14 Types of Bacon You Should Know
Grab your frying pan! We're going to explore popular types of bacon from all around the world.
This is a large slab of cured, smoked pork with the rind still attached—basically uncut bacon. Find it at butcher shops where the slabs can be purchased whole or sliced to order in thin or thick strips. You can buy the perfect amount for your next bacon recipe.
This variety is also known as “cottage bacon.” Though cured and smoked like regular bacon, it’s made from pork shoulder, a cut also known as pork butt or Boston butt. The resulting bacon is meatier than bacon made from pork belly.
Lardons are called for in recipes to add bacony flavor to salads, sauces and roasts. They’re cuts of pork belly or loin that are cured in salt and seasonings, then cut into cubes or matchstick-sized pieces.
The round slices are a type of back bacon made from pork loin, a cut of meat from the middle back of the pig. Leaner than regular bacon, Canadian bacon is cured and smoked with a flavor closer to that of ham. It’s also the reigning champion of eggs Benedict.
Irish Bacon or Rashers
This type is also known as “English bacon.” It’s another type of back bacon similar to Canadian bacon, but with a layer of fat around the outer edge of the slices. Rashers are a staple of the traditional Irish breakfast.
Peameal is a traditional, popular variety of bacon in the Toronto region of Canada. It’s made from pork loin like regular Canadian bacon but unique: It’s wet-cured in a salty brine, then rolled in crushed, dried yellow peas or (more commonly today) in cornmeal.
This bacon is made from the hind leg cut of pork, the same cut used for ham. Speck is characterized by this cut and by the spice blend used for curing, which traditionally includes piney, crushed juniper berries.
Pancetta is an Italian bacon that comes in thin slices that show a spiral of meat and fat. It’s made from pork belly, and cured with spices like clove, rosemary or juniper. Traditionally, it’s not smoked. Pancetta adds delicate bacon flavor to main dishes, sides and appetizers like this.
Pronounced gwan-CHA-lay, this Italian bacon is made from pork jowl. It has a long curing and drying time, and traditionally is not smoked. The resulting bacon is fatty and soft with a stronger flavor than pancetta. Guanciale is often used in Italian sauces like this carbonara.
Sometimes called Hungarian bacon, this type has a spicy flavor from garlic and paprika rubbed into a slab of cured and smoked back bacon. The slab is sliced or cubed, skewered on sticks and traditionally roasted over a campfire. We cooked bacon 15 ways—here’s what we discovered.
Lap yuk is also known as Chinese bacon. It’s made from pork belly like traditional bacon, but cured with a mixture of soy sauce, sugar, cinnamon and star anise. It’s then hung up and air-dried for several days before being sliced.
This one should sound familiar—it’s American-style bacon made from pork belly, cured in salt and spices and then smoked. Varieties are created by the type of wood smoke (like hickory, pecan or apple) and added flavorings like maple or black pepper. See what brand of bacon our Test Kitchen recommends.
“Uncured” bacon has no artificial or sodium nitrates that are sometimes present in regular bacon. Some studies have linked nitrates to health issues prompting customers to seek out this nitrate-free version. However, uncured bacon may still have naturally-occurring nitrates from the seasonings on the meat.
OK, it’s not technically bacon since it’s meat-free. But with delicious, bacony flavor, it’s a great option for vegetarian/vegan diets, or as a healthier alternative. Find vegan bacons made from soy-based tempeh and tofu, from wheat-based seitan, strips of rice paper or coconut flakes.