Bacon Varieties

Most people love bacon; it’s tasty and easy to cook. Bacon is the product of cured pork, that is mostly taken from the belly, thighs, or buttocks of a pig. Therefore, what is meant by bacon is the part of pork that has been processed or preserved initially in slabs & then cut into thin slices. You might only know about the regular smoked bacon you usually buy at you the supermarket or local fresh market, but there are many more types of bacon that you should try.  Bacon can be made from other animals too, such as beef, chicken, lamb or turkey, as a substitute for pork.  “Non-meat” variants of bacon are also available for those who don’t eat meat or game.

Bacon Rashers

Also known as “Australian Middle Bacon, English Bacon or Irish Bacon”, BACON RASHERS is another type of back bacon similar to Canadian bacon, but with a layer of fat around the outer edge of the slices. A rasher of bacon is the slices of bacon served with a traditional Australian Big Breakfast, or the equally traditional English and Irish breakfasts.  In the US, this kind of bacon can also refer to a whole, unsliced type of bacon. Australian Middle Bacon is a leaner cut, from the fatty pork belly, Australian middle bacon cuts also include a piece of the leaner loin of the pig and has what looks like a tail which is typically longer than US cuts of bacon. 


Bauchspeck is a signature German speck, made from pork belly, which is cured or smoked pork fat containing layers of both meat and fat. It is sliced in an elongated and narrow shape of meat.  The process of cooking this type of bacon is to cure it with salt for about 15 days. Then, cold-smoked with beechwood and air dry the bacon. The longer it’s smoked, it will produce a thin layer of mold that covers the bacon which also adds more taste.  The speck can be enjoyed with an additional sprinkle of spices such as bay leaves, walnuts, rosemary, juniper, red garlic, or coriander.

Buckboard Bacon

Buckboard bacon is a cured bacon that comes from the pork shoulder or pork butt instead of belly pork like a piece of regular bacon. This type of bacon is popular in Boston. The pork is sliced in thin, long cuts and smoked for a very good taste.  You can make buckboard bacon on your own. It is easy, simple, and you will be proud of yourself to bring this bacon to your loved ones. The ingredients you need include: 1) Sliced butt pork that is actually cheaper than belly pork; 2) Curing salt mixture of 93.75% salt and 6.25% sodium nitrite or you can also use High Mountain brine if you prefer; 3) A bucket with an airtight lid for the curing process.  When all the ingredients are ready, all you need to do is just marinate the sliced butt pork with the curing salt. Put all the pork in the bucket and store it in the refrigerator for 5 days.  Turn it for another 9 days so you cure it for a total of 14 days, then soak the pork in cold water for about 2 hours.  You are now ready to smoke the pork in the smoker to 180°F until the pork is a brown color and smells smoky.

Canadian Bacon

You might be wondering the difference between Canadian bacon with other Western bacon. Canadian bacon uses pork loin. It’s cured with basic brine and sometimes smoked too.  American or regular bacon comes from the belly pork with sliced narrow strip cuts, Canadian bacon however is cut in fat-free rounded slices. The cuts can be thick or thin, what tasteful bacon!  This type of bacon has a sweet and juicy taste even when you fry it. The texture is also tender and it just makes your tongue dance. Mostly, the Canadian bacon lovers cook it with pasta, a bowl of soup, or toss it as a great breakfast meat menu. Yum!

Chicken-Fried Bacon

Originating in the 1990’s in Texas, Chicken-Fried Bacon is battered bacon strips which are deep fried probably making it not the healthiest variety of bacon. Once it is cooked it is served as an appetizer with a variety of dipping sauces.

Duck Bacon

Duck bacon is made of Moulard duck breast meat and processed like pork bacon, which is cured, smoked, and sliced into long strips.  Moulard duck is a hybrid between the domestic Muscovy and the domestic mallard with no antibiotics or growth hormones.  The duck bacon curing process is easy – use sodium nitrite as the curing agent to inhibit the bacteria and make the meat a little pinkish color.  For the flavor, you can just add salt, pepper, sugar, and other herbs or spice as you prefer.  The texture of duck bacon is lean, juicy, and 57% less fat than the regular pork bacon. It’s so flavorsome and tasteful.  If you are bored with regular pork bacon, you can try this duck bacon for salad, pasta, vegetable sides, sandwich, and perfect eggs for breakfast.  You can also just pan-fry, use the microwave, or grill the duck bacon and bite it for a little heavenly taste!

Elk Bacon

Another non-pork form of bacon is Elk or Venison (deer) Bacon.  Elk belongs to the deer family; Elk and deer are different animals, but their fat content is similar making their meat ideal for another variety of non-pork bacon.  Some people get the meat by hunting but nowadays, elk is farmed in areas such as New Zealand and more recently in the US.  You can also buy the meat in the market if you prefer to try wild meat to eat.  To make elk bacon, flavor the belly meat with sea salt, sugar, vegetable powder, and maple syrup.  Spread all over the meat then wrap it with waxed butcher paper.  Put it in a container then start curing it in the refrigerator for 3 days.  Rinse with cool water, pat, and dry in the fridge for about 6 hours. When it is ready, you can smoke it at 130°F–150°F for 2–3 hours. Then, raise the temperature to 180°F–200°F for a further 60–90 minutes.  The elk bacon does not have a smooth texture like pork bacon, but it is leaner and more tender than beef.  Mostly, elk bacon is best for burgers or cook it as a grilled dish. It’s wild bacon!

English Bacon

See Bacon Rashers


You can tell by the name, Frühstücksspeck is a special breakfast bacon from Germany. The pork is sliced in thin cuts so it will be crispy and super yummy when you fry it. You can fry the bacon in the pan or prepare it in the microwave, no problems. Just make the bacon strips crunchy. Set it in medium heat, if it’s too hot then you will burn the bacon.  Also, you do not need to add additional fat because the belly pork is already fatty. The common mistakes in preparing Frühstücksspeck are too much fat and overheating, so do not do that. Generally, Germans prepare Frühstücksspeck with toast, pancake, or scrambled eggs for breakfast. Surely, this is the type of heavenly breakfast you don’t want to skip.


There are many types of bacon that maybe you have not heard about and  Guanciale is probably one of them.  This Italian bacon is made from dry-cured pork jowl. Yes, the jowl! Guanciale is the Italian word for jowl or cheek.  The jowl is cured with salt and some mixed spices such as garlic, rosemary, and pepper for about 3 months, allowing the rich flavors to permeate until the pork is ready to cook. Mostly, Guanciale is sold in thin slices at the market.  Guanciale has a fatty, delicate, and tender texture. You will taste a highly savory, salty, and rich pork flavor more than regular bacon. Italian’s love Guanciale for their plates of pasta – the best pasta such as Pasta Alla Gricia, Pasta Amatriciana, Caramelized Onion & Guanciale Pasta, Carbonara, and more Al Dente Pasta recipes.

Irish Bacon

See Bacon Rashers

Jalapeno Bacon

Warning, jalapeno bacon is going to have a spicy, savory taste that you can’t stop craving.  Jalapeno bacon is a pork belly with the skin on it then the meat is cured with pink salt, pepper, sugar, garlic, bay leaves, and jalapenos (canned, liquid, sliced, or crushed) on it.  Mix all ingredients and sprinkle them generously all over the pork. Put it in a container or zip lock, then let it cure for 5-8 days in the fridge. When it has cured, smoke the cured pork belly in the smoker at 150F-180F degrees for around 3 hours.  For those of you who feel brave, why not have a “hot” dinner with your loved ones and wrap the smoked bacon around a jalapeno for another spice level – grilled bacon-wrapped jalapeno poppers – so sizzling hot & yummy!

Lamb Bacon

Lamb Bacon is made from the belly of the sheep unlike traditional pork bacon.  It can be air-cured or salt-cured and then wood smoked same as bacon from pork belly. Being made from lamb, this bacon can meet both halal and kosher requirements if processed properly and may satisfy any bacon cravings of those communities.  Lamb Bacon takes on the smoke differently to pork which gives it a unique flavor that can make an interesting twist when substituted into traditional bacon dishes.  You can also add more taste into it by adding pepper, cinnamon, turmeric, cumin, garlic, and other spices.  You can serve this flavourful lamb bacon with scrambled eggs, pasta, potato soup, or any dishes you like.  Just like any other bacon types, you can eat it straight from the frying pan or oven.

Lap Yuk

Lap Yuk 臘肉 is a special Chinese dried bacon that you need to try. It’s nothing like the regular bacon you chew at the random Western restaurant. Lap Yuk tastes like heaven. It has a little sweetness and musky saltiness on every bite.  Lap Yuk is made with pork belly, so it’s fatty, firm, and looks translucent. Lap Yuk bacon is a staple food in Chinese cuisine, for sure with hot rice. It’s not only about the fat and pork layers that make this food great, it’s also about the seasoning.  Traditionally, Lap Yuk is marinated with wine and cooked with ginger, bay leaves, soy sauce, salt, cinnamon, and more mixed herbs and spices. Indeed, the best time to enjoy the pork is during the autumn or winter seasons. You could try this yummy Chinese dried bacon at Chinatown or a Chinese restaurant near your area! Available predominately in China, it can also be found around the world in supermarkets specializing in Asian Foods.


Lardons are actually the same as other regular bacon; both made from pork belly. Lardons is a fancy term for smaller cuts of pork, where the bacon is cut into small cubes or strips of pork belly or loin that are cured in salt and seasonings.  Lardons also called larding or lardoons comes from French cuisine.  It is simply salt-cured pork without a smoking process.  Some people prefer lardons better than regular thin pork strips.  Lardons are often used to add a “bacon flavor” to roasts, sauces, or salads and best for pasta, sautéed potatoes, lardon and tomato tagliatelle, and cooked slightly crispy with vegetables.


Pancetta is the cured belly pork, smoked or unsmoked. This is a special type of pork from Italy that you need to try when you next visit an Italian restaurant.  Pancetta is a special pork that is available in rolls, round slices, cubes, or thin sheets.  Pork in rolls is usually not smoked, while thin strips of pork tend to smoke better.  Pancetta has a strong flavor, is a little fatty, slightly salty, and delicious whether smoked or unsmoked.  Pancetta is also served with a mixture of spices such as garlic, oregano, basil, bay leaves, thyme, sage, onions, and other aromatherapy herbs to add flavor.  Pancetta in strip cuts is usually wrapped in vegetables before cooking. Pancetta is usually processed into soup, pasta mixture, stir fry, or risotto.

Peameal Bacon

Peameal bacon (sometimes called Cornmeal Bacon) is Canadian bacon. Peameal is made of wet-cured pork loin or the meat from the back of a pig.  The fat part of the pork is trimmed and then covered with cornflour.  Then, the meat is also sprinkled with finely grown yellow peas, which is why it’s called peameal bacon.  Peameal has a savory, juicy, lean, and delicious taste.  The yellowish color and crunchy texture of the cornflour is also called yellow crust.  This is also named as one of the foods of 1001 Foods You Must Taste Before You Die.  In fact, it’s rumored, nowadays you can only eat the authentic peameal bacon in Toronto, Canada. 


It seems like every country has their own special types of bacon. Salo is the traditional cured pork fat from Ukraine and comes from the back fatty part of a pig. Some Salo products are salt-cured and preserved for up to two years resulting in a creamy-buttery texture.  This is also the ultimate national food of Ukraine, so it’s almost considered a crime to visit Ukraine without trying a bite of Salo. Salo makes a great type of home-cooked bacon, the recipe has been cultivated from generation to generation.  Ukrainians usually serve Salo with Borscht recipes but can also be served with just rye bread and vodka. Would you visit Ukraine solo just to eat Salo?


Are you hungry?  Let’s try authentic pork from Hungary!  Szalonna is a piece of Hungarian special bacon that is made by preserved fatty pork cuts. The pork can be salted or smoked, both are tasteful.  Hungarians serve Szalonna in many classic dishes, as they love to eat it all the time. Mostly, they prepare Szalonna for soup, stews, charcuterie platters, and other special traditional food for celebrations.  The classic Szalonna is sautéed with onions and paprika.  Stir them till you see melting fats.  The combination of onions and pork creates a very delicious taste and aroma.  Hungarian’s also love to eat Szalonna raw, just slice it thinly and serve it with peppers, tomatoes, and white bread. There you go, just enjoy it! 

Slab Bacon

Basically a large slab of uncut, cured, smoked pork belly with the rind attached, before it is sliced by your local butcher to a size to suit you.  Alternatively, why not take the whole slab home whole to slice it yourself.  If you buy a slab of bacon you can slice many different ways to suit what you are cooking.  The slab can be sliced thin or thick for Rashers, diced small for Soups, cut into larger cubes for Kebabs, or maybe honey glaze the entire slab first and cook it for yet a different flavor.

Smoked Bacon

You can buy smoked bacon in the supermarket to give your favorite meals a bit of added flavor or if you are feeling a bit adventurous, why not smoke your own bacon.


See Bauchspeck or Frühstücksspeck

Streaky Bacon

American-style bacon made from pork belly, cured in salt and spices and then smoked. Varieties such as apple or hickory or pecan are created by the type of wood smoke process plus added flavorings like black pepper or maple.


Sometimes called Hungarian bacon, Szalonna is more like Italian Lardo or the Slavic Salo than traditional bacon.  in Hungary, Szalonna is an essential food staple made from the fatty cuts of pork and preserved salted or smoked.  It can be eaten without cooking, thinly sliced on bread with peppers & tomatoes or skewed the roasted over an open fire to enhance the flavors.  Other uses include soups, stews, or other traditional Hungarian dishes.

Turkey Bacon

Turkey is mostly served for big Christian celebration dishes, but do you know about other ways to eat turkey?  Yes, turkey bacon is a real dish now.  It is made from dark meat turkey cured, then smoked like bacon, and sliced into the bacon traditional strip pieces.  There is a general belief, that turkey bacon is healthier than pork bacon as it contains less protein, lower bad fats (bad cholesterol), and hence is less fatty resulting in fewer calories.  Because of the lower fat content, Turkey Bacon is harder to grill than pork bacon so some people prefer to deep-fry it. Turkey bacon is a great alternative bacon for those people who cannot eat pork bacon for whatever reasons but still want to eat meat that looks so much like traditional bacon.  Some people say that turkey bacon tastes very much like chicken.  While others say it is richer than chicken but ultimately it is all about individual taste preferences.  Indeed, you can choose what types of bacon you like the most.

Uncured Bacon

Uncured bacon has no artificial or sodium nitrates that are sometimes present in regular bacon.  Uncured bacon has to be labelled “Uncured bacon. No nitrates or nitrites added.” meaning no man-made nitrates have been added to the bacon during processing however naturally occurring nitrates may still be present from the curing process which uses beet extracts or celery or some other fruit or vegetable which is naturally high in nitrates.

Vegan Bacon

OK, it’s not technically bacon since it’s meat-free. But with delicious, bacon-like flavor, it’s a great option for vegetarian / vegan diets, or as a healthier alternative.  Vegan bacons can be made from coconut flakes or rice paper strips or soy-based tempeh and tofu or from wheat-based seitan. For more information check out our So you don’t eat Meat page.

Venison Bacon

See Elk Bacon