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The Ultimate Guide to Bacon

Bacon Varieties

Bacon can vary depending on where they are cut from and where they come from. The slices, also called rashers in some countries, differ depending on the primal cut.

The most common slice and form of bacon in the United States is streaky bacon, also called side bacon, which is cut from the pork belly. Long layers of fat run parallel to the rind and have thin streaks of meat.

The Italian version of the streaky bacon is called Pancetta, which can either be smoked or unsmoked and has a strong flavor. After curing, it is rolled up into cylinders and sold in this manner.

Back bacon, also called Irish bacon, Rashers, or Canadian Bacon is cut from the loin in the middle of the back of the pig. The texture is similar to ham, meaty, and is on the lean side, with less fat compared to the other cuts of bacon. It is the most common variety of bacon consumed in the United Kingdom.

Middle bacon is cut from the side of the pork and, like its name suggests, has average fat content, with a flavor that is the middle of streaky bacon and back bacon.

Cottage bacon is cut from the shoulder of the pork, thin, meaty, and lean and usually oval shaped. After the shoulder is cured, it is sliced into oval pieces and the flat pieces are usually fried or baked. Jowl bacon comes from the cheeks of the pork, which are cured and smoked.

Collar bacon is cut from the back of the neck of the pig near the head. Hock bacon is on the ankle joint between the foot and the ham, while gammon is cut from the hind leg.

Slab bacon is cut from the belly, the sides, and the fatback. It has a medium to high portion of fat depending on whether the rind has been trimmed from the slab, and is similar to salt pork, which is also prepared from the same cuts but not cured. Shop slab bacon.

Picnic bacon includes the shoulder beneath the blade of the pig, which is lean but can be tough.

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Read more in our Ultimate Guide to Bacon series

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