Bacon Glossary

Zingerman’s 4th Annual Camp Bacon is coming soon and to help get everyone prepared, we’re sharing tasty excerpts and recipes from Ari’s book, Zingerman’s Guide to Better Bacon

bacon-guys-so-happySince we’re going to be talking about bacon, we thought it might be helpful for everyone to understand the terminology.

Here’s Ari’s Bacon Glossary:

  • Bacon: Over here in the U.S., cured and usually, though not always, smoked pork belly.
  • British Bacon: Today, this generally refers to the back and not the belly, cured in brine solution but not smoked.
  • Canadian Peameal Bacon: Pork loin cured in a wet brine solution and then rolled in cornmeal. The real thing is sold raw and never smoked.
  • Dry Cure (a.k.a. Country Cure): Raw pork rubbed and then set into a dry solution of salt, sugar, and spices (instead of a brine) to cure the pork before it’s smoke.
  • Fatback: The strip of fat from the top of a hog’s back, above the loin. Used extensively in old-style American cooking, it really has no meat on it whatsoever. In the South you’ll see places selling fried fatback. Typically used to make lard and cracklins.
  • Flitch: The old English word for a side of bacon.
  • Green: The British term for cured but unsmoked bacon.
  • Guanciale: Italian-style pork jowl, dry-cured and unsmoked.
  • Irish Bacon: Same as British bacon, but often used for boiling.
  • Lardo: Italian-style pork back fat, dry-cured in slabs for months. Sliced and eaten raw.
  • Long Back or Long Middle: Used in England to describe bacon sold as loin with belly still attached.
  • Pancetta: Dry-cured but unsmoked Italian-style bacon made form pork belly.
  • Rashers: Slices of bacon, to a Brit.
  • Streak  o’ Lean: Like fatback, but with (at most) a small strip of meat in it. Michael Stern, writing in Roadfood, says, “streak o’ lean provides the maximum piggy flavor. If you can never get enough bacon, it’s the breakfast meat for you.” Sometimes smoked, sometimes not. Also, like fatback, streak o’ lean can be floured and deep-fried to make a crisp little bacony snack.
  • Streaky Bacon: What British people ask for when they want American-style belly bacon.
  • Wet Cure: Bacon that spends a good bit of time in a saltwater brine, most often, though not always, with sugar and spices.
  • Wide: The wide side of the pork loin as it’s used for bacon – it’s from further up the top loin, toward the shoulder.

See you at Camp!