As American foods get more popular, people who come from different cultures (like my Muslim friends) wonder if bacon is pork or beef.
Traditionally, bacon is made from pork and not beef.
Bacon is mostly made from the belly, back, or sides of a pig. However, some types of bacon are made from other animal meat and are defined by the specific cut or animal used.
Americans love meat. And bacon is a favorite. To the extent that the most popular meals you find in American fast food restaurants offer a bacon version.
If you’re interested in learning more about bacon, this article discusses bacon in detail – how it is made, what goes into it, the various types of bacon, and the difference between regular bacon and other types of bacon.
Let’s get started.
What is pork?
Pork is the meat of a pig. It is one of the most consumed kinds of meat, especially in the Asian region and North America.
Pork is particularly popular because of its fat content, its appealing smell, and its taste.
What is beef?
Beef is the meat of a cow (or domestic bovine). It is also another popular type of meat eaten globally, and this is mainly because of its versatility.
What is bacon?
Bacon is simply pork meat gotten from either the belly, back, or sides of a pig that has been cured. It is a popular choice in most American homes because it is delicious, easy to cook, and pairs easily with various dishes.
In the United state, most bacon is made from the belly of the pig. Whereas in the United Kingdom, bacon is made from the back of a pig and is often called Canadian bacon, Irish bacon, or rasher.
Bacon can be eaten raw or can be cooked further into soups. It can also be incorporated into dishes such as; hamburgers, eggs, sandwiches, salads, and even maple bacon ice cream.
What does bacon taste like?
The taste of bacon is best described as salty, fatty, sweet, and sometimes smoky.
Although, its taste varies depending on the breed of pig used, what it feeds, the curing process used, and how it is prepared.
Is bacon made of pork or beef?
The variety of bacon in the United States is made of pork, not beef. That being said, you should note that there are other types of bacon that feature other animal meat but are categorized by the cut or the animal used.
For example, if beef is used in making bacon, it is termed beef bacon. On the other hand, if a turkey is used for the bacon, then it is termed turkey bacon.
How is bacon made?
So, how and what exactly goes into making bacon? Well, bacon can be made in two ways, the first by dry curing and the other by wet curing.
For dry curing
Firstly, the raw pork or bacon is rubbed with salt and other seasonings that impact the flavor. Next, the meat is cured for a period of about one or two weeks, in some cases, sugar is added before it is cured.
Afterward, the bacon or meat is rinsed and allowed to dry off before it is moved to the smoker. This is done at low heat in order to preserve it while also enhancing the flavor used without cooking it.
There are various types of wood chips used in the smoker, and each has a different flavor to impact. These wood chips include; hickory, cherry, applewood, etc.
However, there are brands of bacon that are not smoked. Instead, they are hung to dry for weeks or even months as a means to reduce cost.
For wet curing
The majority of bacon in the United States is wet cured, and this is because it is less time-consuming than dry curing. The ingredients used for wet curing include salt, water, sodium nitrate, and other seasoning mixed in the brine.
The bacon could either be soaked in the brine or the brine could be injected into the bacon. The soaking is known as immersion, and the injection is known as the injection method.
After it is wet cured, it is also smoked for enhanced flavor and preservation, just like the dry cured bacon. But wet cured bacon is often preferred because it contains more moisture.
What are the various types of bacon?
Now, I guess you are wondering what differentiates the various varieties of bacon you see at the grocery store. Aside from being wet cured or dry cured, there are still different varieties of bacon.
Below are some of the different types of bacon you may find in grocery stores;
1. Slab bacon
While we all know that bacon is mostly sliced thin, slab bacon comes in a thicker cut. People tend to go for this brand if they require larger cuts of bacon for their dish.
2. Double smoked bacon
Imagine the rich taste or flavor you get from regular bacon, now think of it doubled. Double-smoked bacon is typically smoked twice in other to boost its flavor and make it last longer.
3. Uncured bacon
Uncured bacon doesn’t mean it is not cured but rather follows a different process. It is cured using natural nitrates rather than synthetically-sourced nitrites.
4. Canadian bacon
Canadian bacon is mostly consumed because it contains less fat than regular bacon. It is likened to ham because it looks more like ham slices than bacon; however, it is made from a pork loin or back.
5. Turkey bacon
Turkey bacon is made of turkey, and it is a ploy to make bacon that is less fatty. Mostly lean cuts like the turkey breast are used, making it one of the healthiest varieties of bacon you can find.
6. Beef bacon
Beef bacon is bacon made from the meat of a cow, particularly the navel or the belly of the cow. This is because it has a large amount of fat which is basically needed for making bacon tasty.
How can you differentiate between pork bacon and beef bacon?
There are a few ways to differentiate between beef bacon and pork bacon. They include;
In terms of cost, regular bacon is considered more affordable than beef bacon. This is because beef bacon is a leaner version and contains more nutrients than regular bacon.
Also, beef is generally more expensive than pork. It is only fair that it reflects on the price of the bacon as well.
Taste is another way of differentiating between these two varieties. While regular bacon has a sweet and smoky taste, beef bacon has a stronger taste that is likened to that of beef jerky.
Is regular bacon healthier than beef bacon?
No, it is not. Beef bacon is a healthier option than regular bacon because it contains less fat, calories, and sodium.
Are all bacon pork?
No, they are not. There is a variety of bacon that is made of beef or turkey. However, pork is the traditional meat used for bacon.
How many calories are in a slice of bacon?
According to the US Department of Agriculture, a slice of bacon contain 38.7 calories.
Is bacon healthy?
If taken in moderate proportion, bacon is a healthy dish to incorporate into your diet.
Why do you feel sick after eating bacon?
It may be because you are allergic or your bacon is overcooked. The Center for Disease Control state that any individual may experience bacon allergies at any stage.
Conclusion: Bacon is pork or beef
Most bacon in the United States is made of pork belly, sides, or back. However, there are brands of bacon made of beef or turkey, but they are denoted by their specific names.
Bacon made with beef is called beef bacon, while bacon made with turkey is called turkey bacon. You can see the ways to differentiate them in this article.
I hope you enjoyed this article, if you did, you should also see how many calories are in a pound of bacon.
Thanks for reading.