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bacon on a breadboard with sprig of rosemary pancetta stagionata

What is Bacon?

Bacon is pork that is cut from the side of the pig (Section 10). 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?

cuts of bacon

streaky bacon or american bacon 2
Streaky Bacon – or American Bacon outside of North America – is cut from the belly & side of the pig (section 10).


pancetta bacon

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


streak of lean bacon boil then fried by dennis brown
Streak of Lean Bacon is fatback with meat on it – so called because it come from the back of the pig (section 3). It is salt cured, not smoked. Salt pork bacon can also be called white bacon. It resembles streaky bacon but is usually sold in smaller blocks.

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.


canadian peameal bacon
Back 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.


Guanciale di maiale pillow jowl bacon
Jowl 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.

It can also be called bacon square.

How is Bacon Made?

The Discovery Channel show us how bacon is made.
 


What are Rashers?

Bacon is usually sold in slices – one slice is a rasher.

  • 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.

Source:
Photo of streak of lean bacon by Dennis Brown

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