Canadian bacon is a term used in the U.S. to refer to back bacon, which is cut from behind the center of the pig’s back or the shoulder of the loin of the pig, as opposed to streaky American bacon, which comes from the pig belly. Typically sold already cooked and with less fat and fewer calories than American bacon, Canadian bacon is similar to ham in appearance.
Like regular bacon, Canadian bacon is salted, smoked and cured with slightly more sugar added. It has lean and juicy meat, with a slightly sweet taste. It also is significantly thicker than streaky bacon. When it is fried, it does not crisp up and release the same amount of grease as regular bacon, although it still releases some oil from the thin layers of fat and marbling in its meat. Overcooking of Canadian bacon will result in dry and tasteless meat. It is often cooked lightly, served soft and juicy with eggs, toast, pudding, or pancakes. It also makes a delicious sandwich with cheese and goes great with pineapples.
It is mostly in the U.S. that the label “Canadian bacon” is used, and outside of the United States, it is referred to as back bacon and has similarities to other back bacon varieties like Irish bacon or rashers.
Canadian bacon is a popular pizza topping and is added in common breakfast foods like omelets. It is a healthier option and satisfying substitute to regular streaky bacon, which contain alarmingly high amounts of fats. It has the same flavor as streaky bacon without the excess fat, although it does not have the distinctive crunch and crisp of American bacon, which is often the very characteristic that is sought after by bacon lovers.
Usually sold in chunks, Canadian bacon can be cut up and sliced thin or thick, into wedges, strips, or cubes depending on how the consumer likes it.