What are rashers in Ireland?

This is a short guide to what rashers are and how they are different from streaky bacon.

The other day, I came across an online comment from an American who didn’t know what a “rasher” was. I was a bit shocked, to be honest. Up until that point, I had always assumed that it was a common word. I did not realize that the term “rasher” was limited to countries such as Ireland, the UK and South Africa.

In short, I was ignorant. And I admit that.

What are rashers?

Typically speaking, rashers are thin slices of back bacon. Furthermore, they can either be smoked or unsmoked.

rashers

A photograph of six uncooked rashers.

In Ireland, we fry rashers on a pan or we grill them. We put them in sandwiches, bread rolls or we simply eat them as they are.

We also include them as part of the “Irish Breakfast”, which can consist of the following:

  • Rashers.
  • Sausages.
  • Fried eggs or scrambled eggs.
  • Pudding (both black and white).
  • Fried mushrooms.
  • Toast.
  • Potato farls or hash browns.
  • Fried tomato.
  • Baked beans.

Similarly, they also make up part of Ireland’s beloved “breakfast roll”. A “breakfast roll” is a bread roll that consists of elements of the Irish breakfast. For example, you might get a breakfast roll that has two rashers, sausages, a fried egg and a hash brown in it. Butter and ketchup may also be added, depending on your personal preference.

It is important to note that rashers usually have a section of fat left on them. This is intentional, as it adds more taste. However, some people do like to cut this piece off.

Turkey rashers are also a thing in Ireland.

It is worth noting that you can also buy turkey rashers. It’s just that turkey rashers are not nearly as a popular. These are usually viewed as a “healthier” alternative because they are lower in calories and contain more protein.

What is the difference between American streaky bacon and rashers?

American “streaky” bacon is side bacon. It comes from pork belly, which is a cut of bacon that comes from the belly of the pig.

On the other hand, rashers come from both back bacon and side bacon. As the name suggests, back bacon is a cut that comes from the back of the pig. As a result, it is usually leaner and less fatty.

In other words, rashers contain a mixture of the two. One part contains the lean back bacon. The other part contains the fattier side bacon.

In addition, streaky bacon in America usually comes in thinner strips. It also has alternating layers of fat and muscle, which gives it a more striped appearance.

Streaky bacon also tends to be “crispier” than rashers. This is because side bacon has a higher fat content.

Are rashers and Canadian bacon the same thing?

In America, back bacon is commonly referred to as Canadian bacon. As a result, a lot of people believe that rashers and Canadian bacon are the same thing. However, Canadian bacon isn’t exactly the same as what you’ll find in Ireland and the United Kingdom. This is because Canadian bacon only contains back bacon. i.e. Unlike rashers, it does not contain any side bacon. There is no “fatty” part.

Instead, Canadian bacon is more similar to what Irish people call “medallions”.

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