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27 Different Types of Bacon

Photo collage of bacon

Quicklist: Types of Bacon

  1. Gypsy Bacon — Szalonna
  2. Duck Bacon
  3. Canadian Bacon
  4. Coconut Bacon
  5. Pancetta
  6. Samgyeopsal
  7. Chicken Fried Bacon
  8. Elk Bacon
  9. Lap Yuk
  10. Lardon
  11. Salo
  12. Turkey Bacon
  13. Jowl Bacon
  14. German Bacon
  15. Jalapeno Bacon
  16. British Bacon/ Rashers
  17. Collar Bacon
  18. Cottage Bacon
  19. Guanciale
  20. Peameal bacon
  21. Petit Sale Bacon
  22. Prosciutto
  23. Salt Pork
  24. Slab Bacon
  25. Tocino
  26. Streaky Bacon
  27. Uncured Bacon

Bacon is a type of salt-cured pork that is seldom out of favor. From breakfast favorite to fast-food essential, bacon is something everybody wants on their plate.

Food historians have traced bacon back to at least 1500 BCE. Chinese cultures cured pork bellies with salt, much like the process used to cure bacon today. In ancient Rome, petaso was made by boiling salted pork shoulder with figs and then seasoning with a wine and pepper sauce. 

Related: Canadian Bacon vs. Ham | Bacon Cheesy Potatoes Recipe | Ham Substitute Options | Types of Ham | What Goes with Chili | What Goes with Potatoes

How Is Bacon Made?

Cutting bacon

The bacon-making process varies in different regions around the world. The most common methods involve brine, or hot or cold smoke, that is used to add a smoky flavor to the meat. Once the bacon has been sliced according to your preferences, it can be cooked on a grill, in a bacon press, baked or fried.

What Is The Thickness Of Bacon Slices?

  • Thick slices: The thick slices of bacon are usually 1/8-inch thick. This bacon thickness is ideal for different kinds of pasta and sandwiches. It does not have the same kind of crispiness as compared to thinner slices.
  • Regular slices: The regular slices are usually 1/16-inch thick. This is the type of bacon that is usually available at grocery stores.
  • Restaurant slices: This is the thinnest bacon slice that is available. The 1/32-inch slices are commonly found on menus in restaurants, hotels and diners.

Curing Process of Bacon

Slab of cured bacon

Curing is a cooking process used to preserve foods while adding flavor to it. Food can be cured by smoke or by adding salt. The most popular way of curing food is with salt, sugar (especially brown sugar), and other flavor enhancers.

Cured vs. Uncured

Bacon uncured

Cured bacon is usually preserved with sodium nitrite and salt. The two ways to cure bacon are by pumping or dry-curing with the concentration of nitrites controlled. When pump-curing bacon, the nitrites should not go over 120 parts per million (ppm), and when dry-curing bacon, they should not go over 200 ppm.

Uncured bacon does not contain chemical nitrites but it is still cured, usually with celery (which has natural nitrates), and other flavorings such as parsley, beet extract and sea salt. 

Types of Bacon

Canadian Bacon

Slices of Canadian bacon

Canadian bacon is also known as back bacon. Authentic Canadian bacon is identified with its thick slices, perfect cure, and the way it has been cooked. Because it has a lean cut and unique appearance, it is often confused and compared with ham.

The name Canadian bacon is only used in the United States — in Canada, it is just called back bacon. Canada is famous for another type of bacon as well called Peameal bacon. This southern Ontario bacon is made with boneless pork loins and coated in cornmeal.

Gypsy Bacon — Szalonna

Cooked gypsy bacon

“Hungarians eat szalonna in all kinds of shapes, styles, and situations, but most of it will end up being used in soups, stews, or other traditional dishes,” according to Taste Hungary.

This is an old school form of bacon available in Hungarian (as “szalonna”) and German (as “zigeunerspeck”) food stores. Szalonna, a Hungarian staple, is precooked with garlic and paprika spices, before smoking. What sets gypsy bacon apart is that it is cured but still has rind.

Duck Bacon

Duck bacon is a niche item that can be made in many ways. Most commonly, thick slices are cut from the breast. This type is not as fatty as pork bacon.

Coconut Bacon

Coconut bacon topping

This vegan bacon alternative is made with coconut flakes, spices and salt. Usually coconut bacon contains maple syrup and soy sauce and with the right proportions of flavorings has a similar consistency and flavor as real bacon.

Pancetta

Round pancetta

Pancetta has two main types: arrotolata (rolled) and stesa (flat). Thin Arrotolata slices are eaten as part of antipasti or as a sandwich ingredient. Stesa is cut in thick strips and grilled. 

Samgyeopsal

Samgyeopsal cooked

This pork belly cut originates in Korea. Samgyeopsal means “three layers of flesh,” and refers to the layers of meat and fat.

Unlike other types of bacon, Samgyeopsal is not marinated or seasoned. The pork cut is similar to Canadian bacon — under the loin from the fifth rib back to the hind limb.

Chicken Fried Bacon

Fresh chicken fried bacon

Chicken fried bacon is a southern roadhouse specialty featuring strips of bacon dunked in batter and deep-fried. Frank Sodolak, of Sodolak’s Original Country Inn in Snook, Texas, claims he invented the dish in the 1990s, but others say it was already a thing in Louisiana and Texas before Frank got started.

Elk Bacon

Another alternative for the non-pork eaters would be elk or venison bacon. The meat from these animals has the amount of fat needed to add a smoky flavor, making it the perfect option for bacon. 

Lap Yuk

Lap yuk, Chinese bacon, is cut from different parts of pork belly and cured with soy sauce and other seasonings. The “five flower meat” features layers of meat and fat from the center of the pork belly.

Lardons

Lardo bacon on chopping board near a jar of salt and herbs.

Originating in France, lardons is another type of fatty bacon that is served in either a cube form or in small strips. Sometimes, it is also referred to as pork fat. Lardon is the type of bacon that can be used for many different kinds of foods, including salad. 

Lardon can be prepared from different cuts, including pork belly and fatback. Authentic lardon cannot be smoked; it must be cured with salt.

It is normally cured with herbs and spices, making it very tasty. What’s better is that you can enjoy lardo bacon with just about anything from warm beans to flatbreads and pizza.

Salo

Photo of cut salo

Every Slavic culture has their own name for this type of bacon — cured slabs of meat, usually fatback, with or without skin. Similar to lardon, there is little or no lean meat. 

Turkey Bacon

Fried turkey bacon

Turkey bacon is a non-pork option and it is often considered a healthy alternative to traditional bacon. Turkey bacon undergoes a process in which the turkey is first seasoned then chopped in a way where it can resemble the appearance of bacon strips. 

Jowl Bacon

Slab of jowl bacon

“Dishes of the American South utilize pork jowls to flavor beans, collard greens, and more. One common practice is serving black-eyed peas and collard greens stewed with pork jowl on New Years Eve, as the jowls’ high fat content and decadent flavor signify wealth and prosperity for the year to come,” says Chef Epic.

Pork jowl bacon plays a roll in the cuisine of many cultures. A cut from the cheeks of a pig, the meat is smoked and cured. In Italy, guanciale is a non-smoked, dry-cured version. 

German Bacon

Frühstücksspeck, which means “breakfast fat,” refers to smoked, cured slices of pork. Apart from this, there are a few other types of bacon that are also popular in Germany. Bavarians love Wammerl, which is grilled pork belly, while Griebien, bacon cut in small cubes, is popular in southern Germany.

Jalapeno Bacon

Bacon wrapped around jalapenos

What could be better than jalapeno peppers wrapped in bacon? How about bacon infused with jalapenos? There are some brands that are releasing their own versions of jalapeno bacon that can be purchased in stores. 

British Bacon/ Rashers

Just by hearing the name, you can tell that British bacon is from England. If you ask most people, British bacon looks like a combination of American and Canadian bacon. The distinguishing factor is where the cut comes from.

British bacon comes from the loin but has some fat on it. Besides, it includes the part where the loin attaches to the belly. The loin section is what is referred to as the rasher. This type of bacon is smoked and cured, which goes a long way in enhancing the flavor.

Collar Bacon

A Collar Bacon on pan with cilantro leaves.

Not so many people have had the chance to taste collar bacon because it’s rather rare. But if you have had the chance to try it, you know how soft and tasty it is. This type of bacon is made from meat cut on the back region, right below the neck of the pork.

That explains why it gets so tender. You will notice that collar bacon differs in complexion from other types of bacon since the collar region tends to be slightly darker than other parts. Notably, collar bacon is known to go well with pasta dishes and sandwiches, although more meal suggestions keep coming up.

Cottage Bacon

In some places, cottage bacon is referred to as buckboard bacon. This type of bacon comes from the shoulder region of the pork. Therefore, it’s lean, making it a bit healthier than other common types. But that depends on how you prepare it.

When it comes to flavor, what you get depends on the curing method the cottage bacon went through. For instance, some manufacturers try to make cottage bacon taste like ham, while others go big on spices. You will notice that cottage bacon varies in shape—it can be anywhere between a rectangle to a circle.

Guanciale

A sliced Guanciale bacon on cutting board.

Did you know that bacon can come from any part of the pork as long as it has a high-fat content? That includes the cheek. Case in point: guanciale. This Italian bacon comes from the cheek.

It is made by rubbing the pork cheek in salt and spices and cured for a week. It is further dry-cured for at least six weeks. The outcome is very soft. And since it’s cured, you don’t have to cook it. You can enjoy some cold guanciale over greens.

Peameal bacon

A cook slicing Peameal bacon on cutting board.

Besides Canadian bacon, this northern country is known for another type of bacon: peameal bacon. This type of bacon comes from pork loin, so it’s lean.

Besides being trimmed of fat, peameal bacon is wet-cured and rolled in golden cornmeal. When buying it, you can choose between slices and links that are neither smoked nor pre-cooked.

If you dug deeper into the history of peameal bacon, you would hear the name, William Davies. This man owned a pork production company in Toronto, and in the quest to expand his empire, he created peameal bacon.

It got its name from how it used to be prepared—it would be prepared using ground yellow peas because there was an acute cornmeal shortage before and during the First World War.

Petit Sale Bacon

Petit sale bacon is a basic French dry cure salt pork, usually immersed in brine for up to two days. Although the history of petit sale is rather unclear, it was popular among military personnel in the 17th century.

Today, it is used as a seasoning in soups and stews. Notably, salt pork mostly comes from the pork belly. But in other cases, it is extracted from the fatback. It is known to last long – it can go up to five months in a fridge or freezer.

Prosciutto

A thin sliced Prosciutto bacon on cutting board.

Prosciutto is an Italian word that can be loosely translated to ham. Just by the name, you can tell that this cured meat has roots in Italy. There are two types of prosciutto—both made only from the pig’s hind legs.

The first type is known as crudo, which was introduced during pre-Roman times. The villagers were aging pork legs so they could have winter reserves. The other type is known as cutto. Although it’s not as popular as crudo, it came over 2,000 years ago.

Salt Pork

Salt pork is a common sight in South and New England, especially with dishes like baked beans. This type of bacon refers to heavily salted slabs of pork belly or pork sides. Back in the day, people would add a lot of salt to preserve the pork.

They had to run it through a few batches of water later to make it palatable. Since we have refrigerators today, salt pork is not as heavily salted.

Slab Bacon

A sliced Slab Bacon on wooden table.

Slab bacon is smoked pork belly before it is sliced into strips. Basically, it’s bacon in its natural form. The good thing with slab bacon is that you have the liberty to cut it into your desired thickness, depending on the recipe.

It is cured with spices like brown sugar and red pepper, then smoked, salted, and aged for a few months. In some cases, you buy slab bacon with the rind on, but sometimes, it comes without the rind.

Tocino

If you go to Spanish-speaking countries, like Puerto Rico, you will notice that they say tocino to mean bacon. Although tocino is mostly associated with pork belly, it can also be made with pork shoulder or any cut you prefer.

In the Filipino tradition, tocino is prepared with the skin included. The meat is trimmed and cured for at least three days. But before it goes into the refrigerator, spices like annatto and salt are added.

Before refrigerators were invented, chefs would add potassium nitrate as a preservative. But gone are those days.

Streaky Bacon

A raw Streaky Bacon on wooden cutting board.

Streaky bacon is the most popular type of bacon in the United States. This type of bacon, also known as side bacon, comes from pork belly. Therefore, it is very fatty—it contains about one part of the meat to three parts fat.

This explains the name because it has long streaks of fat that run parallel to the rind. Due to its high-fat content, it works perfectly for bacon sandwiches.

Uncured Bacon

A raw Uncured Bacon on cutting board with salt and pepper.

As the name suggests, uncured bacon does not contain preservation nitrates. Instead, it is cured with a lot of salt. There has been an unending debate on whether uncured bacon is healthier since it does not contain nitrates.

However, the use of salt does not make up for the large amount of fat. Not to mention the sodium content, which can pose health risks. Besides salt, uncured bacon may contain other naturally occurring ingredients, such as lactic acid.

When it comes to taste, you can hardly tell the difference between cured and uncured bacon. The only difference would be the flavoring and the saltiness.

Top Brands

Bacon is a very versatile food which millions of people across the U.S. and around the world enjoy on a regular basis. There are more brands than most of us could count. The types of bacon range from a regular cut bacon, to lower sodium bacon, thick cut bacon, turkey bacon, and many more types of delicious bacon.

What are the best, and the top brands of bacon? Do the ingredients matter, or is it all in the taste of the bacon? Does the size of the package matter to you, or is how much bang for your buck that you get from your bacon purchase that makes a particular brand or type of bacon rank at the top of your list?

Here are our choices for the top brands of bacon.

History of Bacon

Bacon was not invented at your local grocery store or your favorite fast-food restaurant. The Spruce Eats indicates that bacon first appeared on tables centuries ago. The ancient Chinese people are believed to be the first people who ate salted pork belly.

The ancient Romans adopted pork curing methods. Anglo-Saxon peasants used bacon fat when cooking their food.

Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto is known as the “Father of the American Pork industry.” Do not be afraid that you may have to give up your favorite bacon tee shirt. There are thousands of people who wear bacon clothing and bacon jewelry.

There is even a “Bacon Day” in America and an “International Bacon Day.” Purchase these top bacon brands and celebrate bacon year-round. Many people would eat bacon every day, year round, according to a recent poll.

Top Brands of Bacon

Everyone has their favorite brand or couple of brands of bacon. There are many brands available, no matter where you live in the country. We chose these brands as our top brands of bacon, based on taste, value, and just the plain sizzle factor.

Hormel Black Label Applewood Thick Cut Bacon

Hormel Black Label Fully Cooked Bacon (72 Slices)

Hormel Black Label Applewood Thick Cut Bacon sizzles up for a perfect visual appearance on your plate. Enjoy the hint of saltiness with the sweeter, applewood smoked flavor of this brand.

It is perfect for breakfast, for dinner, or on your favorite sandwich.

Oscar Mayer Naturally Hardwood Smoked Bacon

OSCAR MAYER BACON NATURALLY HARDWOOD SMOKED 16 OZ PACK OF 2

This brand of bacon provides the perfect balance of sizzle and flavor. Do you prefer bacon that is not a thicker brand? This is the bacon for you. Find it at most supermarkets for a reasonable price.

Smithfield All Natural Uncured Hickory Smoked Bacon

Smithfield Regular Slice Bacon, 16 oz

Do you prefer an uncured brand of bacon that does not contain added nitrates or nitrates? Try this brand and feel comfortable knowing that you and your family are eating a healthier brand of bacon.

This brand comes from Smithfield, which is now the largest pork producer in the world. They make several varieties of bacon, including Hometown Original Bacon.

Oscar Mayer Turkey Bacon

Oscar Mayer, Fully Cooked Bacon VARIETY PACK, 2 Boxes of THICK CUT, 2 Boxes of ORIGINAL, 2.52oz Boxes (Pack of 4)

Do you prefer to eat turkey bacon, over the varieties of pork bacon? Try the Oscar Mayer Turkey Bacon for a healthier version of bacon.

It has 57 percent less sodium and 58 percent less fat. You still get the flavor that you crave in bacon.

Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Bacon

Want to splurge on one of the best brands of bacon that is well worth the splurge? Try this brand and savor the flavor and enjoy the thick-cut style.

Store Brand Bacon

A display of bacon at store.

Check out the brand of bacon sold by your local store. Many store brands are just as tasty and sizzle just as well as the name brands of bacon. You also benefit from the more affordable price of store brands of bacon.

Where to Buy the Best Types of Bacon Online

1. Porter Road

Considered by many the best place to buy bacon online, Porter Road began in Nashville, TN, in 2010. Porter Road has its own slaughterhouse for processing the meat. They also work with local farmers for the freshest and finest meat to process.

All the meat processing is in Kentucky, then hand-cut at their Nashville location. The bacon is cut from animals that are fee of antibiotics, water injections, or hormones.

2. Snake River Farms

Based in Boise, ID, Snake River Farms packages only the finest Kurobuta pork. A type of pork considered equal to Kobe or American Waygu beef. Cut from Berkshire hogs, Kurobuta pork is famed for marbling and exceptional tenderness.

The pork is raised by the Snake River Farms network of small farms. Kurobuta pork uses only Berkshire hogs, a type of heritage pork of Japan. The Snake River Farms raise hogs following the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture specifications. This ensures superior tenderness, marbling, and flavor of the bacon.

3. Bacon Freak

Based in California, Bacon Freak specializes in marketing items dealing with bacon. These items include Artisan pork belly slabs, bacon condiments, bacon-flavored drinks, and gifts. They started being one of the first bacon of the month clubs, known as “Bacon is Meat Candy.”

Bacon Freak has different subscription plans for shipping over 40 types of bacon. Also, they include free shipping with subscription plans to anywhere in the US.

Bacon ships in special containers using cold gel packs for proper shipping temperature. Make sure to check out the “Bacon is Meat Candy” subscription.

4. Zingerman’s Mail Order

For 40 years, Zingerman’s Mail Order has been shipping gourmet bacon from Ann Arbor, MI, across the US. Their “Bacon of the Month” club ships bacon to various customers. These customers include seven vegetarians.

And if celebrity chef, Bobby Flay, says the bacon club is a “Fantastic Gift,” you know it has to be good! Zingerman’s Mail Order bacon was featured on the Food Network’s Show “The Best Thing I Ever Ate.”

5. Russian Foods USA

Russian Foods USA sells Russian food and gifts online from their New York City location. They deliver gourmet meats, specialty bacon, and other Russian items nationwide. A specialty shipped is the Slavic bacon salo. Salo bacon has a cult-like following in the Slavic world.

Salo is a traditional Ukrainian bacon-type food. The bacon cuts are from cured pork fatback or boneless pork belly. Salo usually contains no skin or little or no lean meat. It is also known as “lard,” but does not melt like what Americans call lard (rendered pork fat).

6. Chop Local

Several farmers in Iowa founded Chop Local. They ship high-quality bacon from local farmers whenever possible. The intent of Chop Local is to provide fresh, quality meat from small butchers and farmers.

Meat is grown by small, local farmers, raising the animals and ensuring better-tasting bacon. Also, local butchers may ship your bacon from their small businesses. This guarantees the freshest-tasting bacon.

7. Tender Belly

Founded in 2010 by two brothers in Iowa, Tender Belly’s “crazy tasty” bacon ships nationwide. Shipping is on Mondays or Tuesdays to ensure receiving the freshest bacon. Also, Tender Belly® works with local heritage breed pork farmers to supply the finest pork.

Their “crazy tasty” bacon does not have any added water to their bacon. Instead, the pork bellies are rubbed with dry seasoning and allowed to soak for several days. The bacon is smoked with natural cherry wood to create their famous “crazy tasty” bacon.

8. Bakers Bacon

Based in California, chef Tony Baker founded Bakers Bacon in 2011. When he founded Bakers Bacon, he searched for quality bacon for his restaurant in Monterey, Ca. Since then, Bakers Bacon has become an in-demand bacon solution. There was a high demand for artisan bacon made from heritage-bred pork.

The booming business for Baker Bacon is for three reasons:

  1. Using crate-free heritage breed pork raised by small family farms
  2. Avoiding additives like water and antibiotics, then use a dry-cured smoking process
  3. Delivering a unique taste with a distinctive mouthfeel and chew for the bacon

Ways to Cook Bacon

Fried bacon

In the Microwave

Take a bowl and flip it over on a plate. Spread the bacon on top of the bowl and cook it for 1 minute. This way, the grease will drip down the sides of the bowl. Since there will be no grease left on the strips of bacon, the bacon will get crunchy and it will be less greasy.

In the Oven

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Cover the baking tray with aluminum foil and spread 6 slices of bacon on it. On top of the bacon, keep a clean cooling rack. Roast the slices of bacon for 6 minutes; turn them over and roast for another 6 minutes. This will allow the bacon to cook perfectly and evenly.

On the Grill

When adding bacon in burgers, make sure you are grilling them for 5 to 7 minutes on top of the cooler part of the grill.

In the Deep Fryer

Using the deep fryer is a great way to cook your bacon. Take 6 strips of bacon and add it in hot oil for 5 minutes. This will give you chewy, curled bacon.

In Its Own Fat

Cut slices of bacon on a cutting board

If you frequently cook bacon, you know how much fat it secretes. Instead of throwing that away, store the fat in a container. Next time you are cooking bacon, use the fat.

In a cast-iron skillet, add the fat and fry the fresh pieces of bacon on medium-high heat. When the frozen liquid fully melts, add the bacon strips, and let it cook. When it is done cooking, blot it with paper towels and start eating.

Bacon is a type of meat loved by people all around the world. Whether it is used as a side or the main star in a savory dish, every bite of it will be highly appreciated.

There are many types of bacon available in the world and –almost- every country has its own special way of cooking it. Once you figure out what your favorite type and style of cooking bacon are, start cooking.

However, make sure that you are not consuming it in excessive portions as it can be quite unhealthy.