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What is bacon


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Cooked Bacon Rashers

© 2013 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to About.com, Inc.
Question: What is bacon
What is bacon and where does it come from?
Answer: Bacon comes from the side of the pig. The meat is cured and usually smoked before you cook it at home. It's the fat in the bacon that provides most of the flavor and allows it to cook up crispy, yet tender. Do not turn up your nose at that fat. A hefty ratio of fat to meat is essential to good bacon, usually one-half to two-thirds fat to meat. Since bacon must be cooked before being consumed, much of the fat is rendered out and can be poured off if need be.

Most bacon is purchased pre-sliced in thin slices, 1/32nd of an inch thick and about 35 strips to the pound. Thin-sliced is also referred to as hotel or restaurant bacon. Regular slice is 1/16th of an inch thick and has 16 to 20 slices per pound. Thick-sliced bacon, generally twice as thick as regular bacon, contains 12 to 16 slices per pound on the average, depending on the supplier. You can also purchase bacon in a block (called slab bacon or flitch in Pennsylvania when unsmoked) and cut it into the thickness that best suits you.

Outside the United States, one slice of bacon is often referred to as a rasher.

The flavor of regular bacon can vary widely depending on the breed of the pig, its feed, how it is cut, processing and curing methods. Let your taste buds be the judge and stick with what you like. In addition to basic no-frills bacon, you'll also find it available in a variety of flavors, including apple, maple, and mesquite. Low-fat and low-sodium versions are options for those on restricted diets.

Fully-cooked bacon slices are also now available in most markets for those with cooking time constraints. Canned bacon is a favorite with many as it is pre-cooked and shelf-stable until opened, but it is difficult to find these days. Bacon bits are pre-cooked pieces of bacon which are then dried. Bacon bits must be refrigerated. Do not confuse imitiation bacon bits (such as Bac-O's®) with the real thing. Imitation bacon bits are made of flavored vegetable protein.

More about Bacon:

How to Cook Bacon
What is bacon? FAQ
Bacon History
Bacon Cousins and Substitutes
Bacon Selection and Storage
Bacon Equivalents and Substitutions
Bacon and Health
Bacon Recipes
Cooked Bacon Rashers Photo © 2013 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to About.com, Inc.
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