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An ode to the joys of bacon

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Just what is it about bacon that makes it irresistible? 

These cured strips of pork have captured a place in popular culture. This has given rise to the term “Bacon Mania”, which refers to the passionate enthusiasm for the food in the US and Canada. This can be seen in the invention of a myriad of bacon-flavoured foods. Bacon-wrapped hotdogs, bacon salt, bacon-infused vodka and even sweets like bacon mints, cupcakes, cookies and ice cream. In the meantime, others simply settle for stacking it up, like this Japanese man who ordered 1050 strips of bacon in his Whopper burger from Burger King.

 

Why bacon can be addictive

By Dbenbenn
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Streaky bacon is the most common type of bacon found in supermarkets.

There are plenty of great-tasting foods out there, so why is bacon special? A popular joke amongst restaurants says “When in doubt, throw cheese and bacon on it.” 

The reason may lie in the lard.  Bacon possesses six ingredient types of umami, a savoury taste that is distinct from salt. This gives bacon an addictive high flavour taste that has no equivalent among other foods.

 

How should bacon be cooked?

Bacon is most commonly prepared one of three ways – traditional pan frying or baked in the oven or in the microwave.

By Agnellous
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bacon.JPG
Back bacon is a meatier, leaner slice that is more commonly found in the UK.

Most restaurants prefer to bake their bacon in the oven for several reasons – it’s the most efficient way to cook large amounts of bacon, and it’s the easiest way to get perfectly straight and crisp strips every time. Using a catch tray underneath the bacon also helps to ensure that the liquefied fat drips off rather than coat the strips in grease.

Using a convection oven like the Electrolux EOB98000X helps to circulate hot air evenly around the oven, and will cook the bacon evenly. Cook for about 10 to 15 minutes at about 180oC for best results. Keep a close eye on the cooking, as the bacon can char easily.

 

Is it healthy?

By Drmies
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Jowl_bacon.jpg
Jowl bacon is made from pork cheeks, and is usually cut in a semi-circle shape.

It may come as no surprise that most of the calories in bacon come from fat – and unhealthy saturated fat at that. As a processed meat, lots of sodium is also used in processing bacon. 

But it’s not all bad. If your only breakfast meat options are bacon or sausages, you’re still better off ordering bacon. Two sausage links are still higher in fat and calories than three strips of bacon. Indulge in moderation, and try to balance the meal with vegetables or fruits.

 

What are the different types of bacon?

Bacon can come from different parts of the pig, with varying fat content:

Streaky bacon – The most common form, comes from pork belly. It is very fatty with long layers of fat running parallel to the rind.

Pancetta – The Italian version of streaky bacon which can be smoked or unsmoked, with a strong flavour.

Back bacon – A leaner and meatier slice from the middle of the pig’s back. Common in the UK, it has a ham-like texture.

Middle bacon – From the pig’s side, its fat content lies in between streaky and back bacon.

Cottage bacon – Thinly sliced lean pork meat from a shoulder cut that is typically oval shaped and meaty. Good for baking or frying

Jowl bacon – Cured and smoked pork cheeks.

Slab bacon – Made from the belly and side cuts, and from fatback.  Has a medium to very high percentage of fat.

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