Hungarians like their bacon on a stick

Stars poke holes in the black sky. Crickets chirp. A campfire crackles.

A few dear friends sit in a circle, chattering. They laugh until they cry and cry until they laugh.

And, since they’re Hungarian, they’re holding bacon. Giant cubes of bacon. On sticks.

Welcome to Hungarian summer.

Campfire bacon kabobs, a.k.a. Gypsy Bacon (Cigany Szalonna) are an integral part of any Hungarian barbecue. In Planet Barbecue Steven Raichlen states:

There once was a time – perhaps it’s true still – when Hungary had the highest per capita calorie intake of any country in Europe. Lard and Goose fat undoubtedly helped Hungary achieve this distinction, but the real culprit was […] grilled bacon.

Now I know why mom and brother, Damien, always loved to “chew the fat” – literally. Our Hungarian roots all but require it.

Here’s how it works:

1. Buy the biggest piece of rind-on slab bacon you can find. Unsliced. I had to call about 5 butchers before I found it at Perry’s in Tulsa. Even then, they tried to slice it up for me.

2. Cut the bacon into hunks. About 2″ cubed is good. Stick it on a… stick. A skewer is okay too.

3. Slowly roast the bacon over a campfire (or grill). As it renders, drop the drippings  onto a slice of rye bread. This is then eaten with various toppings, such as sliced onion, peppers, tomatoes, or radishes. The browned bits of bacon can be shaved off, onto the bread or into a salad.

4. While you wait for the bacon to render, talk about the meaning of life, the joys of the evening, and your hopes for tomorrow. Talk until you yawn. Talk until dawn.

For more pictures of this neat tradition, see Patty’s annual Hungarian family reunion, where they indulge in many a Campfire Bacon Kabob.

Starry night photo by chensiyuan
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  1. all sounds Hunky Dory…

  2. how fun :) LOVE your crisp bacon photos!

  3. takes a lot of energy to ride all those horses across the cold Mongolian plains….

  4. Collette says:

    We will definitely have to do that next time we go camping… if the temps ever get below 100* that is, lol. I know CLiff would eat that, lol

  5. Bacon on a stick? Sounds so American! But I love it– that’s my kinda campfire snack ;) I LOVE your photo of the stars…

  6. I can totally see this as a Tulsa State Fair hit! You should open a booth and maybe even dip some of them in chocolate!


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