Bacon is delicious salt-cured meat that has been made from several specific cuts of meat. It can be cut from the back, belly or side of a pig and different kinds of bacon derive from different varieties of pork.
Bacon is a key ingredient in a wide variety of recipes and is often found in Italian dishes, sandwiches and salads.
Bacon derives from the ribs, belly, loin and sides of the pig and can be found anywhere that contains a high level of fat. The vast majority of people will be acquainted with ‘streaky bacon’ which is cut from the belly of the pig.
Whilst different cuts derive from different parts of the pig's anatomy, pork is put through a unique curing process in order to create meat like bacon and ham.
Certain varieties of bacon will differ from others as it is their specific cut that provides them with a certain distinctive quality. Below is a list of different kinds of bacon and where it comes from:
Center cut bacon derives from the middle of the belly and is extracted from near the bone. This part of the pig is known as being the least fatty and so it is considered to be a higher quality cut due to its low-fat content.
Slab bacon stems from the belly and side of the pig. These cuts can also be taken from the fat at the back of the pig.
These cuts have a medium to high percentage of fat and are often packaged with the rind connected which can be removed prior to cooking in order to reduce the fat content.
A slab of bacon can be sliced into thin strips and these packages of bacon are typically sold in grocery stores.
This is the variety of bacon that is typically chosen by more health-aware consumers as it has a lower-fat content than other forms of bacon. This meat is extracted from the back of the pig, and it is therefore far leaner than bacon that is extracted from the belly.
This bacon is typically known as cottage bacon, and it has a high-fat content. Broad back bacon derives from the shoulder or buttocks of the pig.
Despite its unique origins, it is cured in the same way as regular bacon. This variety typically has wider streaks of fat attached to it, and it is also far meatier than any bacon that derives from the belly of the pig.
Canadian bacon is extracted from the loin of the pig, and it is usually leaner than bacon that has come from the belly.
It is served in round slices that have been cut from pork loin from the middle of the pig’s back. This bacon contains a high amount of protein without excessive cholesterol.
Lardons is an alternative name for slab bacon that has been diced into cubes. This bacon is the perfect addition to fancy salads and roasts. Lardons derive from pork belly cuts that have been curated with salt and other forms of seasoning.
Irish or English bacon is used as part of breakfast dishes in Ireland. It derives from the back of the pig, similarly to Canadian bacon. However, Irish bacon differs from other varieties of bacon as the cuts typically have a layer of fat around the edge.
Speck bacon derives from the same cut as ham does. This is from the hind leg of the pig, and it is specifically cured in a blend of spices that make it incredibly tasty.
Pancetta is an Italian bacon that has many similar qualities to Americanized styles of bacon. It derives from pork belly cuts, and it is cured without being smoked. It is usually served sliced or diced and makes the perfect addition to pasta dishes like carbonara.
This variety of bacon is the most commonly used in sandwiches and burgers, and it is incredibly popular throughout the United States. Streaky bacon derives from the belly of the pig and is otherwise known as a ‘strip of bacon’ or ‘bacon strips’ due to the parallel nature of the fat and the rind.
To conclude, although bacon is a popular food that is eaten by the vast majority of people, many do not know where the meat is cut from
Bacon is usually cut from the belly, loin and sides of the pig, although there are numerous varieties of bacon that utilize the back of the animal in order to provide leaner cuts of meat.
If you are a more health-conscious bacon lover, you should avoid fatty cuts of bacon that derive from the belly of the pig as these are guaranteed to have a higher fat content.
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