See also pork.
Bacon comes mainly from the fatty belly and sides of the pig. The fat content, while high, is what gives bacon its delicious aroma and taste. The most familiar product, sliced “American” bacon, is cut from the underside while in Europe it is also trimmed from the thigh and back.
American – This is the bacon many of us enjoy for breakfast or in sandwiches combined with lettuce and tomato. It is typically sold in one-pound packages, but also available in slabs.
Bacon is usually brined, cured, and smoked. Slices can be thick or thin and fat-to-meat ratios vary from package to package. Varieties include maple, sugar-free, and reduced sodium. Europeans call it “streaky” bacon (each strip is called a rasher), and they do not cook it as long as in the typical American household.
Pancetta – An Italian bacon that is cured but not smoked. Cylindrical and ready for slicing in many deli sections.
Gypsy – This Hungarian specialty bacon is found in ethnic markets. It is paprika-seasoned and roasted.
Canadian bacon is not technically similar. It actually comes from the pork loin and is much leaner. Cured and smoked (always pre-cooked), it’s sliced or packaged as a solid cylinder. The taste is more like ham, which is how it should be prepared.
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