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Grilled pork belly, a fashionable substitute for bacon. Photo courtesy Chicken Fried Gourmet.
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October 2012

Last Updated August 2013

 

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Beef

Different Types Of Bacon: A Glossary Of Bacon Types

Page 2: Types From M To Z

 

Different types of bacon are cut from different parts of the pig. While they have in common the salting and curing of the meat, the appearances, textures and flavors vary. Bacon can be cut into strips or rolled (to be cut during preparation). Also see our Pork Glossary, Beef Glossary and Lamb Glossary. We have a food glossary for almost every category of food.

 

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Pork Side Chart

MAPLE CURED BACON or CANDIED BACON

Slabs of bacon are caramelized with a smoky, sugary cure created from brown sugar and maple syrup. The sweetness is especially nice in baked beans; and if you want to dip bacon in chocolate, this is it.

PANCETTA

Pancetta is Italian back bacon, available smoked or unsmoked. It is typically salt cured and seasoned with spices (fennel, garlic, nutmeg, peppercorns, even hot chile flakes) and then dried. It can be sold in straight strips or in rolls. Cured Italian bacon which is normally not smoked, can be used as a substitute when guanciale is not available.

 

PEAMEAL BACON or CORNMEAL BACON

Originating in Toronto, Canada, the name reflects the historic practice of preserving pork by rolling the cured and trimmed boneless loin, short cut from the leaner portions of the loin, in dried and ground yellow peas. In modern times, it has been rolled in ground yellow cornmeal; hence the use of both terms. Bacon made from the pork loin is leaner. It is not smoked but pickled.

 
Pancetta. Photo courtesy FraMani.com.

PEPPER BACON

Bacon that is seasoned with cracked peppercorns after smoking.

 

PICNIC BACON

Bacon made from the picnic cut, which includes the shoulder beneath the blade. Picnic bacon is fairly lean.

  Pepper Bacon
Pepper bacon. Photo by Claire Freierman | THE NIBBLE.

PRECOOKED BACON

Major brands like Oscar Mayer, Schwan’s and Tyson’s have recently introduced precooked bacon, a fully-cooked product that is shelf-stable and can be heated in 60 seconds. It’s a real time saver, doesn’t leave a greasy pan and doesn’t fill the house with cooked bacon aroma. It is, however more expensive. But consider keeping it on the shelf for a BLT or a quick bacon and eggs.

 
Precooked bacon. Photo courtesy Schwan’s.

PORK BELLY or SIDE PORK

This is the area on the lower side and underside of the pig from which American bacon (“side bacon” or “streaky bacon”) is cut (see chart above). Though a fattier meat, it can be diced for stir-fry, rolled for roasting or cut into square or rectangular “steaks”—a preparation that has become popular at chic restaurants in the last five years.

 

RASHER

A slice (or a portion of three to four slices) of bacon.

 
Pork belly. Photo courtesy H.G. Walter.

SALT PORK OR SIDE PORK

This is bacon from the pork belly that is more fat than lean. It can be fried and eaten as regular bacon; and the bacon grease is prized (although not by cardiologists) for cooking onions, greens, frying potatoes, adding to soups, etc. The terms pork belly and side pork are interchangeable. They are both lean cuts and either can be made into bacon, as well as the jowl meat (guanciale).

 
Salt pork. Photo courtesy SpectacularlyDelicious.com.

SIDE BACON or STREAKY BACON

This is what people in the U.K. call “American” bacon, made with meat from the pork belly. It is very fatty with streaks of meat running parallel to the fat—hence the term “streaky” bacon.

 

SLAB BACON

Slab bacon is cured bacon, made from the belly and side cuts, and from fatback. It is different from salt pork (see above), which is prepared from the same cuts but is not cured.

SZALONNA

Szalonna is the Hungarian term for back bacon. It is made of smoked pork fat with the rind, and is often sold ready to eat (no cooking required).

VENTRÈCHE

The French word for pancetta.

WILD BOAR BACON

While it continues to be called wild boar because all domestic pigs are descended from it, today’s “wild boar” is in fact a pastured animal. Like its true wild ancestor, it remains an extremely hardy animal that is capable of growth even during the hardest winter. And unlike the domestic pig, wild boar are not prone to illness or disease. The meat is darker in color with a distinct, more flavorful taste than domestic pork; but it is not gamey tasting.

 
Wild boar bacon. Photo courtesy ExoticMeats.com.

 

WILTSHIRE CURE

A traditional English technique for curing bacon and ham, originating in the 18th century in Wiltshire. The original Wiltshire cure was a dry cure method that involved applying salt to the meat for 10–14 days. However, around World War I it became a wet cure, where the bacon is soaked in brine for 4–5 days. The bacon may or may not be smoked after it is cured.

 

Go To Page 1: Terms A To L

 

© Copyright 2005- 2014 Lifestyle Direct, Inc. Some definitions were provided by the Cattlemen's Beef Board  and are © Copyright 2005 Cattlemen’s Beef Board. All rights reserved. Images are the copyright of their respective owners.

 



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