Know Your Bacon

Are there different kinds of bacon?

You bet!

bacon / American bacon / streaky bacon (British)

bacon / American bacon / streaky bacon (British)

bacon = American bacon = streaky bacon (British)
Bacon is a very fatty slab taken from the underside of a pig. The bacon sold in markets is usually cured and smoked, but it’s also possible to buy uncured fresh bacon = pork belly = side pork. Smoked bacon is often fried and served with eggs or in sandwiches, or it’s sometimes wrapped around lean meats to keep them moist while they’re cooking.

Canadian bacon / back bacon / bacon (British)

Canadian bacon / back bacon / bacon (British)

Canadian bacon = back bacon = bacon (British)
Canadian bacon tastes like ham and is much leaner than American bacon. It’s made from pork loin that’s been smoked and cured. Note that Irish bacon is also sometimes called back bacon.

fatback

fatback

fatback
This is a slab of fat that runs along the back of a pig. You can render it into lard, cut it into barding strips to wrap around lean roasts, or use it to line terrine or pâté pans. It you’re cutting it into sheets, it helps to put it in the freezer first until it’s firm. It’s also sometimes cured like bacon. It’s hard to find, ask your butcher.

 

gypsy bacon

gypsy bacon

gypsy bacon
This Hungarian specialty consists of a slab of bacon that’s been roasted and then seasoned with paprika. It’s then cut into thin slices and served on rye bread. Look for it in German or Hungarian markets.

Irish bacon / back bacon

Irish bacon / back bacon

Irish bacon = back bacon
This is a lot leaner than American bacon. Note that Canadian bacon also is sometimes called back bacon.

pancetta / Italian bacon

pancetta / Italian bacon

pancetta = Italian bacon
Pancetta is the Italian counterpart to our bacon. It’s cured, but not smoked, and it’s often used to give a subtle salty flavor to pasta sauces. Deli counters often carry cylinders of it, and slice it to order.

 

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