I was at my local meat store this afternoon and in the freezer, I saw what was marked "Irish Bacon." I was intrigued, so I bought a pound.
Reading up on this, it seems that Irish bacon is cut from the back, not the pork belly like other bacon. Less fatty, more lean.
Anyone have any tips or ideas on what to make with this?
I would warn that in my experience, it's more like a smoked pork than a real ham taste. I'm sure that doesn't quite make sense, but I don't like heavy smoke flavor, and this was super-smokey without the sweetness of ham. I'm afraid that I can't recommend what to do with it, since I couldn't take the smell of it! However, it could have just been the brand that I picked up.
My experience with Irish bacon is that it most resembles what we call Canadian bacon here. I've eaten A LOT of Irish "fry-ups" or "full Irish breakfasts" that include Irish bacon in Irish B&Bs. I've also had it in cabbage and bacon dinners, sandwiches, and soups.
Tommy Maloney, http://www.tommymoloneys.com/default.asp an Irish butcher and importer of Irish meats, has a recipe on his site for bacon wrapped broccoli with blue cheese sauce. He offers bacon in mild-cured, mild-cured smoked, and hickory smoked styles. I get black and white pudding there.
All you really have to do for that is look for:
a) irish food recipes
b) irish bacon recipes
c) look for 'irish bacon and cabbage'
the way it's served in north america is corned beef but the irish didn't have much beef, that was for the rich folk, the true version is bacon and cabbage. this recipe only works for irish bacon since it's so much less fatty then american bacon and has the different flavour.
also, as I said, when an irish recipe calls for bacon, that's the bacon it's meant to have and it just won't work with regular bacon.
good luck, i'm still trying to find some irish bacon. =D
Bacon in Ireland and the UK comes in three cuts. "Back" which is self evident where it comes from. "Streaky" which is the long thin "tail" that would follow on from a piece of "back". And "middle" which is the single piece of "back" and "streaky" (and my personal preferance for a breakfast fry-up).
"Streaky" is the thin strip of fatty bacon which I assume is the same thing I've eaten in America. "Back" is what I think Americans refer to as "Canadian bacon" and Canadians refer to as "bacon" (although not their wonderful peameal bacon).
Our bacon is available either smoked or unsmoked. I prefer unsmoked for breakfast but smoked works quite well in Italian style dishes where you might use a strip of pancetta.
The Irish also use a joint of collar bacon (smoked or unsmoked) which is boiled and, as mentioned by dwhalen, often served with boiled cabbage. We Brits use this cut much less often. preferring the more expensive gammon joint (cured leg) for boiling and subsequent finishing off in the oven. Gammon steaks are also common.