The Major Debates of Bacon

By Jadyn Miller

For centuries there has been a rift among people. The center of all of it? Bacon.

There are many things that people cannot agree upon when it comes to the topic of bacon, some even going as far as saying that certain types aren’t even bacon.

Some of the biggest questions when it comes to this are

  • Is Canadian bacon really bacon?
  • What is the difference between Canadian bacon and ham?
  • What is the difference between pork belly and bacon?
  • Should I bake or fry bacon?
  • What is the difference between cured and uncured bacon at the store?
  • Can I deep fry bacon?

The first thing that must be answered, to better understand the answers to the rest of the questions, is “what makes bacon, bacon?” According to Merriam Webster dictionary, bacon is “meat from the side of a pig that is cured and smoked.”

This brings us to the question fo whether Canadian bacon is really bacon. Canadian bacon is cured meat from the loin of the pig, which is on the side of the back. This means that, yes, Canadian bacon is indeed bacon.

Now that that is decided, it raises the question of what the difference is between Canadian bacon and ham. While Canadian bacon comes from the loin, ham is taken from lower, around to the top of the leg. One big difference is how it is prepared. While bacon is cured, ham is usually only smoked.

This curing is also what sets bacon apart from pork belly. Bacon is actually a type of pork belly, but unlike any other, it is cured.

This brings to question the labeling that can be found on bacon sold in grocery stores. What is the difference between cured and uncured bacon?

It is quite misleading in its labeling because all bacon is cured. This is part of what makes bacon bacon. What they mean when they say uncured is actually that it is cured using the traditional method, which uses salt.

Cured bacon uses chemicals that imitate salt, while carrying out the same process with more efficiency. The chemicals most commonly used for this are sodium nitrate, and sodium nitrite. The meat is soaked in a brine, before being injected with either of these, which helps to retain moisture and keep the meat from spoiling.

There have been debates about which one is healthier, but in the end, it comes down to personal preference.

There have also been debates on the best way to cook bacon. Many prefer the traditional method of gooking it in a pan, which has the advantage of giving you bacon flavored grease to cook something else in.

Another method that is coming into popularity, though is baking it. Thsi is said to leave less mess, along with making evenly crispy bacon. It has also been said, though, that the bacon tastes greasier this way.

Some also prefer to microwave their bacon, which is  fast, easy, and not as likely to end with a tasty result.

There are also some who take the crazy route and just deep fry it. While it is bound to taste delicious, it is also said to shorten the life span of the oil.

In the end, it comes down to personal opinion, and what you want from your bacon.