Guide to buying Bacon
Bacon is made from the fatty underbelly of pigs or the side and back cuts of pork (or sometimes other animals) and is made by curing these strips of meat to essentially preserve them, either by using salts, smoking, or a combination of curative preservatives. All bacon is not created equal, and aside from the obvious things like taste and texture, the best is made from high-quality ingredients, humanely raised pigs, and choice cuts of meat.
In general, the ingredients list should not contain more than pork, salt, brown sugar, and water. Bacon that has a lot of other ingredients is probably packed with artificial flavoring.
Types of Bacon
There are many different types of bacon to choose from:
Though American bacon is more popular in the U.S., Canadian bacon commonly shows up on breakfast plates around the world.
Canadian bacon doesn't come from Canada it's only called this in the US. In Canada, this type of meat is commonly referred to as "back bacon" or "peameal bacon. Unlike the regular bacon strips, back bacon is cut from the loin (or behind the shoulder) of a pig and includes just a little bit of pig belly, making it much leaner. It’s usually cured, smoked, and sliced into rounds.
Dry cured Bacon
Just like the name implies, traditionally dry-cured bacon is bacon that has been cured by salt and other dry ingredients. The bacon is then smoked with something like hickory or applewood and treated just like regular bacon.
What makes this bacon a bit different than normal sliced bacon is the fact that the bacon is sold as an entire slab, so you can buy just the amount you need and chop it into any size piece. Ask for it at the butcher counter.
Unlike bacon which is cut from the belly, smoked country bacon is made from the shoulder and cured and smoked. It can also be sold as country ham. No water added which makes this bacon shrink very little when cooking.
What should you consider before buying Bacon?
Bacon which has no artificial ingredients and no added nitrates or nitrites, but all of the flavor that you crave.
Make sure to buy ethically raised meat directly from a farm whose practices you trust, shopping at farmer's markets or visiting the farm yourself. This is also a great way to build your community's food security and support the local economy.
Quality of Bacon
Remember you get what you pay for, and that is so true with bacon. Creating truly great bacon takes time. And in the food industry time is money. So some factories making cheap bacon will inject chemicals like sodium nitrate into their bacon. You can buy bacon that is uncured, or not treated with nitrates. The factories also add liquid smoke to their bacon instead of smoking the bacon.
What to Avoid?
If a product contains artificial flavors, you should avoid buying that product. Artificial flavors usually reproduce the natural taste of foods and are often used by markers for low-quality foods.