Did you think that there were just one or two types of bacon? The kind that goes into a BLT and the kind that starts with the word Canadian? Oh boy you are wrong. Let’s beast out virtual gourmand-style, on a wonderful diversification of bacon meats.
This is basically fakin’ it, but still tasty for those who like turkey. It’s made from smoked, chopped, and reformed turkey meat (usually from the thigh), and is often marketed as a healthier version of real pork bacon.
This is also known as pork or hog jowl and is made from cured, smoked pork cheeks. It is not technically bacon, but due to its preparation and the streaky, fatty nature of the meat, it is so similar in flavor and look that it’d be a crime not to mention it.
This type of bacon is made from the pig’s back and is cut into circles instead of strips that look a great deal like ham. Canadian bacon tastes great when used on Eggs Benedict or pizza, but don’t you dare use it in place of pork bacon for a BLT or a bacon cheeseburger. Seriously, don’t do it…someone will get stabbed with a French fry.
Speck is a juniper-flavored ham that is salt-cured and smoked, and similar to Italian prosciutto.
Pancetta is a type of Italian bacon that is salt-cured and seasoned with robust spices such as fennel, peppercorn and garlic, and then dried for three-plus months.
Beef WHAT? Yep, beef bacon. It exists. This hard-to-find bacon is only beginning to show up in grocery stores. Its texture is meatier than regular bacon, contains less fat and is not cured. Great for putting on a ground pork burger and confusing your palate.
Irish bacon is prepared from center-cut boneless pork loin. It comes from the back of the pig and is brined, cured, boiled or smoked. Like Canadian bacon, it’s quite lean, and it is typically served with a full Irish or English breakfast of eggs, sausage, black pudding, baked beans, hash browns and tomato.
Although it isn’t technically bacon, pork belly is the perfect meat for bacon lover’s to expand their horizon. Bacon is most often made from pork belly, which is a ludicrously fatty cut of meat from the pig’s belly. It is popular in Asian cuisine, gaining popularity in American cuisine and best consumed when it is cooked to be simultaneously fatty and crispy.
The king of all bacon is also known as side bacon or streaky bacon and it comes from the pork belly. It’s fatty and it can be used in almost a million different ways due to its hideously pleasurable flavor and texture and the ability to use its rendered fat to flavor a variety of other foods. Long live bacon.
(Previously published on August 6, 2013.)