Bacon has been proven time and again to make everythingsandwiches, salads, doughnuts, even butter crackersbetter. And the rise of passionate bacon lovers, there has been a corresponding increase in consumers’ access to many different types of bacon at supermarkets, butcher shops, and specialty stores. But if you’ve ever wondered what the difference is between slab bacon and back bacon, or between pancetta and guanciale, you’re not alone.
I called Joseph Cordray, an extension meat specialist in the Department of Animal Science at Iowa State University, to talk about how this most popular of foodstuffs gets to market, what shelf-stable bacon is about, and how to store bacon at home (if for some bizarre reason you dont just eat it all up).
What is bacon?
Bacon is cured and smoked pork belly cut crosswise into strips. If it comes from anywhere on the pig other than the belly (shoutout to the late Sizzlean), the label has to specify where.
Canadian bacon is cut from the loin, above the belly, so its leaner.