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How to Fry Up a Full English Breakfast

Updated: Mar 14

The "Full English Breakfast," also known as a "fry up,"as well as a "Full Monty," is a real crowd-pleaser. Some folks in the UK would be willing to eat it for every meal, all day long.


But how is it made? I'll try to answer some of that for you below.



To kick things off, here's a great description of the various ingredients of the breakfast (with sourcing ideas), from iamafoodblog.com


  • Sausages. Chose good sausages, preferably ones that are from your local butcher instead of supermarket sausages. Go for a fresh coarse ground pork sausage that’s seasoned simply. In the UK the sausages of choice are usually coarse ground Cumberland or Lincolnshire sausages.

  • Black pudding. Not an absolute necessity but black pudding is super common and for black pudding lovers it’s a hill they will die on. You can get this when you’re buying sausages at your butcher. If they don’t have black pudding, ask for blood sausage.

  • English Bacon. The bacon in the UK is not the bacon we know in North America. Back bacon is made from pork loin with a bit of belly. It’s the same cut pork chops, but thinner and smoked. Again, you can usually get this a good butcher.

  • Eggs. All the eggs I’ve ever seen in a full English are sunny side up but you can go wild and cook them how you like. I don’t think the English breakfast police will come after you ;)

  • Tomatoes. Classic field tomatoes, not romas, not cherry, not anything super fancy.

  • Mushrooms. Simple brown (or cremini) mushrooms, halved.

  • Fried bread. Thick cut bread fried in a pan with oil or drippings and never toasted. I think a standard supermarket white loaf is what’s needed, not a sourdough or country loaf. Definitely not brown!

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And yes, scrambled eggs are allowed. Here's one of the plates I cooked up for my friends on September 19, 2022, when we got up before dawn in New York City to watch the state funeral for Her Majesty, The Queen. Celebrity prayer candle sold separately.



A few process shots from my full fry up.


I like to start with the bacon. It flavors everything to follow, fried in the same pan. Of course you should first drain off some of the extra grease. Now what you see here is thick cut American bacon, rather than "back bacon" which is more authentically part of a British fry up. But it's fine to make do with what you have! More on "back bacon" below.



Get yourself some gorgeous vine tomatoes.



I like to slice them in half (see Darren McGrady the royal chef below, he agrees you should core out the bit where the stem was), then cook them face down while heating the black pudding in the bacon pan. Keep all of this warm in a slow oven as you continue on your cooking adventure.



Mushrooms! Cremini, or Baby Bella mushrooms are a popular type for a full fry up, but if you can only get white buttons, cook them up in the bacon grease and nobody will know the difference. Or you might need to add a bit of canola oil at this point, depending. The sunny side up eggs would likely perform better in a non-stick pan (again with a bit of oil) but the scramble is going to be rustic and lovely in the cast iron.



WATCH THIS: Here's Chef Darren McGrady showing you how a ROYAL "English Fried Breakfast" should officially be cooked. He was the chef for The Queen, Princess Diana, and the rest of the royal first family for fifteen years. He emphasizes you don't need a dozen professional pans like he uses, you can keep things to a minimum when you're doing it at home. I literally use a single cast iron skillet with a pot on the side to heat the beans.


Here's a bit of fry up history. It's under: "Full Breakfast" on Wikipedia. Wiki leaves out the word English in the title because the Irish make a full fry up too. From wiki: "In the UK it is sometimes referred to as a "Full Monty". One theory for the origin of this term is that British Army general Bernard Montgomery, nicknamed 'Monty', was said to have started every day with a 'Full English' breakfast while on campaign in North Africa during the Second World War."


If you're an "X" (formerly Twitter) user, you should definitely follow Das Fruppin', The Fry Up Police! (also @fryuppolice on Instagram). They bill themselves as: "The world’s number one authority on the great British fry up."


Get a 4-pack! of proper Heinz Beans (aka "beanz"—in a "deliciously rich tomato sauce") right here.


HP Sauce is essential. HP is short for "Houses of Parliament." It's a wildly popular UK vinegar-molasses sauce and MUST be on hand to complement a proper fry up. Just like your favorite hot pepper sauce should always nearby when you're having gumbo in New Orleans or Mexican food in Texas.


iGourmet.com is MY FAVE place for international mail order delicacies. Here are the British foods, where you can order up your bangers (sausages) and they also have smashing back bacon.


Jolly Posh Foods! A terrific place to mail order your meats. Bangers galore and a proper Cumberland coil. They even ship to Hawaii! (sorry Alaska).


Myers of Keswick—they have a wonderful brick and mortar store near me in Greenwich Village and ship as well to the contiguous 48 states.


I'll leave you with this delicious image from The Fry Up Police! Happy frying!



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