance carcinogen development.

What part of the pig is bacon Australia?

Belly is from the underside of the pig, and is a super versatile cut of pork, mainly because of its high fat content. While it’s typically used for bacon, our fresh pork belly roasts are perfect for roasting and braising. Check out our Honey Soy Belly Rashers, or BBQ Belly Rashers, for inspiration, yum!

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