Bacon: Main Image

Buying Tips

American bacon shrinks considerably when cooked, as the heat releases much of its high fat content. When purchasing, be aware that a pound of bacon will shrink to about 4 ounces (112g).


American Bacon

American bacon, also called side bacon or, in Britain, streaky bacon, is the bacon most commonly sold sliced and packaged in the supermarket. Bacon is the cured and smoked meat and fat from the belly of the pig. To make bacon, processors inject brine into the pork, then either smoke it or inject smoke flavoring. For sliced bacon, the rind is trimmed from slab bacon and the meat is sliced into 36 pieces per pound for thin-sliced styles, 16 to 20 for regular, and 12 to 16 for thick-sliced. Slab bacon is pork that is still attached to the rind. Side bacon (without the rind) also comes precooked and canned. To achieve the desired crispness when cooked, bacon must have a fat content of one half to two-thirds of its uncooked weight.

Canadian Bacon

Canadian Bacon (called back bacon in Canada) is the cured, smoked, cooked eye of pork loin. It resembles ham more closely than bacon and is much less fatty than American bacon. Canadian bacon comes either in individual slices, or in a cylinder-shaped chunk.


Pancetta is Italian bacon, made from pork that is cured but not smoked. It has a subtler flavor than American sliced bacon and makes a tasty accent in green salads.

Salt Pork

Salt pork is salt-cured but not smoked meat from the belly of a pig. It’s a favorite component in Southern cooking, especially with beans and collard greens.

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