A Guide to Irish Bacon Rashers

rashers from ireland

Living abroad in Europe often means missing the familiar tastes of home, especially those beloved foods that remind you of that special place. Irish bacon rashers are a cherished staple of Irish food and culture. Whether served in a traditional Irish/English breakfast or a crispy bacon sandwich, rashers hold a special place in the hearts of Irish people.

Rashers offer a distinctive flavour and are available in many types from streaky to dry and wet cured. Authentic Irish/British rashers can be hard to find overseas whether you’re based in France, Germany, or any other European country.

In this guide to Irish rashers, we will delve into the history, cooking techniques, and frequently asked questions often asked by our customers here at Bacon by the Box.

What is a rasher?

First, let’s start with what a rasher actually is. A bacon rasher is a thin slice of bacon, typically cut from a larger piece of cured bacon. The term “rasher” is commonly used in the UK and Ireland to refer to these slices of bacon.

The History of the Bacon Rasher

cured rashers

How did Henry Denny create the first bacon rasher?

The rasher has a fascinating history rooted in County Waterford, Ireland, where our operations proudly reside. In the 19th century, Henry Denny, a visionary butcher from Waterford, overhauled the way bacon was prepared and preserved through a vision to transport it overseas.

Denny perfected bacon-curing techniques, transforming their facility into Europe’s largest bacon curing plant at one point. Impressively, the plant processed approximately 1,000 pigs weekly.

He had big aspirations to export bacon/pork throughout the world, but couldn’t without it spoiling. By slicing the meat into thin strips and soaking it in brine, he found a way to preserve it for long journeys, thus creating rashers. It was a great breakthrough at the time. 

Types of Irish Bacon Rashers

Streaky Bacon vs Back Bacon

Irish bacon rashers come in two main types: back rashers and streaky rashers. Back rashers are cut from the loin, making them leaner and meatier, while streaky rashers are cut from the belly and have more fat, offering a crispier texture when cooked. Both types are delicious, but back rashers are particularly prized for their great taste and texture.

types of rashers

Curing Methods for Rashers:

Dry Cure Rashers

The dry cure method involves rubbing the bacon with a traditional dry cure mix often made of salt and sugar, then letting it cure over several days. Dry-cured bacon has a robust flavour and firmer texture, as the moisture is drawn out during the curing process.

Mild Cure Rashers

Mild-cured bacon is less intense in flavour than dry-cured bacon. It is typically cured with a milder mix of ingredients and for a shorter period, resulting in a subtler taste that still retains the essence of traditional Irish bacon.

Wet Cure Rashers

Also known as brine curing, this method involves soaking the bacon in a solution of dry cure mix often – salt, water, and sometimes spices. Wet-cured bacon tends to be juicier and slightly less salty than dry-cured varieties, making it a popular choice for those who prefer a milder taste.

Maple Cure Rashers

Maple Cure utilised a process of curing the bacon with maple syrup, which imparts a sweet, rich flavour that complements the savoury taste of the bacon. This again, is a very popular choice amongst British and Irish consumers.

Oak Cure Rashers

Oak cured bacon follows the same curing process as dry curing. However, after curing the bacon is then smoked over oak wood chips or logs. The oak smoke imparts a distinctive and robust smoky flavour to the bacon, enhancing its taste profile. Oak cured bacon is loved for its rich, smoky aroma and meaty texture, appealing to those who appreciate artisanal and smoked bacon products.

Smoked vs. Unsmoked

Smoked bacon rashers are exposed to smoke from burning wood chips, such as oak or hickory, imparting a distinctive, smoky flavour. This method not only enhances the taste but also helps to preserve the bacon.

Unsmoked rashers offer a pure, natural taste, free from smoky undertones, allowing the intrinsic flavours of the bacon to shine through. While some enjoy them as a standalone meal, many prefer using them to enhance the flavour of various dishes.

What is the best way to cook rashers?

cooking bacon rashers on frying pan

When it comes to cooking rashers (bacon), it’s all about what you prefer. Methods include frying, air-frying, oven-cooking, or grilling, as explained below.

Frying Rashers

Frying is the most popular method for cooking rashers. Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium heat and add you Clonakilty or Lisduggan Farm rashers. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side (depending on thickness) until they are golden brown and crispy.

Bacon by the Box cooking tip: Try cooking them slowly over low heat with a bit of Irish butter.

Oven-Baking Rashers

Oven-baking is a great way to cook bacon rashers if you want to prepare a larger batch. Preheat your oven to 200°C (400°F). Place the rashers on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and bake for 15-20 minutes (depending on thickness), turning halfway through, until they are crispy and cooked through.

Air-Frying Rashers

For a healthier option, try air-frying your bacon rashers. Preheat your air fryer to 180°C. Place the rashers in a single layer in the air fryer basket and cook for 6-10 minutes (depending on thickness), turning halfway through, until the fat is crispy.

Grilling Rashers

Grilling bacon rashers gives them a delicious smoky flavour. Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. Place the rashers on the grill and cook for 3 – 5 minutes on each side (depending on thickness) until they are nicely charred and crispy.

What are the best brands of bacon rashers?

bacon ready for eating

At Bacon by the Box, we take our bacon selection seriously! That’s why we would like to introduce you to two of the best bacon brands here in Ireland – Clonakilty and Lisduggan Farm.

Rashers from Clonakilty

Clonakilty is a brand name synonymous with quality and tradition in Ireland. From the picturesque town of Clonakilty in County Cork, Ireland, the brand’s origins date back to the 1880s, when Johanna O’Brien began making black pudding using a secret recipe that has since been passed down through generations. Over the years, Clonakilty has grown into an Irish breakfast staple, known for their commitment to traditional methods and high-quality ingredients.

At the heart of Clonakilty’s offerings is their delicious rashers, a quintessential part of any Irish or English breakfast. Made from carefully selected back bacon, Clonakilty rashers are cured to perfection, delivering a rich bacon flavour that is both comforting and satisfying. Their dedication to maintaining traditional curing techniques ensures that each rasher boasts the authentic taste that has made Clonakilty a household name.

In addition to their renowned rashers, Clonakilty offers a range of other traditional Irish products, including their famous black pudding, white pudding, and sausages.

Rashers from Lisduggan Farm

Lisduggan Farm, a name deeply rooted in the heart of Waterford and has been synonymous with premium quality meats since its founding in 1880.

Originating from the Quinlan family butchers, Lisduggan Farm has evolved into a modern food producer while retaining the artisanal practices of old under the guidance of head butcher Trevor Cunningham. Trevor, with his nearly fifty years of expertise, has been pivotal in maintaining the high standards of Lisduggan Farm. His meticulous approach ensures that each product, from bacon to burgers, sausages, pudding, lamb, poultry, and beef, meets the rigorous standards set by generations of the Quinlan family.

At Lisduggan Farm, the star of their offering for us, is undoubtedly their range of rashers. Whether you prefer smoked or unsmoked, wet cured or dry cured, Lisduggan Farm ensures that each rasher will not disappoint.

Lisduggan Farm selection includes:

Lisduggan Farm’s dedication to quality is evident in their unique curing process, which minimises salt content without compromising on that beautiful flavour or appearance. Their smoking process is particularly noteworthy, producing bacon that is free from carcinogenic properties, ensuring a healthier product without sacrificing the traditional smokey taste.

Where to buy Irish Bacon Rashers?

Thankfully, all of our customers throughout Europe can easily order both back bacon rashers and streaky rashers from our online store. Whether you’re located in France, Germany, or another European country, we can deliver the authentic taste of Irish rashers from Bacon by the Box right to your door – check out our delivery dates to learn more about our next dispatch to your location. Order now and enjoy the quality of our premium rashers!