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Pig Fat. It’s all that (and more).

Posted on 29th Jun, 2012 by Andrea Cutright
Pig Fat. It's all that (and more).
Bacon and Pancetta.

They can be used interchangeably in recipes. Both are made from pork belly and can be smoked or unsmoked but the difference is in the curing. Bacon is usually dry cured with salt and sometimes a little sugar, although it can also be brined and smoked afterward. Pancetta is cured flat or rolled with the addition of garlic and herbs, and sometimes also rubbed before with white wine (that sounds like a spa treatment to us). As a result, Pancetta is more complex than bacon and can be more delicate.

These two are not the only pig-fat flavor enhancers, however, so here are a few more to consider:

Guanciale.
Not the belly but pig cheek. Definitely an ingredient for some classic Italian pasta dishes like bucatini alla amatriciana. Substituting with bacon would take the Roman out of your feast.
Smoked Jowl.
It wasn’t until the last 20 years or so that the word “bacon” necessarily referred to belly bacon in the South, and this dense, thinly sliced jowl bacon is exactly what you want to chop and toss into a pot of hoppin’ john.
Canadian bacon.
Or rather, smoked pork loin, which amounts to the same thing. Sometimes called back bacon in other parts of the world. It’s leaner and a little sweeter.

Enjoy!

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