Template:Wiktionarypar Template:Semiprotected

Bacon is a cut of meat taken from the sides, belly, or back of a pig, and then cured, smoked, or both. Meat from other animals, such as beef, lamb, chicken, goat, or turkey, may also be cut, cured, or otherwise prepared to resemble bacon, and may even be referred to as "bacon".[1] Such use is common in areas with significant Muslim populations.[2] Bacon may be eaten fried, baked, or grilled, or used as a minor ingredient to flavour dishes. Bacon is also used for barding and larding roasts, especially game birds. The word is derived from the Old High German bacho, meaning "buttock," "ham," or "side of bacon," and cognate with the Old French bacon.[3]

The USDA defines bacon as "the cured belly of a swine carcass"; other cuts and characteristics must be separately qualified (e.g., "smoked pork loin bacon"). If bacon is USDA certified, then it has been treated for trichinella,[4] a parasitic roundworm which can be destroyed by heating, freezing, drying, or smoking.[5]

In continental Europe, this part of the pig is usually not smoked like bacon is in the United States; it is used primarily in cubes (lardons) as a cooking ingredient, valued both as a source of fat and for its flavour. In Italy, this is called pancetta and is usually cooked in small cubes or served uncooked and thinly sliced as part of an antipasto.


Uncooked strips of bacon

Smoked baconEdit

In America, bacon is usually smoked, and different flavours can be achieved by using various types of woods or turf. This process can take up to ten hours, depending on the intensity of the flavour desired. The Virginia House-Wife (1824), thought to be one of the earliest American cookbooks, gives no indication that bacon is ever not smoked, though it gives no advice on flavouring, noting only that care should be taken lest the fire get too hot.[6] In early American history, the preparation and smoking of bacon (like the making of sausage) seems to have been a gender-neutral process, one of the few food-preparation processes not divided by gender.[7] .

Cuts of baconEdit

Bacon (1)

Cooked rasher of streaky bacon


Uncooked back bacon

The names of rashers or slices differ depending on where they are cut from:

  • Streaky bacon comes from the belly of a pig. It is very fatty with long veins of fat running parallel to the rind. This is the most common form of bacon in the United States. Pancetta is Italian streaky bacon, smoked or aqua (unsmoked), with a strong flavour. It is generally rolled up into cylinders after curing. In America unsmoked streaky bacon is often referred to as side pork.
  • Back bacon comes from the loin in the middle of the back of the pig. It is a lean meaty cut of bacon, with relatively less fat compared to other cuts and has a ham-like texture and flavour. Most bacon consumed in the United Kingdom is back bacon.[8] Also called Irish bacon or Canadian Bacon.
  • Middle bacon is much like back bacon but is cheaper and somewhat fattier, with a richer flavour.
  • Cottage bacon is thinly sliced lean pork meat from a shoulder cut that is typically oval shaped and meaty. It is cured and then sliced into round pieces for baking or frying.
  • Jowl bacon is cured and smoked cheeks of pork

Bacon joints include the following:

  • Collar bacon is taken from the back of a pig near the head.
  • Hock, from the hog ankle joint between the ham and the foot.
  • Gammon, from the hind leg, traditionally "Wiltshire cured".
  • Picnic bacon is from the picnic cut, which includes the shoulder beneath the blade.[9] It is fairly lean, but tougher than most pork cuts.

In the English-speaking worldEdit

Traditionally, the skin is left on the cut and is known as bacon rind, but rindless bacon is also common throughout the English-speaking world. The meat may be bought smoked or unsmoked.

Australia and New ZealandEdit

Generally as for the British Isles.

British IslesEdit

An individual slice of bacon is a rasher, or occasionally a collop. In this region, bacon comes in a wide variety of cuts and flavours:

  • The term bacon on its own suggests the more common back bacon, but can refer to any cut.
  • The term Canadian Bacon means bacon from Canada, though whether the pig was entirely reared, slaughtered, cured, sliced and packed in Canada is not normally made clear on packaging.
  • Slices from the pork belly are referred to as streaky bacon, streaky rashers or belly bacon.
  • Slices from the back of the pig are referred to as back bacon or back rashers. These usually include a streaky bit and a lean ovoid bit, and are part of the traditional full breakfast.


An individual slice of bacon is a slice or strip. In Canada:

  • The term bacon on its own refers generically to strip bacon from the belly meat of the pig, which is the most popular type of bacon sold in Canada.[citation needed]
  • The term back bacon is used interchangeably to describe either smoked or unsmoked back bacon.
  • The term peameal bacon is a variety of unsmoked back bacon which historically was brined and rolled in a meal made from ground yellow peas. Today, fine cornmeal is more commonly used as a coating. Canadians do not use the term "Canadian Bacon"[10]

United StatesEdit

A side of unsliced bacon was once known as a flitch[11] it is now known as a slab. An individual slice of bacon is a slice or strip.

  • The term bacon on its own refers generically to strip bacon from the belly meat of the pig, which is the most popular type of bacon sold in the U.S.[citation needed]
  • The term Canadian Bacon or Canadian-style bacon must be made from the loin, and means back bacon[10], but this term refers usually to the lean ovoid portion (m. longissimus, or loineye)[9]. It also can be made from the sirloin portion of the loin (Gluteal muscles), but must be labeled appropriately. Similar products made from the ham are used as less expensive substitutes.

Bacon maniaEdit

Main article: Bacon mania

The United States has seen an increase in popularity of bacon and bacon related recipes, dubbed "bacon mania". Dishes such as bacon explosion, chicken fried bacon, and chocolate covered bacon have been popularized over the internet[12], as has using candied bacon. Recipes spread quickly through the national media, culinary blogs, and YouTube.[13][14] Restaurants are organizing bacon and beer tasting nights,[15] The New York Times reported on bacon infused with Irish whiskey used for Saint Patrick's Day cocktails,[16] and celebrity chef Bobby Flay has endorsed a "Bacon of the Month" club online, in print,[17] and on national television.[18]

Commentators explain this surging interest in bacon by reference to what they deem American cultural characteristics. Sarah Hepola, in a 2008 article in, suggests a number of reasons, one of them that eating bacon in the modern, health-conscious world is an act of rebellion: "Loving bacon is like shoving a middle finger in the face of all that is healthy and holy while an unfiltered cigarette smolders between your lips."[19] She also suggests bacon is sexy (with a reference to Sarah Katherine Lewis' book Sex and Bacon), kitsch, and funny. Hepola concludes by saying that "Bacon is American":

Bacon is our national meat. The pig is not an elegant animal, but it is smart and resourceful and fated to wallow in mud. A scavenger. A real scrapper.

Alison Cook, writing in the Houston Chronicle (she calls bacon "democratic"), concurs, arguing the case of bacon's American citizenship by referring to historical and geographical uses of bacon.[13] Early American literature echoes the sentiment—in Ebenezer Cooke's 1708 poem The Sot-Weed Factor, a satire of life in early colonial America, the narrator already complains that practically all the food in America was bacon-infused:

While Pon [cornbread]) and Milk, with Mush [hasty pudding] well stoar'd
In wooden Dishes grac'd the board;
With Homine and Syder-pap [a porridge],
(Which scarce a hungry Dog would lap)
Well stuff'd with Fat, from Bacon fry'd,
Or with Molossus dulcify'd.

Ebenezer Cooke, The Sot-Weed Factor[20]

In East AsiaEdit

Korean barbecue-Samgyeopsal-07

Korean samgyeopsal

In Korea, one of the most popular cooked meats is grilled unsmoked pork belly called samgyeopsal (삼겹살), literally "three layered meat". Like most traditional meat dishes in Korea, it is grilled at the table, cut into small pieces with scissors when partly or wholly cooked, and eaten communally, often accompanied by mushrooms, garlic, and onion.[21]

In Japan, bacon (ベーコン) is pronounced "beikon". It is cured and smoked belly meat as in the U.S., but is usually shorter; one possible application is tempura.[22] There are also other kinds of "bacon" made from the shoulder and loin. The uncured belly slices, known as bara (バラ), are used in a variety of dishes.[citation needed]

Bacon dishesEdit

BLT sandwich (1)

BLT sandwich

Bacon dishes include bacon and eggs, BLT sandwiches, bacon wrapped foods (scallops, shrimp,[23][24][25] and asparagus), and cobb salad. Recent bacon dishes include chicken fried bacon, chocolate covered bacon, and the bacon explosion.

In the U.S. and Europe, bacon is often used as a condiment or topping on other foods. Streaky bacon is more commonly used as a topping in the U.S., on items such as pizza, salads, sandwiches, hamburgers, baked potatoes, hot dogs, and soups. A kind of sliced smoked ham Americans call Canadian bacon is used less frequently in the U.S., but can sometimes be found on pizza, salads, and omelets.

"Bacon" productsEdit

The popularity of bacon in the United States has given rise to a number of commercial products that promise to add bacon flavouring without the labor involved in cooking it or the perceived negative qualities of bacon. Some new products are evidence of the recent bacon fad, which also saw bacon bandaids, scarfs, and air fresheners.[13]

Bacon bitsEdit

File:Bacon Bits in a Bowl.jpg

Bacon bits are a frequently used "topping" that enhances the flavour of salad or potatoes and a common element of salad bars. Bacon bits are made of either small, crumbled pieces of cooked bacon or textured vegetable protein artificially flavoured to resemble bacon.[26] They are most often salted.

Popular brands include Hormel Bacon Toppings, Oscar Mayer Real Bacon Bits and Pieces, and Betty Crocker Bac-Os.

Bacon SaltEdit


Bacon Salt is a seasoning invented in 2007 by Justin Esch and Dave Lefkow[27] and marketed under the slogan "Everything Should Taste Like Bacon." It is fat free, low sodium, vegetarian, kosher, and contains "zero calories".[28]

Bacon Salt is produced in nine varieties so far; hickory flavour is the only one suitable for vegans.[29]

The product is a noted example of a Web-based product launch, marketing, and distribution, undertaken by individual inventors. Its inventors claim to rely on self-generated and customer-generated Web content, such as YouTube videos, for publicity.

For example, in 2008, Matt "Volkov" Schmidt, a writer for the Sarcastic Gamer website, jokingly accepted a Bacon Salt "sponsorship" for his previous praise of the product. In an e-mail to Schmidt, Lefkow offered to send free Bacon Salt.[30]

Today, Bacon Salt can be purchased at many major grocery stores throughout the United States, including Kroger, Meijer and Winn-Dixie.[27]


Baconnaise is a bacon flavored vegetarian mayonnaise spread[31] that comes in regular and light varieties.[32] It was invented in 2008 by Dave Lefkow and Justin Esch, the same entrepreneurs who invented Bacon Salt.

Product launch, marketing, and distribution, were much like that of Bacon Salt. For instance, in October 2008, the creators sponsored a no-holds barred wrestling match between a giant slice of bacon and a giant jar of mayonnaise that wrestle in a ring filled with 200 gallons of mayonnaise.[33]

Jon Stewart satirized baconnaise in his The Daily Show as an example of Americans' laziness: "for people who want heart disease but are too lazy to actually make the bacon."[34][35] Outside of the United States, baconnaise seems to characterize the US in the same way Stewart proposed, as suggested by the French blog Écrans.[36]

Bacon fatEdit


Bacon frying in its own grease

Bacon fat liquifies and becomes bacon drippings when it is cooked. Once cool, it firms into lard. Bacon fat is flavourful and is used for various cooking purposes. Traditionally, bacon grease is saved in British and southern U.S. cuisine and used as a base for cooking and as an all-purpose flavouring, for everything from gravy to cornbread[37] to salad dressing.[38]

Bacon, or bacon fat, is often used for barding and larding roast fowl and game birds, especially those that have little fat themselves. The bacon itself may afterwards be discarded or served to eat, like crackling.

One teaspoon (Template:Convert/g) of bacon grease has Template:Convert/Cal.[39] It is composed almost completely of fat, with very little additional nutritional value. Bacon fat is roughly 40% saturated.[39] Despite the health consequences of excessive bacon grease consumption, it remains popular in the cuisine of the American South.


Bacon (four 0.5 oz. thin slices) contains 7.45 g of fat (about half is monounsaturated, 1/3 is saturated and 1/6 is polyunsaturated) and 7.72 g of protein.[40] The fat and protein content varies depending on the cut and cooking method.

Health concernsEdit

A 2007 study by Columbia University suggests a link between eating cured meats (such as bacon) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The preservative sodium nitrite is the probable cause,[41][42] and bacon made without added nitrites is available.

Bacon sandwich as treatment for hangoversEdit

A study by Newcastle University found that foods high in protein—such as bacon— break down into amino acids. The combination of fat and amino acids can speed up a sluggish metabolism depleted of neurotransmitters due to overconsumption of alcohol, suggesting that a bacon sandwich can help the body lessen the effects of a hangover. [43]

See alsoEdit


  1. "Eat cheap but well! Make a tasty beef in beer". Today (MSNBC). April 30, 2009. Retrieved on May 13, 2009. 
  2. "Health and You". New Straits Times. May 12, 2009. Retrieved on May 13, 2009. 
  3. Template:Cite encyclopedia
  4. "USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service: Glossary B". Food Safety and Inspection Service. Retrieved on 2009-05-05. 
  5. Hui, Yiu H.; Bruinsma, L. Bernard; Gorham, J. Richard (2002). Food Plant Sanitation. CRC Press. p. 605. ISBN 978-0824707934. Retrieved on 2009-05-05. 
  6. Randolph, Mary; Karen Hess (1984). The Virginia house-wife. University of South Carolina Press. pp. 18–19. ISBN 978-0872494237. 
  7. Sarah F. McMahon, "Gender, Dietary Decisions, and Food Technology," in McGaw, Judith A. (1994). Early American technology: making and doing things from the colonial era to 1850. University of North Carolina Press. pp. 164–96. ISBN 9780807844847.  Esp. pp. 186-89.
  8. [citation needed]
  9. 9.0 9.1 Cattleman's Beef Board & National Cattlemen's Beef Association. Uniform Retail Meat Identity Standards. Retrieved 2007-07-09.
  10. 10.0 10.1 Weinzweig, Ari (2008-07-24). "Canadian Peameal Bacon". Zingerman's Roadhouse. Retrieved on 2009-03-15. 
  11. [citation needed]
  12. [citation needed]
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 Cook, Alison (2009-03-05). "It's a 'we love bacon' world: We're just lucky to be living--and dining--in it". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved on 2009-03-15. 
  14. "Candied Bacon Martini". Los Angeles Times.,0,7141243.story. Retrieved on 2009-05-06. 
  15. "Bacon and Beer Tasting at Jimmy’s No. 43". New York Barfly. 2008-11-04. Retrieved on 2009-03-15. 
  16. Miles, Johnathan (2009-03-13). "Wear the Green but Don’t Drink It". New York Times. Retrieved on 2009-03-15. 
  17. "Bacon of the Month Club". The Grateful Palate. Retrieved on 2009-03-15. 
  18. [ "Food Gifts That Keep On Giving: From Utensils To Treats, Bobby Flay Likes To Give (Or Receive) These Presents"]. CBS News. 13 December 2007. Retrieved on 2009-05-06. 
  19. Hepola, Sarah (2008-07-07). "Bacon mania: Why are Americans so batty for bacon? It's delicious, it's decadent -- and it's also a fashion statement.". Retrieved on 2009-03-15. 
  20. Online edition of the poem, at Kay, Arthur (1998). "Ebenezer Cooke: The Sot-Weed Factor". Renascence editions. Retrieved on 2009-03-15. 
  21. "How to eat Samgyupsal". Migi's Kitchen. 2008-02-27. Retrieved on 2009-03-15. 
  22. Recipe from James Villas, The Bacon Cookbook. "Japanese Bacon Tempura". Chow. 2007. Retrieved on 2009-03-15. 
  23. Siegel, Helene (1997). Totally Shrimp Cookbook. Celestial Arts. p. 11. ISBN 9780890878231. 
  24. Wise, Jane E. (2005). The Culinary Guide for MSPI. Milk Soy Protein Intolerance. p. 7. ISBN 9780976402305. 
  25. Daley, Bill (2001-03-11). "Chengdu Cuisine of China". Hartford Courant. p. 10.*+*+*&pqatl=google. Retrieved on 2009-02-10. 
  26. "Textured Vegetable Protein". Diversified Foods Inc. Retrieved on 2009-03-15. 
  27. 27.0 27.1 ABC News: 'Bacontrepreneurs' Building Bacon Empire
  28. "Nutrition Information (Bacon Salt)". Retrieved on 2009-10-04. 
  29. "Nutrition Information (Hickory Bacon Salt - vegan)". 2008-09-08. Retrieved on 2009-10-04. 
  30. Schmidt, Matt "Volkov" (2008-03-19). "Does this mean I'm cooler than Lono?". Retrieved on 2009-03-15. 
  31. Robinson, Tasha (2008-12-09). "Taste Test: Baconnaise". A.V. Club.,2557/. Retrieved on 2009-03-15. 
  32. "J & D's - Everything Should Taste Like Bacon". J & D's. Retrieved on 2009-03-15. 
  33. Lee, Robyn (2008-10-28). "Baconnaise, for the Ultimate Bacon-Flavored Spread". Serious Eats. Retrieved on 2009-03-15. 
  34. Template:Cite episode
  35. "Baconnaise on The Daily Show". Seattlest. 2009-02-26. Retrieved on 2009-03-04. 
  36. Girardeau, Astrid (2009-02-11). "Le site du jour: C’est pour ça que tu es gros" (in French). Écrans.,6377.html. Retrieved on 2009-03-04. 
  37. Rombauer, Irma; Rombauer Becker, Marion (1964), "Pan Gravy", The Joy of Cooking, Bobbs-Merrill Company, p. 322, ISBN 978-0026045704 
  38. Brown, Alton, Bacon Vinaigrette with Grilled Radicchio,,1977,FOOD_9936_17619,00.html, retrieved on 2008-01-13 
  39. 39.0 39.1 [citation needed]
  40. USDA, Agricultural Research Service, Nutrient Data Laboratory. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference. Retrieved 2007-07-12.
  41. "Too much bacon 'bad for lungs'". BBC. 2007-04-17. Retrieved on 2009-03-15. 
  42. "Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease". New York Times. 2008-09-24. Retrieved on 2009-03-15. 
  43. [citation needed]

External linksEdit

Template:Fatsandoilsar:باكون be:Бекон be-x-old:Бекон ca:Cansalada da:Flæsk de:Speck es:Panceta fr:Lard ko:베이컨 he:קותל חזיר nl:Spek ja:ベーコン no:Bacon pl:Boczek pt:Toucinho ru:Бекон simple:Bacon fi:Pekoni sv:Bacon tr:Pastırma uk:Бекон yi:שפעק zh:煙肉

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