bacon rind

Bacon

[bey-kuhn]

Bacon is a cut of meat taken from the sides, belly, or back of a pig that has been cured, smoked, or both. Meat from other animals, such as beef, lamb, chicken, whale, goat or turkey, may also be cut, cured, or otherwise prepared to resemble bacon. Bacon may be eaten fried, baked, or grilled, or used as a minor ingredient to flavor dishes. The word is derived from the Old High German bacho, meaning "back", "ham", or "bacon".

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"). "USDA Certified" bacon means that it has been treated for trichinella.

In continental Europe, bacon is used primarily in cubes (lardons) as a cooking ingredient, valued both as a source of fat and for its flavour. In Italy, bacon is called pancetta and usually cooked in small cubes or served uncooked and thinly sliced as part of an antipasto. Bacon is also used for barding and larding roasts, especially game birds. Many people prefer to have bacon smoked using various types of woods or turf. This process can take up to ten hours depending on the intensity of the flavour desired.

In the English-speaking world

A side of unsliced bacon is a flitch, while an individual slice of bacon is a rasher (United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, Australia and New Zealand) or simply a slice or strip (North America). Slices of bacon are also known as collops. Traditionally, the skin is left on the cut and is known as bacon rind, but rindless bacon is also common. In the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland, bacon comes in a wide variety of cuts and flavours. In the United States, ordinary bacon is made only from the pork belly, yielding what is known in Britain as "streaky bacon", or "streaky rashers". In Britain, bacon made from the meat on the back of the pig is referred to as back bacon or back rashers. It usually includes a streaky bit and a lean ovoid bit, and is part of traditional full breakfast commonly eaten in Britain and Ireland. In the United States, back bacon is called Canadian-style bacon or Canadian bacon, but this term refers usually to the lean ovoid portion. In Canada, it is called peameal bacon, whereas bacon is used generally to refer to strip bacon, which is more common to the Canadian diet.

In Asia

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. Koreans prize samgyeopsal meat with a high fat content, and pay a premium for meat that is especially fatty.

Bacon used as a topping

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. Back bacon is used less frequently in the United States, but can sometimes be found on pizza, salads and omelets. Bacon bits are chopped pieces of pre-cooked bacon intended to be sprinkled over foods, particularly salads. Imitation "bacon bits" made of texturized vegetable protein flavoured to resemble authentic bacon bits are also available.

Health concerns

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.

Nutrients

Select nutritional data from types of bacon in the USDA National Nutrient Database:
Streaky bacon,
raw
Streaky bacon,
cooked
Canadian style
bacon, cooked
Hormel Canadian
Style Bacon
Amount 1 slice     1 slice     2 slices     1 serving    
Total Weight (g) 29     8     47     56    
  Water (g) 3.57 (12%)     0.99 (12%)     29 (62%)     40.85 (73%)    
Calories 157     43     87     68    
Total Fat (g) 12.12     3.34     3.97     9.45    
  Saturated Fat (g) 3.984     1.099     1.335     1.025    
Cholesterol (mg) 32     9     27     27    
Sodium (mg) 670     185     727     569    
Protein (g) 10.74     2.96     11.39     9.45    

Grease

Bacon grease, also known as bacon drippings, is the grease created by cooking bacon. When bacon is cooked, its fat naturally melts, releasing a highly flavorful grease. Bacon grease is traditionally saved in southern U.S. cuisine and used as an all-purpose flavoring for everything from gravy to cornbread to salad dressing.

One teaspoon of bacon grease has . It is composed almost completely of fat, with very little additional nutritional value. Bacon fat is roughly 40% saturated. Despite the health consequences of excessive bacon grease consumption, it remains popular in the cuisine of the American South.

See also

References

External links

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