Jan 28 , 2021

Monica Stockbridge

What’s the Difference Between Cured and Uncured Bacon?

Bacon is one of those fan-favorite foods that, according to some people (including us!), makes everything better. Enjoy it at breakfast with your favorite style of eggs. Sneak it into salads as a crunchy, salty topping. Wrap up sweet, chewy dates and savory goat cheese as an appetizer. Or work it into your favorite burger or Bolognese recipe.

Yet, bacon is more complex than meets the eye.

Bringing home the bacon

Bacon has an intriguing history. The USDA cites some historic references to bacon being a favorite food for early Romans and Greeks.

Later, in the 1500s, only affluent Europeans could afford to buy pork, or “bring home the bacon.”

Cured or Uncured?

Bacon is pork cut from the fatty portions of the belly or back of the pig. It is usually sliced thinly but can also be cubed or ground.

Unlike other meats, bacon is cured, a method of preservation. This means that it’s been preserved by soaking it a mix of salt and nitrates, and sometimes seasonings and sugar. These help keep the bacon safe from harmful bacteria, and also enhance the flavor and the red or pink color.

Uncured bacon doesn’t mean the meat has not been preserved. Rather, it means that it hasn’t been cured with synthetically-sourced nitrates and nitrites. This type of bacon may be labeled “uncured” and indicate “no nitrates or nitrites added.” Instead, this bacon is preserved with naturally-occurring nitrites found in celery, beets or other vegetables.

A hint of smoke

Once the bacon has been cured, it’s usually smoked in a smoker, perhaps with hickory, apple, mesquite or cherry wood chips. Each lends the bacon a slightly different, delicious flavor.

Smoking also helps to seal in the red color from curing, and makes it easier for the bacon to be thinly sliced. Some bacon producers skip this smoking step and give the pork a liquid smoke injection, but we tend to prefer the real deal. Maverick Ranch Natural Applewood Smoked Uncured Bacon and Maverick Ranch Natural Hickory Smoked Uncured Bacon are part of the Frontière Natural Meats family of products. Made from center-cut pork bellies, these types of bacon have a slightly sweet, slightly smoky flavor.

Order bacon online from Frontière Natural Meats.