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The Bacon Portal

Bacon is a cured meat prepared from a pig. It is first cured using large quantities of salt, either in a brine or in a dry packing; the result is fresh bacon (also green bacon). Fresh bacon may then be further dried for weeks or months (usually in cold air), boiled, or smoked. Fresh and dried bacon must be cooked before eating. Boiled bacon is ready to eat, as is some smoked bacon, but either may be cooked further before eating. Bacon is prepared from several different cuts of meat. It is usually made from side and back cuts of pork, except in the United States, where it is almost always prepared from pork belly (typically referred to as "streaky", "fatty", or "American style" outside of the US). The side cut has more meat and less fat than the belly. Bacon may be prepared from either of two distinct back cuts: fatback, which is almost pure fat, and pork loin, which is very lean. Bacon-cured pork loin is known as back bacon.

Bacon may be eaten smoked, boiled, fried, baked, or grilled, or used as a minor ingredient to flavor dishes. Bacon is also used for barding and larding roasts, especially game birds. The word is derived from the Old High German bacho, meaning "buttock", "ham" or "side of bacon", and cognate with the Old French bacon.

In continental Europe, this part of the pig is usually not smoked like bacon is in the United States; it is used primarily in cubes (lardons) as a cooking ingredient, valued both as a source of fat and for its flavor. In Italy, this is called pancetta and is usually cooked in small cubes or served uncooked and thinly sliced as part of an antipasto.

Meat from other animals, such as beef, lamb, chicken, goat, or turkey, may also be cut, cured, or otherwise prepared to resemble bacon, and may even be referred to as "bacon". Such use is common in areas with significant Jewish and Muslim populations. 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"). For safety, bacon must be treated for trichinella, a parasitic roundworm which can be destroyed by heating, freezing, drying, or smoking.

Bacon is distinguished from salt pork and ham by differences in the brine (or dry packing). Bacon brine has added ingredients, most notably sodium nitrite, and occasionally sodium nitrate or saltpeter, added to cure the meat; sodium ascorbate or erythorbate are added to accelerate curing and stabilize color. Flavorings such as brown sugar or maple are used for some products. If used, sodium polyphosphates are added to improve sliceability and reduce spattering when the bacon is pan fried. Today, a brine for ham, but not bacon, includes a large amount of sugar. Historically, "ham" and "bacon" referred to different cuts of meat that were brined or packed identically, often together in the same barrel.

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Bacon: A Love Story, A Salty Survey of Everybody's Favorite Meat is a non-fiction book about bacon, written by author Heather Lauer. It was published in May 2009. Lauer was inspired to write the book after getting an idea to start a blog about bacon while out with her two brothers for cocktails. She started a blog Bacon Unwrapped in 2005, along with a social networking site about bacon. The book describes the processes of curing and cooking bacon, and gives over 20 recipes that use the product. It also analyzes the impact of bacon on popular culture, and intersperses text with quips from comedian Jim Gaffigan, and facts about bacon. The book received a generally positive reception. The Sacramento Bee commented, "This ode to 'the king of breakfast meats' is entertaining and informational". Both The Sacramento Bee and The Toronto Star recommended the book as a Father's Day gift. The Portsmouth Herald and The Arizona Republic highlighted the book on lists of summer reading recommendations. A review in Publishers Weekly observed that the book would be enjoyed by bacon lovers, but not as much by other readers.

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Bacon wrapped shrimp with mozzarella cheese and BBQ sauce.
Credit: WxMom

Bacon wrapped shrimp with mozzarella cheese and BBQ sauce.

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Bacon Explosion

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Bacon vodka is vodka infused with bacon flavor, part of a larger trend of "carnivorous cocktails" and the addition of umami (savory) flavor to mixed drinks. The infused alcohol can be sipped but it typically used in mixed drinks like a bloody mary or bacon martini. Bakon Vodka has received critical acclaim by professional mixologists, winning the 2010 Silver Medal winner in the Wine and Spirits category in the Beverage World BevStar Awards, and a silver medal in the SIP Awards International Spirits Competition. Bakon was also featured in a number of TV programs including The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and The Today Show.




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Bacon is something that everybody is familiar with and most people grew up eating. It has a comfort aspect to it and a familiarity. It's also got an addictive aspect to it - that sweet and salty combination of flavors. And it's probably just a little bit unhealthy for you. When you get to have bacon, it's exciting and something you look forward to.

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Dishes: Angels on horseback · BLT sandwich · Bacon Explosion · Bacon and cabbage · Bacon and egg pie · Bacon sandwich · Bacon, egg and cheese sandwich · Baconator · Chicken fried bacon · Chivito · Chocolate-covered bacon · Clams casino · Cobb salad · Coddle · Čvarci · Dongpo's pork  · Fool's Gold Loaf · Garbure · Guanciale · Hangtown fry · Hoppin' John · Hot Brown · Jambonette · Kranjska klobasa · Kugelis · Luther Burger · Maple bacon donut · Oysters en brochette · Peanut butter, banana and bacon sandwich · Pig candy · Pīrags · Rouladen · Rumaki · Samgyeopsal · Seven-layer salad · Slavink · Stargazy pie · Stegt flæsk · Szalonna · Tatws Pum Munud ·  · Túrós csusza Twice cooked pork

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Drinks: Bacon martini · Bacon vodka · Mitch Morgan

Topics: Bacon Bowl · Bacon mania · International Bacon Day · J&D's Down Home Enterprises · Heather Lauer · Turkey bacon · Valle d'Aosta Lard d'Arnad · Vegetarian bacon

Books: Bacon: A Love Story · The Bacon Cookbook · Bacon and Hams · The BLT Cookbook · Everything Tastes Better with Bacon  · Seduced by Bacon

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