Irish Bacon and Cabbage

Irish Bacon and Cabbage is a traditional Irish-style preparation of a tasty cabbage-based meal using back bacon.

Irish Bacon and Cabbage

Irish Bacon and Cabbage

 Sue Lau | Palatable Pastime

This uses an Irish back bacon, which is quite unlike smoked American bacon. The closest approximation if you need an alternative that I can figure is a boneless pork loin, sliced thin the way bacon is sliced. But if you want to do it, you’ll need to have your own meat slicer or rely upon the goodwill of your butcher.

I have read that it is pork shoulder, but the back bacon I had certainly was not. I have cooked a lot of pork shoulder, and being from St. Louis where we adore our pork steaks, I am full aware of what it looks like sliced. The back bacon indeed appears just like boneless pork loin chops, sliced amazingly thin.

This dish cooks a good long time too. I am not surprised. The New England boiled dinner does this as well, but that uses beef. In the South, they braise cabbage for a good long while and cook it with ham or some other cut of pork to offer flavor. It is not dissimilar in this regard.

I served my bacon and cabbage with horseradish, as I like to do. Also I served roasted root vegetables. Boiled potatoes are a common accompaniment (as with the NE boiled dinner) but it is just a little too plain for me.

Reputedly, this is the actual Irish national dish, but I will leave that up to the Irish. In any case, I read this is not made much anymore, being old-fashioned and rather mild. I suppose they’d all prefer a good spicy curry instead? (laughs)

That only makes me want to conjure this up in some twisted fusion version of Indonesian curry debal. That would light their eyes up. Spicy hot! (Curry debal being one of my favorite dishes).

But I hope you enjoy and consider this next St. Patrick’s day along with a good cold pint.

Irish Bacon and Cabbage

Irish Bacon and Cabbage

5 from 1 vote
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Irish
Servings 4


  • 8 ounces thinly sliced back bacon (16 ounces if you like a lot of meat)
  • 1 large onion (sliced or chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 medium-large head cabbage (cut in thick slices or wedges)
  • 1 quart vegetable broth or water (the broth is worth it)


  • Brown the bacon, onion, and garlic in olive oil.
  • Season with salt and pepper and add the thyme, cabbage chunks, and vegetable broth.
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 50-60 minutes.


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