CategoryMeat and poultry

Cookbook | Recipes | Ingredients | Basic foodstuffs | Meat and poultry

Bacon is made by curing and often cold smoking or drying the sides, back, or belly of pork. Because it is cured, bacon tends to keep for a very long time.

Characteristics edit

There are several kinds of bacon, differentiated mainly by the cut of pork from which they are made.

Belly/side edit

American or streaky bacon is made by curing the pork belly/side with sugar, salt, pepper and other assorted spices for at least three days, and then cold smoking it.[1] It has long "streaks" of fat running along it. Italian bacon (pancetta) is made by removing the skin and seasoning the meat with salt, pepper and other spices such as juniper berries, muscot nuts, cloves, and cinnamon. It is cured for two weeks and then rolled up and packed into a skin much like salami. Like many sausages high in fat, pancetta is hard to cut.

Bacon made from the back of the belly is fattier than bacon made from the front of a belly.

Back edit

Bacons made from the back/loin of a hog are much leaner, and they do not taste the same as bacons made from the pork belly. They are similar in texture to ham, and they include Canadian bacon, English back bacon, and Irish bacon.[1][2]

Other edit

For those who do not eat pork, bacon approximates made from other animals such as turkey and duck are a viable alternative.[2] Turkey bacon tends to be made of chopped and formed turkey meat, with no streaky fat. Duck bacon can be streaky with subcutaneous fat.

Selection and storage edit

Choose your desired variety of bacon according to its final use—you'll want to take things like fat content and added flavorings into account. Bacon can be bought as slabs or sliced into rashers, depending on the desired use.[1][2] Unopened bacon typically lasts for several weeks in the fridge, but it can also be frozen for 1–2 months either before or after cooking due to its typical high fat content.[1][2]

Use edit

Bacon—especially fatty varieties—is best cooked slowly over low heat to allow rendering and crisping. This can be done in the oven or in a skillet. Avoid cooking bacon at high heat, since this can singe it and convert some of the curing agents into unpleasant byproducts.[2]

As a versatile ingredient with savory, salty, and fatty flavors,[2] bacon can be eaten on its own or incorporated into a variety of dishes. It is common at breakfast in the cuisines of the United States and United Kingdom. It can also be used in sandwiches and salads to add a pop of salty and savory contrasting flavor.[2] Fatty bacon is sometimes used to wrap or line other pieces of meat to prevent them from drying out during cooking.

Bacon fat or grease that has rendered out of the bacon can be used as a cooking fat in other dishes.

Recipes edit

References edit

  1. a b c d "Bacon, Pancetta, and More: How to Cook With Cured Pork Products". Serious Eats. Retrieved 2023-12-10.
  2. a b c d e f g "Where Does Bacon Really Come From?". The Spruce Eats. Retrieved 2023-12-10.