Where Bacon Comes From On a Pig

baconToday I found out where Bacon comes from.   Now you might think, as I always did, that Bacon comes from combining two parts awesome with a smidgen of outstanding.  But in fact, Bacon, or as my brother calls it “meat candy”, obviously comes from our snout nosed little bald friends, pigs, which don’t seem remotely awesome.  Though of course, one can also find Bacon made from turkey,  chicken, and even soy for all our smelly hippie friends out there.

More interestingly, what part of a pig does bacon come from?  Well that depends on the style.  American Bacon, or “streaky bacon” as our lovely limey friends from the British Isles like to call it, is generally cut from the fatty sides of a pig’s belly.   Who says belly fat is a bad thing?  If you ever find yourself in an apocalyptic scenario with no food about, consider caging a few of us pot-bellied Americans.  Bacon for everyone!

Now Canadian Bacon, known as “back bacon” to the English who apparently like to come up with their own names for everything Bacon related, is made up of the tender loins located on the back of Piglet and his swine friends.  This obviously produces a more “meaty” strip of heaven, without as much artery lubricating fat.

Then of course, we have the sides of the pig, which are also used for Bacon, but to which no country has yet staked its name to.  Might I propose we call it “English Bacon” so that the limeys won’t insist on coming up with a different name for the sweet meaty goodness that is side bacon?

Now for preparing future bacon, after the strips of flesh have been cut from the pig, they are then soaked in brine or rubbed in a salt mixture.  Next, the treated flesh is typically dried by smoking it from fires burning with various materials such as hickory. oak, etc,  though it can also simply be left out in a cold place to dry over the course of a couple months.

If you liked this article, you might also enjoy our new popular podcast, The BrainFood Show (iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Music, Feed), as well as:

Bonus Bacon Facts:

  • It turns out that there is very little difference between Bacon and Salted Pork or Ham.  The difference between them is primarily in the brine used to cure the flesh.
  • In many countries, Bacon is not typically cut into strips, but rather into cubes.
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  • Of course bacon typically comes from pigs. Most people, surely, know that already. Or were you being miseleading by most of the article and you DID know already? Obviously the “two parts of awesome with a smidgen of outstanding” was sarcastic, but then you babble on about which part of the pig, which is understandably dependant on what kind of bacon it is. Please let me know what the purpose of this article was and I apolagise if I’ve come off a little strong. It’s a bad job if people don’t know where bacon comes from.

  • England gave the world bacon so they can call it what they like. What North Americans call it is neither here nor there. Then of course you DO NOT have the sides of the pig! Streaky bacon joins directly to back bacon so there is no “side”. The back leg is gammon and the front is shoulder. There are other cuts of bacon, but Americans would not understand so I won’t waste my time trying to explain. A poorly researched article full of inaccuracies – must try harder!

    • Who cares what it’s called….. the things that people think are important never fails to amaze me….. you are arguing about the semantics of pig parts!…. absolutely hilarious!!!

    • I like to eat my bacon topped with bacon bits mmmm bacon

  • @Patty: Actually, coming from someone who’s actually made bacon, I can tell you that typically bacon is made and sold from three distinct parts of the pig, the belly, sides, and back. I don’t really know if “Streaky bacon”, as you English call it, comes from strips going from the belly all the way to the back, but I’d be surprised as I’ve never seen or heard of bacon made that way. The reason being, that this would have half the strip very fatty from the belly, gradually getting more lean and meaty as you get closer to the back. So the pieces would be very uneven in terms of fat content, which is undesirable when marketing bacon. They typically make bacon by making horizontal strips of the belly, side, and back. The belly bacon has the most fat. Side bacon is medium. And back bacon being very meaty and lean. Going horizontally makes for nice even strips. Going vertically would not do that at all.

    Also, nobody knows who invented bacon, but we do know that bacon was being served all the way back in Athens in 300 B.C., long before the British empire existed.

    Nice try England.

  • “There are other cuts of bacon, but Americans would not understand” hahahaha. you’ve just affirmed every stereotype I’ve ever heard about British people and being completely stuck up and elitist. Maybe try getting the stick out of your butt before posting comments in the future. 😉

  • Cured pork (i.e. bacon) bones have been found in pits recently dug at Stonehenge which have been found to be 6,000 years old. This is well over 3,500 years before bacon was served in Athens, so Patty is correct there. In Britain pigs are bred for bacon and are reared differently from pigs bred for pork. The whole pig – apart from head and offal – not just three parts, is used for bacon. Right again Patty. If you want to know the cuts of bacon, check out this diagram :- http://www.muckandmagicorganic.co.uk/images/sporkcuts.png

    It shows pork cuts but is identical to bacon cuts in Britain. Americans please note: there is no “side”. Patty is right yet again. Please get a grip America.

  • What’s worse than arguing stupidly with people in forums? Arguing stupidly with people in comments!

  • All this from a country that ‘invited’ peanut butter and jelly sandwiches! Yes, we Brits are elitist, but that comes from the time when we had the British Empire and ruled a sizable part of the globe before the US decided it wanted to play. We like being this stereotype, it beats the stereotypical lard-arse, ignorant, gun obsessed red necks.

    • Daven Hiskey

      Now calm down skeeter, they ain’t hurtin’ nobody. 😉

    • Settle down, it was all tongue in cheek references and he DID address an American one as well or did you forget the line about “pot bellied Americans”? If you are going to be the subject of a little harmless jab, which would you prefer, 1) the country that has different names for stuff, or 2) the country full of fatties?

  • I think this article was very funny, and right or wrong on the information, if you don’t agree that bacon is delicious then why are you reading an article on bacon? And why did you stop your therapy sessions? Or was this about the US vs. England?

  • A mildly perturbed Brit

    As an Englishman, I found this very insulting. And wrong. That cat knows more than you do.

    So all in all, good job 😀

    Why are we limeys though? Some stupid stereotypical nickname?

  • I don’t give a crap about who invented it but, I’M SO GLAD THEY DID! (P.S. Brits are sometimes called “Limeys” because old time British sailors were given lime juice as a dietary supplement once it was figured out that the usual shipboard diet of the time was deficient in what we now call Vitamin C.)

  • Irregardless to what you’re writing you’re writing for the internet, a global platform, and as such you really shouldn’t litter an article with xenophobic comments; as not to offend your potential audience. Keep your bigoted comments to yourself in future.

    • Daven Hiskey

      @Adam: bigoted comments? Also, irregardless isn’t a word (yet). If enough people keep using it, eventually I imagine it will be added to accepted lexicon, but not yet! 🙂

  • I think the term”back bacon” is far more useful than “Canadian bacon”, after all a pig has a back but it doesn’t have a Canadian

    • CanadianCorrieEh

      Being Canadian I take issue with you thinking there are no parts called Canadian on a pig. To my very thorough Canafian knowledge every part of a pig that begins with “eh” is Canadian!!
      1. Yes, I am Canadian.
      2. I realize “eh” is not just said in Canada
      3. I actually do use “eh” quite frequently.
      4. Various parts of the world call various cuts of meat by different colloquial terms.
      5. I have NEVER bought or cooked “Canadian” bacon but I have bought and cooked “streaky” bacon numerous times!
      6. I want to apologise if I offended anyone or if my reply was too long.
      7. I also want to say sorry for not apologising sooner!

  • As another offended brit, I’d like to point out that Canadian Bacon, and Back Bacon are not the same. While partly cut from the same part of the pig, Canadian bacon is most often noticably thinker cut and excludes part of end strip. Back bacon is prepared, cured, smoked etc in many different ways and really only point to the “Back” of the pig hence back bacon. I do not think it adds to the article ot make claims about the British making up names. That is done everywhere and honestly, after webster, football etc.. Are you truly sure the names werent changed during the seperatist movement, starting with the webster modification of the English Language i?? I think the flame the first british commentor got was a little harsh. Maybe the English didn’t give the world PORK or invent the pig but recipes for curing bacon have been seen in England long before any documented cases elsewhere. Honestly, I don’t care where it comes from but I do care about the extreme responses one gets for simply pointing out fact. If pointing things out or being nationalistic means elitism or stuck up I offer people look much closer to home. As for the bacon article – it wasn’t good – not very accurate. Sorry if that makes me stuck up. Sorry Daven, its a good start but a little more research before casting negative remarks about other nations. All the best. Cheerio..

    • Actually, most articles that I’ve read or restaurants in the USA that I’ve been to that label something as Canadian Bacon is, in-fact, back bacon. I’ve never been to Britain so I can’t verify, but from what I’ve read, it’s the same there too. Perhaps whatever region you are from packages up another cut and labels it Canadian Bacon, but either way – it’s all incorrect.

      If you go to a restaurant in Canada and order bacon, you will get what Brits call “streaky bacon” and what USAmericans call “bacon”. If you want ham, back bacon or peameal bacon, you will need to ask for one of those. But you probably won’t get them as they aren’t typical menu options.

  • America is less than 250 years old we can all call bacon whatever we like but please wind your yanky necks in and realise you are colonial infants and the British and the rest of the world were eating bacon long, long before you decided to invade the land of the native Americans, live long and prosper but quit raping the language we gave you! 😉

    • Daven Hiskey

      @Ricky: “Quit raping the language we gave you”. I can’t deny that. I love the way the British write and talk (not the accents, but the wording). And my wife and I are considering moving to the U.K. for a year or two, just for something different; it’s our top choice. But I’ll only agree to quit raping English if you consent to call football, “soccer”. It was, after all, the original slang name for it, invented by the British (Association Football, then named “Assoccer”, then “Soccer”). It’s only been in the last half century or so that “soccer” has been fully replaced in the U.K. by just “football” as it has become the dominant “football” sport out there, so a descriptive adjective isn’t strictly necessary. But before that fairly recent transition, it was more common even in the U.K. to call it “soccer”. Many in the U.K. seem unaware of this history and it’s high time you stopped making fun of Americans for choosing to adopt this superior name for the sport. 😉

      • I spent ages writing a reply full of vehemence. Then I realized that there was absolutely no point. Britain is the most heavily monitored country on Earth, we are a nation crushed mentally, politically and spiritually, America can’t stop masturbating over guns and shooting anyone different from themselves or in fact each other. If your gonna argue and throw insults around about a sport where people run around on turf for a while and everybody cheers, or the correct naming of bits of pig then somewhere down the line the human race has turned into a dead end. This is what we have come to.

  • The final and definitive word on bacon. ‘Bacon’ to the British means a cut of both belly and loin. To Canadians, it means the loin only. To the Americans, just the belly.

    The British are, of course, correct.

  • What a BS article.

    Firstly, bacon was introduced to the Americas by the English, when you were still chewing on bison. It is the Americans and Canadians that decided to call it ‘American’ and Canadian’ Of course, it is neither, it is European/British.

    Bacon never comes from the belly, that is belly pork., as you Americans call it pork bellies, the cheapest cut.

    Also, from between the shoulders is called ‘collar bacon’ and from the center of the back ‘middle bacon’…

    Also, when trying to tell the world that we British are bastardising the terms for bacon, remember what your first language is and where it comes from…. ENGLISH, and all the words you are using are actually OUR WORDS!.

    So get your head out of your arse and stop being so arrogant… typical Americans…. full of crap as always.

    • Daven Hiskey

      @Bry West: Apparently certain members of the British nation either don’t understand when someone’s joking, or can’t take a joke… 😉

      “Typical Americans… full of crap as always.” Aren’t all humans? I guess unless you’ve just had a pretty thorough enema… 🙂

  • More crap!…

    The US and Canada coined the word soccer, it is used nowhere else. The international word for association football is ‘FOOTBALL’. So stop trying to tell the whole world to change a word that has been around a lot longer than American football (played mainly with the hands)…

    Just to accommodate the Americans… as usual!!

    When you produce your own language one day (never) then you will have the right to bitch about how things are said. Until then, we call the shots.

  • It’s amazing how a 3 year old article is still getting people’s backs up. I’m English and I felt the rage course through my veins before I realised that this is an article on the internet, and probably written in jest. Grow up people.

    In addition Daven is correct about Soccer. It IS soccer, not football – the only football that we have in the UK is Rugby. Think about it… Soccer is the only game of “football” where the hands are not used. It was not called it because “You have a FOOT, you have a BALL, KICK IT ARAAAAND!”, but because it was a game of “ball” played on foot.

    A quote from William Hone, quoting social commentator Sir Frederick Morton Eden who was watching a game that Hone calls “Foot-ball” in 1825 or 1826:

    “The game was this: he who at any time got the ball into his hands, run [sic] with it till overtaken by one of the opposite part; and then, if he could shake himself loose from those on the opposite side who seized him, he run on; if not, he threw the ball from him, unless it was wrested from him by the other party, but no person was allowed to kick it.” – http://www.uab.edu/english/hone/etexts/edb/day-pages/046-february15.html

    Pretty convincing to me.

    • Daven Hiskey

      @Andrew Kelly: Yep, it was indeed written in jest and your soccer info is spot on. 😉 In other articles, I also get people upset for making fun of Americans (which I am, of course). For those British still offended by the article, if it helps, about half my writers these days are British… they also find it amusing to poke fun of primarily the British and Americans in the articles. 🙂

  • ‘Smelly hippie’ is hardly fair, most hippies first cam structure is a shower.

  • I’m Canadian and we don’t call it Canadian bacon here… It’s only Americans that refer to it as Canadian for some unknown reason.

  • I’m still hungry!

  • I could care less about all of you whiny self-righteous and pompous fools. I love me some bacon and that is all that matters. Get a life and move on don’t start flame wars over trivial shit that doesn’t matter.

  • Why has no-one mentioned australian bacon. This is bacon from a wild bush pig that we catch and kill with our bare hands ( we don’t need guns , they’re for sissies). We then rip off the flesh and dry it on an outback rock for six months. When all the flys on it have died it’s ready to eat. Delicious.

  • You all like turkeys!!! calm down over bacon, you are all acting like children!!!! HAHAHA XD

  • Meat Candy Lover

    I don’t care how it gets to me or from where it comes. But I can’t get enough of that ‘meat candy’ in whatever its form. And it comes in so many delicious forms, from bits to slabs.

    Thin meat pucks labeled as bacon by Canadians just shows the influence of Hockey. But I bet they also love bacon jerky.

    Anyway, a great article. Especially about such a tasty subject!!!

  • Anyone else eating bacon while reading this?

    Baiiiiiiicaaaaaan fuck yeah!

  • The whole article and the comments made me sick. The Bacon (and all of its varieties) are from Swine, which is not allowed to be eaten according to Bible. Jesus never ate swine flesh or any part of it.

    It is strange to see Christians fighting over who “invented” Bacon and what cuts are best.

    As a Muslim, I would never touch bacon ,

    • Why are you here?

    • Of course you would never touch bacon, because you follow a 1300 year old magic-based fantasy book filled with religious rubbish that has no place in the 21st century. Peddle your “swine is filthy” nonsense somewhere else, learn about the scientifically proven health benefits of pork and pick up a scientific hobby to expand your horizons. As you are now, nobody here is going to respect your opinion, because we all know bacon is f’n delicious, regardless of what people call it from any nation! 😀

    • murcia bacon booze & bikinis stay home if you dont like those things

  • Oh look, arrogance and vanity. “The British insist on having a different name”, really ‘Murica? How about changing the name of stuff to my own name and then complaining other people don’t use it… Actually that sounds kinda fun, this isn’t a lamp, it’s a Kate lamp, and this is a Kate blog and you that’s a Kate smiley and… you’re all idiots (other than the ones that are not, obvs).

    • Daven Hiskey

      @Kate: It was a joke. Most of the writers on this site are British, and while not the case on this one (American), they make a lot of self deprecating British jokes. 😉

  • I really don’t have a comment t a out the bacon part, but pigs aren’t bald. They have hair.

  • deborah rumbles

    Hi Everyone, I love all types of bacon, don’t mind what its called LOL However I am Scottish and I don’t like the fact that a lot of Americans, Not them all, Call the United Kingdom Just England, The UK is made up of different countries, please stop calling it England . And enjoy your bacon 🙂

  • “our smelly hippy friends”…

    …also, pigs aren’t bald.

  • Streaky bacon is called as such because of the streaks of fat and meat. Back bacon as it comes from the back. I’m pretty sure that “American Bacon” or “Canadian Bacon” is available in other places from pigs of all nationalities and as such those names may be a little stupider than ours.

  • How i have found this post on a google search I dont know!…funny as hell, a question about bacon starts a tirade of abuse to other countries…brill