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Ulster Fry Meat

Ulster Fry Meat is the Meat component that makes up a traditional Ulster Fry. An Ulster Fry breakfast is a traditional Irish cooked breakfast made from breakfast meats, fried Irish breads, eggs and vegetables. Ulster Fries are so popular that they are often eaten for lunch or dinner and not just reserved for breakfast. Restaurants throughout Ireland will offer an Ulster Fry on their ‘all day dining’ menu.

For more information about an Ulster Fry, please refer to the post I wrote about it.

What is Ulster Fry Meat?

The Traditional Ulster Fry Meats Are:

  • Black Pudding: This is a sausage made from animal products, flavorings and a binder.
    • Black Pudding typically, contains dried or fresh blood, as the main animal product.
    • The other animal product needed is fat. Fat provides flavor and moisture. Suet, the raw hard saturated fat found around the loins and kidneys of cows, lambs and sheep, is the traditional fat added to Black Pudding.
    • Flavorings are usually herbs and spices. The most commonly used are mace, coriander, cumin, ginger, allspice, and sage, to name a few, along with salt and pepper.
    • binder not only holds the sausage together, but also absorbs the fat and retains the moisture the fat provides. Popular binders include pearl barley, oats, groats, breadcrumbs and rusk.
Three slices of Black Pudding on a wooden board with the sausage in the background.
Black Pudding slices.
A white plate containing 5 slices of Black Pudding with potato bread and tomato in the background.
Pan fried Black Pudding.
  • Back Bacon: The cut of pork used to make Ulster Fry Back Bacon comes from the middle of the pig’s back. This cut of meat includes the loin, sometimes called the ‘eye’ meat or medallion piece, along with a little of the pork belly. The end result is a piece of meat, that when sliced, looks like an apostrophe! Back bacon slices are called ‘rashers’.
4 slices of raw Irish Back Bacon sliced on a wooden board with the whole bacon in the background.
Sliced, raw, Irish Back Bacon.
Irish Back Bacon on a platter.
  • Pork Sausages: Tender pork loin, is combined with bacon fat and rusk, then dried sage and fresh onion are added to give the Sausages a traditional feel.
Plate plate containing 4 cooked Irish Pork Sausages with casing, 3 uncased sausage links and 4 sausage patties.
Pan fried Irish Pork Sausages.

Additional Meat Ingredients That May Appear in an Ulster Fry Include:

  • White Pudding: White pudding, unlike Black Pudding contains pork fat along with a binder and spices. Some white pudding recipes include pig’s liver. Differing from Black Pudding, it is lighter in color, hence the name white pudding.
  • Streaky bacon: comes from the pig’s belly. Usually it has an even amount of fat to muscle content. Known in the States as regular bacon. Bacon is thinly sliced and cooked until golden brown and crispy.
  • Beef or steak sausages: are sausages made primarily from the meat taken from the shoulder, ribs and neck of a cow. They are very savory in taste and don’t require a lot of extra flavoring.
  • Last but not least is Vegetable roll: it is a uniquely Northern Irish delicacy, made from cuts of beef and seasoned with herbs and vegetables such as leeks and onions. Slice it, then pan fry.

Ulster Fry Meat Ingredients

Ulster Fry Meat ingredients include Black Pudding, Back Bacon and Pork Sausages.

How Do I Make Ulster Fry Meats?

Your very own kitchen can be the site of homemade Black Pudding, Pork Sausages and Back Bacon. No need for specialized butchery skills. A meat grinder is responsible the making of the Black Pudding and Pork Sausage Meat. An attachment grinder is used with a stand mixer. I used a manual grinder that attached to a kitchen counter top.

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To make Black Pudding at home, using easily accessible ingredients, click on this link. Ingredients such as dried or fresh blood are challenging to get outside of Ireland and the U.K., so this Black Pudding recipe offers a good solution, ingredients wise.

Homemade Irish style Pork Sausages are also an option to make at home. These Sausages are Irish style because Irish pork was not an ingredient, (I’m in the U.S.). Read my post about Irish Pork Sausages for more about this.

Along with Black Pudding and Pork Sausages, Back Bacon can also be homemade. It is the easiest to make. Unlike the other Ulster Fry Meats, it only uses 3 ingredients and no special equipment. I used pork loin in the recipe which is readily available in the States.

A white plate containing 5 slices of Black Pudding with potato bread and tomato in the background.
Pan fried Black Pudding.
Plate plate containing 4 cooked Irish Pork Sausages with casing, 3 uncased sausage links and 4 sausage patties.
Pan fried Irish Pork Sausages.
Cooked, sliced Irish Back Bacon on a platter.
Irish Back Bacon on a platter.

Where Do I Buy Ulster Fry Meats?

In Northern Ireland there is absolutely no shortage of places to buy any of the above meats. Supermarkets and butcher’s shops alike are teaming with Ulster Fry Meat offerings.

Nowadays, there are so many choices between:

  • organic or non organics meats.
  • all natural ingredients or not.
  • free from artificial additives such as nitrates, acidity regulators, stabilizers, and preservatives.
  • fresh or frozen.
  • butcher shop produced or commercially produced.
  • brand name or supermarket brand.
  • budget brand or better than the budget type.

Outside of Ireland and the UK, these Meats can be difficult to find. Try specialty Irish or British stores or even some of the larger supermarkets that sell imported European foods.

A Tip From Me

When making these Ulster Fry Meats at home, I recommend making a large batch and freezing it. Freeze the meat for up to 3 months and defrost overnight in the refrigerator. Rather than using them for a full Ulster Fry up, use them as the filling in a sandwich. ‘Filled sodas’ are popular sandwiches in N. Ireland. A filled soda requires all / part of the Ulster Fry Meats trio to be sandwiched between two slices of Soda Bread.

Large white bread roll on a white plate. In the bread roll is back bacon, fried egg that has spilled its yolk, Irish Pork Sausage and black pudding.
Ulster Fry meat with an egg in a Belfast Bap.

Got Questions?

I’ve got answers – hopefully!

How else can I use these Ulster Fry Meats if I don’t want to make a Fry?

Served them as a sandwich. Use a soft white bap (bread roll) and fill it! See the image above for an example of a Belfast Bap filled with Black Pudding, Pork Sausage and Back Bacon with egg on top – delicious!

Are Ulster Fry Meats processed?

All meats undergo some sort of processing. Ulster Fry Meats especially. Meat being dry cured (Back Bacon), the meat used in Pork Sausages and Black Pudding are ground with corresponding flavorings and binders added. Processed meat is not necessarily bad for you. Commercially prepared Ulster Fry Meats have a high chance of containing artificial additions to preserve their shelf life, improve their texture, color, taste and appearance. Minimally processed meats are a better choice. Ones that contain all natural ingredients. The best way to have control over every ingredient is to make your own Ulster Fry Meats. That way, you’ll have full control over the ingredients!


4 Replies to “Ulster Fry Meat”

  • Ray
    April 28, 2024
    Thanks for the info on making Ulster Fry at home.
    1. Gillian
      April 29, 2024
      You are very welcome Ray, good luck with all your Ulster Fry making!
  • Jacqueline Swain
    April 29, 2024
    Would love to be able to buy vegetable roll in birmingham but sadly we only get it when we go on holiday in northern ireland.
    1. Gillian
      April 29, 2024
      I hear you, vegetable roll is delicious, but only available in N. Ireland. I'll have to do a post on it. If you subscribe to the blog, you'll see when the recipe is up!

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