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cuts of bacon

What is Bacon?

Bacon is pork that is cut from the belly, side or across the back of the pig, depending on the type of bacon. First the pork is either wet-cured in brine or dry-cured in salt and then smoked. This is what makes it bacon.

What Part of the Pig Does Bacon Come From?

streaky bacon or American bacon

photo by Jonathunder

Streaky Bacon (or American Bacon outside of North America) is cut from the belly of the pig (section 10).

Italian pancetta bacon

Photo by Nachoman

Pancetta is Italian streaky bacon that has been spiced with nutmeg, pepper, fennel and garlic before curing.
streak of lean bacon

Photo by Dennis Brown

Streak of Lean Bacon comes from the back of the pig (section 1) and is salt cured. To cook it, first it is boiled in water to get rid of some of the saltiness. Some people then soak it in buttermilk and dredge it with a cornmeal and pepper mixture. It is then fried.
back baconBack Bacon is cut from the loin (section 6). It is also called Irish bacon and in the US it is called Canadian bacon, which is quite interesting because in the UK this is the type of bacon eaten most often. In Canada we traditionally serve our back bacon as Peameal Bacon. It is back bacon that is cured but not smoked, and the slab is coated in fine cornmeal and then sliced.
jowl baconJowl Bacon is from the cheeks of the pig (section 2). In Italy it is called Guanciale – it is not smoked, and it is dry-cured with a salt rub with black or red pepper.

What are Rashers?

Bacon is usually sold in slices – which can also be called rashers

  • thin slices have approximately 35 strips per pound
  • regular slices have 16-20 strips per pound
  • thick slices usually have 12-16 strips per pound

How is Bacon Sliced?

Here is a video showing a machine slicing bacon into thin slices.

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