What Is Back Bacon?

Welcome to the wonderful world of back bacon! We all know that bacon is one of life’s great treats. Bacon makes waking up in the morning to face another dreary day on a doomed planet a little more tolerable! But do you know about back bacon? That’s right, there’s more than one kind of bacon. And I don’t mean turkey bacon. There’s more than one good kind of bacon. But what is back bacon? Are English back bacon, Canadian back bacon, and Irish back bacon different? Let’s fry up some answers!

What is back bacon?

In order to really get a good idea of what back bacon is, let’s first talk a little about bacon bacon. When folks in the U.S. talk about bacon, they’re referring to strips of salt-cured pork, cut from the belly, and usually smoked. Want to take a guess as to what makes back bacon different? If you guessed that it comes from the back instead of the belly, congrats! You can put together context clues! That’s right, back bacon is cut from the back of the pig. It’s part of a pork loin cut. Back bacon is cured and sometimes smoked. It is much leaner than belly bacon, as well.

You may not have heard of back bacon, but you probably have heard it called by another name: Canadian bacon. Back in the day, bacon was imported from Toronto into New York. That’s how it got the nickname Canadian bacon in the U.S. In Canada, Canadian bacon is just called back bacon. Or if you’re in Ontario, there’s peameal bacon, which is wet cured back bacon rolled in cornmeal. 

English back bacon vs Irish back bacon vs Canadian back bacon

Back bacon is a popular breakfast food in the United Kingdom. There, back bacon is sometimes called “rashers.” But English back bacon and Irish back bacon are a little different from Canadian bacon. Canadian bacon is purely back meat that’s been cured, smoked, trimmed into circular medallions, and sold already cooked. Irish and English back bacon are cut from the back of the pig but they also include a little portion of belly meat in the cut. The fat is on the outside of the slice and it’s cooked until it’s done, but not crispy.

Back bacon vs ham

So, back bacon is basically Canadian bacon, right? Isn’t that just ham? No, of course not. If you think Canadian bacon/back bacon is the same thing as ham, you are not a true pork appreciator, my friend. We know that back bacon comes from the back, right? Well ham comes from the back legs, right around the thighs and the butt. 

How to cook back bacon?

Now that you know what it is, you probably want to fry up some delicious back bacon. Just toss a few pieces in a hot pan and fry them up. You can cook back bacon the same way you cook regular bacon. No need to season the meat or add too much oil to the pan. Back bacon is great fried in its own fat. You can press on it and judge its doneness by how springy it is. While most bacon labeled “Canadian bacon” is sold already cooked, if you’re getting traditional back bacon, it’s going to be sold raw. So cook those suckers before eating them! I learned that lesson the hard way.

About the Author

Will Morgan

Will Morgan, a freelance contributor to Sporked, is an L.A. based writer, actor, and sketch comedy guy. Originally from Houston, TX, he strongly believes in the superiority of breakfast tacos to breakfast burritos. Will traveled the world as one of those people that did yoyo shows at elementary school assemblies, always making a point to find local and regional foods to explore in whatever place he was, even in rinky-dink towns like Tilsonberg, ON. Will spends his birthdays at Benihana’s. Let him know if can make it.

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