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Anna Schremmer, K-State Research & Extension Family Consumer Science Agent for Phillips-Rooks District #5

Fri, 10/09/2020 - 11:35
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Bacon! Bacon! Bacon!

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Smell that bacon sizzling in the frying pan. That gets you out of bed and ready for breakfast faster than anything else, except maybe warm cinnamon rolls. Of course bacon is not just for breakfast, it is often used in many recipes and even put on top of maple covered donuts. But for me you can’t beat just plain ‘ole bacon & pancakes or a BLT, or bacon in baked beans, or bacon in a salad, or…..

Have you ever wondered about bacon and varieties available for you to purchase? How about the cooking shows and the different types of bacon they cook with?  

Here are the most common types of bacon available in our stores:

Slab Bacon

This is a large slab of cured, smoked pork with the rind still attached, basically uncut bacon.  It can be sliced it to the thickness you desire for the purpose you want to use it. Slab bacon is just like Streaky Bacon but unsliced.

Streaky Bacon or Side Bacon

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 (hickory, pecan or apple) and added flavorings like maple or black pepper. Usually streaky bacon is served with breakfast meals, sandwiches, or fried and crumbled to put in salads, soups, or beans.

Buckboard Bacon

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. It is often used and served just like Streaky bacon.


Lardons are called for in recipes to add bacon flavor to salads, sauces, beans, and roasts. They’re cuts of pork belly or loin that are cured in salt and seasonings and not usually smoked, then cut into cubes or matchstick-sized pieces.

Canadian Bacon

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. This bacon works well on sandwiches and pizza.


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. Also great for use in pastas, risotto, or on pizzas.


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.

Vegan Bacon

OK, it’s not technically bacon since it’s meat-free. But with delicious, bacon flavor, it’s a great option for vegetarian/vegan diets, or as a healthier alternative. Find vegan bacons made from soy-based tempeh (temp pay) and tofu, from wheat-based seitan (say tan), strips of rice paper or coconut flakes.

Turkey Bacon

Turkey bacon is a meat prepared from chopped, formed, cured, and smoked turkey, which is commonly marketed as a low-fat alternative to pork bacon. Cured turkey bacon made from dark meat can be 90% fat free.  It can be used in the same manner as bacon (such as in a BLT sandwich),  but the low fat content of turkey bacon means it does not shrink while being cooked and has a tendency to stick to the pan, thus making deep-frying a faster and more practical option. Turkey bacon contains, on average, twice as much sodium as the pork products.

No matter what type of bacon you choose, bacon is a very versatile, delicious meat.

“Knowledge for Life” provided by Phillips-Rooks Extension District #5 and K-State Research and Extension.