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Summertime is a great time to gather friends and family around a fire and host a Szalonna Sütés or Bacon Fry! We recently asked our Facebook Fans:
“What are your must-have ingredients for a Szalonnasütés?”
Here is a compilation of the tips and tricks of the process in case you have forgotten or would like to revive or introduce this old Hungarian tradition into your family! A huge thank you to all who participated in this conversation!!!
Purchase and prepare:
A good slab of whole smoked Hungarian-style bacon.
To prepare the bacon: Cut bacon into 4″x4″ squares and score the top into little square cuts so the grease can drip out nicely. Score the bacon by cutting 2 columns of diagonal slits pointing down toward point of stick-so grease flows in a stream to the bread. (To some this is the most important and tedious step!)
Good Bread–some use white and others rye but it needs to be from a bakery and thicker sliced or at least hearty enough to catch the drippings. (Store bought white bread in a bag will not cut it!)
Toppings: Slice or chop onions (white, yellow, purple or green), radishes, cucumbers, peppers (sweet or hot), tomatoes.
Seasonings: Salt, pepper, Hungarian paprika.
1) Shop and gather people you enjoy.
2) Prepare the veggies and the coals and score the bacon.
3) Impale bacon with a wooden stick or metal skewer and cook over hot coals.
4) As the bacon cooks, drip the bacon fat on your bread.
5) When the bacon is cooked, slice it off, chop it up and add to your “dirty bread” along with the veggies of your choice and seasonings.
Accompanying beverages: Hungarian wine, beer, palinka. For the kids it could be mineral water and raspberry syrup.
A few reflections from our fans:
“I use the jowl piece of the smoked bacon. It seems to have more flavor and more good “dirty” grease! After the grease is cooked out then I slice the meat and eat it like a sandwich. Good for the arteries’ . . . White bread is out unless you can find a good bakery bread and slice it thicker. Now, my fire that I use came from my Grandfather’s teaching. He said, quote – Sazlonna is only good if the
meat is cooked over a hard wood fire. Never use gas (propane), charcoal, or pine wood that people sell at camp sites!” Gramps was 100% correct. Sometimes I throw in some mesquite wood for flavor. I use no salt since there is plenty of salt in the meat.”
“There’s nothing like the aroma of bacon cooking over an open flame in the outdoors! The flavor is addicting. It’s an ultimate bacon lover’s dream.”
“My family used those sort of baskets on a stick for the slab bacon, dripped it onto the bread, added chopped onion and green pepper, a little more bacon grease, salt & pepper. FANTASTIC. “
“Don’t forget the Hungarian hot peppers and beer to wash the szalonna down!”
“The question is: Do you slice or do you dice??? That almost caused a family feud years ago!!!”
“PATIENCE!! (esp. when you have 4 brothers and sisters, and numerous cousins and other family members waiting for the same thing you are!”
If you want to smoke your own bacon: Order thick dry salt fatback with the skin on from the butcher shop. Rinse the salt from the fatback and place them skin side down over an open fire. Singe the skin to remove any remaining hair and to soften the skin. Soak the pieces in cold water to remove some of the charred parts and scrape them with a big knife. After rinsing them, hang them on a bacon hook and cover them with granulated garlic and place them in the smokehouse for 8 to 12 hours. This is bacon with the skin on that is mostly fat because it comes from the back, not the meatier bacon that comes from the belly. The thicker the better.
Jó étvágyat!!! Good Eating!
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