RASHER DE­CI­SIONS

Much mud has been slung at the rep of the hon­est rasher in re­cent years, but we are here to clear things up for good. This is your guide to el­e­vat­ing your lit­tle piggy’s health cre­den­tials. Time to get crack­ling

Men's Health (UK) - - 7/17 Your Summer Starts Here -

MH is bring­ing home the ba­con with our guide to mak­ing sliced pork a fit­ness sta­ple

01 New pork state of mind

To para­phrase young in­ter­net sen­sa­tion King Cur­tis: ba­con is good for you (al­beit in mod­er­a­tion). So if you’re go­ing to make it count then you’d bet­ter make sure you’re buy­ing the spe­cial stuff. “There’s an enor­mous dif­fer­ence be­tween high- qual­ity ba­con and the cheaper su­per­mar­ket of­fer­ings, which can be dyed or filled with wa­ter,” says Tim Wil­son of es­teemed butch­ers The Gin­ger Pig. If you know your cuts and your sources, a ba­con sarnie can de­liver meaty ben­e­fits.

02 In hog we trust

“Avoid vac­uum-packs like the plague,” says Wil­son. An in­ves­ti­ga­tion by con­sumer bi­ble Which? found that the wa­ter con­tent of some ba­con on Bri­tish su­per­mar­ket shelves was up to 13% – over the 10% max­i­mum al­lowed. “There’s no sub­sti­tute for talk­ing to a spe­cial­ist butcher,” he adds. “But if you are buy­ing from a su­per­mar­ket, get the dry stuff from the meat counter. It costs more, but you won’t be pay­ing for liq­uid.” When cook­ing, Wil­son rec­om­mends toss­ing the tra­di­tional tongs in favour of a thin fish slice (£ 4 pres­tige.co.uk) to avoid tear­ing more del­i­cate cuts. For mak­ing sur­gi­cally pre­cise in­ci­sions that run the length of butcher-bought ba­con chops or gam­mon joints , you can’t do bet­ter than the pur­pose­built Wüsthof Clas­sic Gran­ton Ham Slicer (£ 79 knivesand­tools.co.uk). And fi­nally, a cast-iron, heat-re­tain­ing, thick-based pan from Staub (£ 139 staub- on­line.com) proves that a flat bot­tom can be a good thing – in this con­text, at least – by en­sur­ing crisp fat and an even cook on ev­ery sin­gle sweet, sweet rasher.

03 Fat of the pan

Fat is what makes ba­con so lip-smack­ingly de­li­cious, but it’s also what puts some peo­ple off. Fear not. Nutri­tional ex­perts have dis­pensed with out­moded no­tions that ‘all fat is the en­emy’. In fact, the mo­noun­sat­u­rated fat – which ac­counts for half the fat in ba­con – re­duces blood pres­sure and your risk of heart dis­ease. So don’t be afraid to cook your rash­ers in their own juices. You can al­ways trim the fatty edges af­ter­wards, says Wil­son, who ad­vises fry­ing over grilling. Now fol­low th­ese recipes to re­ally bring home the ba­con.

This Ital­ian cut of pork belly is streaks ahead of most su­per­mar­ket fare in terms of taste. It’s also rich in se­le­nium, which is an es­sen­tial min­eral for thy­roid func­tion, as well as boost­ing im­mu­nity and re­duc­ing your can­cer risk. Bueno! B GREEN BA­CON So called be­cause of its green­ish ni­trate burn at the edges, this un­smoked meat re­mains largely pink thanks to the salt­pe­tre used when cur­ing. It also packs a porky pro­tein-filled punch with 5g of mus­cle fuel in each rasher. C TREA­CLE- CURED As the name sug­gests, this comes with a bit of ex­tra sugar. Thank­fully it’s also a top source of coen­zyme Q10, which sup­ports me­tab­o­lism. Ac­cord­ing to Ky­oto Univer­sity, a few break­fast slices will fire up morn­ing fat-burn­ing ses­sions. All gam­mon is ham, but not all ham is gam­mon. To earn its name, this leg cut must be salted on the bone. It’s also high in phos­pho­rous, which is cru­cial for kid­ney func­tion. A good rea­son to pig out the morn­ing after the night be­fore. D GAM­MON A PANCETTA

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