Latest news from Big Barn and our producers.

It’s bacon week at BigBarn

This week at BigBarn we are talking about amazing, wonderful bacon. Real bacon from UK free range pork producers, not foreign salt injected pork from intensive low welfare factory farms. Or even more scary, Ractopamine hormone injected pork from America.

We can all imagine the smell of bacon cooking and a major factor in stopping some people becoming vegetarians.

Bacon is such a versatile product and it saves so many dishes from being painfully dry and boring. We’re thinking of things like pheasant or venison cooked with streaky bacon, a mince and bacon pie, devils on horseback and, of course, a good quiche. All rescued by one delicious product.

Happy pigs and chicks make great bacon & eggs

For those of you who like getting more involved with your food then it’s perfectly possible and quite easy to cure your bacon at home, and it’s very rewarding! All you need is a little patience, a belly of pork, some sugar, spices and saltpetre. Simply place the belly in a bag with the sugar, spices and saltpetre leave in the fridge for about a week. Make sure you turn it occasionally. Once the curing is complete, rinse it off under some cold water and hang in a cool dry place (not your fridge) to dry for about 5 days. Then you’re done and can enjoy your beautiful homemade bacon!

Another consideration are the huge variety of pig breeds in the UK. Each come with their own unique flavour. From the famous KuneKune – which is actually native to New Zealand – a fatty pig which is perfect for making sausages, to the Tamworth pig, considerably larger in size and a real winner for making bacon. Please buy local bacon and pork, this will help maintain the different breeds of pig throughout the UK and support local farmers and our local economy. As our partners at the RBST (Rare Breed Survival Trust) say; ‘to maintain our rare breeds we need to farm and eat them’.

The way British farmers raise their pigs has undergone massive changes in recent years. Many farms have changed to free range piggeries rather than intensive farming. The animals are now getting a better life and in return we are getting better tasting and a far better product.

Portion of Bacon and Eggs (selective focus; close-up shot)

We must resist the urge to buy cheap, low animal welfare, mass produced bacon that is illegal to produce in this country. Bacon that leaks half its weight of milky fat in the frying pan.

We would much rather pay more for a better quality product and eat less. And can’t understand why the government doesn’t ban these cheap imports. If a food is illegal to produce in this country it should be illegal to import!

Bacon Connoisseurs Week is designed to help producers shout about their bacon and encourage you to ask questions about the bacon on sale. So please use our Bacon map to find your local bacon or browse Local Food MarketPlace to buy online.

If you would like to find out more about pork farming and real pork please visit our friends at Farms not Factories here. Or if you have a favourite bacon recipe please make a video yourself and add it to our KIS (keep it Simple) Cookery video section to be in a prize draw as well as possibly be discovered as the next famous chef!

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