What is Bacon?
Bacon is a cut of meat taken from the sides, belly and back of a pig. These are parts that do not lend themselves well to being cut into port chops. In North America, it is often cut into strips, while in Europe it comes in cubes. Bacon is made from these parts by being either cured, smoked, or both cured and smoked.
Curing is a preservation method that involves using salt, sugar and nitrates. The salt and nitrates kill unwanted bacteria, leaving the desired form of bacteria behind to grow on the sugar. Other famous cured meats include ham, corned beef and many varieties of sausages.
Smoking is a method of cooking, flavoring and preserving food. It is often combined with curing. It is rarely used as a preservation method on its own, as the smoking only effects the outer part of a meat, and not the interior. Smoking works by imparting wood flavors and serving as both an antibacterial agent and an antioxidant. In bacon, the most common woods used in smoking are hickory and maple.
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