Where Does Bacon Come From? What Part of The Pig?


Bacon is a popular meat among Americans that can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even dessert. But where does bacon actually come from?


Bacon comes from pigs. Specifically, (American) bacon comes from pork belly, which is an area of high fat content, giving bacon its signature streaky appearance. In other parts of the world, bacon can refer to cured pork from the back, shoulder, or jowl; in addition to the belly.


Understanding that bacon typically comes from the pig’s belly is one thing, but let’s look farther into the question of bacon and it’s origins.

What Part of the Pig is Bacon Made From?

In America, bacon, also known as “side bacon,” comes from the pork belly. This area of the pig is very fatty. Because of the fat content, and how the bacon is cut, it typically has a streaky appearance of white and pink when uncooked.

Related Content: Center Cut Bacon: What’s The Difference? Is It Healthier?

Technically, this area of the pig could be sold fresh from a butcher as pork belly. Bacon actually refers to pork from the belly that has been put through a specific curing and smoking process.

Other areas of the pig can be used to make other “cuts” of bacon that are not common in the United States. In other countries, it is common to have bacon made from the loin (back), the shoulder (right above the front legs), or the jowl (neck area),

Where Does Bacon Originally Come From?

Bacon has a VERY long history. Bacon is a cured pork product. Curing is a process used to preserve meats, originally because refrigeration wasn’t an option.

The earliest documented history of “bacon” was in the 1500s BC! In China, people would cure pork belly with salt; which is very similar to how modern bacon is preserved. The ancient Romans and Greeks also had a version of bacon with cured pork belly.

In terms of more modern history, bacon “became” what we know it today in the 1600s, referring specifically to cured, smoked pork belly, sliced thinly. This is the bacon as we know it with thin, narrow, fat-streaked slices.

Does Turkey Bacon Come From a Pig?

It’s not completely unreasonable to hear the word bacon, and think that it comes from a pig. However, that is not the case with turkey bacon.

Turkey bacon does NOT come from a pig. Turkey bacon is a product made from turkeys to “imitate” pork bacon, while having a lower fat content.

Where Does Turkey Bacon Come From?

You know now that turkey bacon doesn’t come from a pig, but where exactly does it come from you may wonder?

Turkey bacon is made by grinding a mixture of light and dark turkey meat which is then shaped into thin, long strips to resemble traditional pork bacon. Turkey bacon is not a specific cut of meat from a turkey.

Personally, I like turkey bacon, but knowing how it’s made makes me like it a little less. I’ll take pork bacon over turkey bacon any day.

What’s the difference Between Pork Bacon and Turkey Bacon?

There are two main differences between pork bacon and turkey bacon.

Source Animal: Turkey Versus Pig

The most obvious difference between pork and turkey bacon is the animal the meat comes from. Turkey bacon comes from a turkey rather than a pig which makes it a fair alternative for people who don’t eat pork. This is typically due to religious reasons.

Fat Content

Turkey bacon is a lower fat alternative to pork bacon. Turkey bacon contains about 10 percent fat, whereas pork bacon contains about 65 percent fat. The exact location of the belly where the pork bacon is cut from can change the fat content, with the center-cut areas being leaner (lower fat), but they are still substantially higher fat content than turkey bacon.

Due to the lower fat content in turkey bacon, it does not shrink as much as pork bacon while cooking.

Related Content: How Do You Cook Bacon On A Press? How Do You Use A Bacon Press?

Where Does Canadian Bacon Come From? What Part of The Pig?

Canadian Bacon, also known as Back Bacon or Irish Bacon, comes from the back of the pig. The area when sold fresh, is the pork loin. Once it is cured and smoked, it becomes Canadian bacon.

Canadian bacon is much leaner than bacon from the pork belly. It also has an appearance much more like thick slices of ham. It is round versus longer strips like bacon from pork belly.

Though this type of bacon IS eaten in Canada, it is also a much more common form of bacon around the world. America is really the only place that holds streaky/side/belly bacon as the number one spot for bacon. It is also the only place that calls back bacon “Canadian Bacon.”

More Bacon Information

I’ve written a lot of information about bacon. If you are interested in seeing all my bacon-related articles, click here.


If you think of any other questions about this topic, drop me a comment, and I will answer the best I can!


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