A Traditional Full Irish Breakfast
You will see the signs everywhere in Ireland from gourmet restaurants to petrol stations – Full Irish Breakfast – traditional Full Irish – Ulster Fry Breakfast or even Irish Fry Up. They are all versions of the same traditional full Irish breakfast that has been served for years.
This massive cooked breakfast will fill you up and get you ready for a hard day of hiking, trekking, touring and visiting ancient castles and ruins in Ireland. A full breakfast is a traditional Irish breakfast that has been served for years items have been added and removed over the years but originally the traditional Irish breakfast was made to fortify those who were cutting turf or working on the farms that crisscross the country.
A fry up breakfast in Ireland is part of the food culture of the country. It also sets you up for a day of intense site seeing when you visit the Emerald Isle.
In Ireland you will find a full Irish breakfast all over, even petrol stations have them. Usually, when done at home it’s a weekend or holiday treat because the calorie level is pretty high. Oh, and by the way, unlike some websites that say bubble and squeak are in a full Irish breakfast ignore them that is a British tradition and it is not a breakfast favourite.
What’s included in a Full Irish breakfast?
- Irish pork sausages – should be a high meat content and locally made
- Irish rashers – not American streaky bacon
- fried eggs – the white firm and the yolk lovely and runny
- or scrambled eggs or even poached eggs can be involved
- beans – good old baked beans usually Heinz
- mushrooms and tomatoes – cut in half and grilled till a little mushy and bubbly with caramelized edges
- fried bread – not so much an Irish thing (except in the North) day-old or stale bread fried till golden in bacon fat
- boxty/fadge/potato pancakes – thin triangular shaped potato pancakes very traditionally Irish
- Soda bread – called farls in N. Ireland are a triangular-shaped soda bread (traditional in the North) that is fried with some bacon fat
- of course, there is also orange juice and tea on the side
- mustn’t forget black pudding and or white pudding – black pudding is made from pork blood and white pudding is made from pork fat – surprisingly tasty when grilled or fried and considered an Irish sausage.
When cooking a Full Irish breakfast at home you need good smoked Irish bacon or Irish rashers (in N. America these are usually called English or Canadian bacon or smoked pork from the loin). You can usually pick up some boxty or potato pancakes at British speciality shops and occasionally some farls. A full Irish breakfast just simply isn’t complete without the boxty, farls or potato pancakes as far as I’m concerned.
Full Irish Breakfast vs Full English, Full Scottish and Full Welsh
Full Irish, Full English, Full Scottish, Ulster Fry, Full Welsh, a fry up, the full Monty are all names for a meal that is the fuel of a good day. Served throughout the British Isles and Ireland for breakfast this great plate of food is consumed in vast quantities.
Truth be told there isn’t much difference between a full Irish breakfast and the “competing” Welsh, Scottish or English versions. Most of these “full” breakfasts have a range of ingredients but usually always a pork sausage and a rasher or two with eggs. Beans, tomatoes, mushrooms and black or white pudding are optional depending on what region of the country you are from.
Generally, it is served only on special occasions or weekends as it does tend to be a bit heavy, but many B&B’s, roadside stops and restaurants offer their version of a Full Irish breakfast. Each area has its own version of the breakfast, often served with regional favourites.
A Full Irish Breakfast
A full Irish breakfast will always include Irish farls, rashers (Irish bacon), black and white pudding, eggs, and sausages and sometimes a nice homemade soda bread. You will occasionally these days find pre-made hashbrown and beans although most Irish will swear that beans should never be added. It may also include a grilled tomato and sauteed mushrooms.
The full English breakfast
A Full English Breakfast tends to begin with a couple of fried eggs, good lean English back bacon, a couple of tasty pork sausages, fried bread (delicious white bread fried in the bacon grease), baked beans, grilled tomato and mushrooms and sometimes black pudding depending on where in England you are.
A Scottish Breakfast
A Full Scottish will have a couple of eggs, good Scottish bacon, black pudding, white pudding, tattie scones, and toast.
A Welsh Breakfast
A Welsh breakfast is very similar but served with Laverbread or laver cakes, these are a kind of pancake that is made with seaweed and oatmeal and is traditionally served with breakfast but sometimes with a roast dinner.
Potato “bread” goes by many regional names, including slims, fadge, potato cake, potato pancakes, farls, and tattie scones in Scotland, Boxty (bacstaí in Gaelic) poundy or poundies. These are totally different to Potato Bread as they are a sort of flat unleavened triangular-shaped patty, they are usually made with raw grated potato and some leftover mash although some folks have been known to make them with just leftover mashed potato. There are also Soda Farls which is a leavened potato bread often served at breakfast as well.
The best recipes for fadge consist of finely grated, raw potato and mashed potato with flour, baking soda, buttermilk and sometimes egg. The mixture is then gently pulled together and rolled into a flat round shape and then cut into triangles.
It is then fried on a griddle until it is browned a little. The “cakes” can then be frozen or kept for a few days in the fridge to be pulled out for breakfast. For breakfast, they are fried in a little butter until the cake gets a slight crisp on the outside.
So there you have it so enjoy your full Irish breakfast wherever you may find it. This traditional Irish breakfast will keep you going for hours.