Top 7 Most Delicious Bacons in the World
Bacon is a staple in the American diet. It's a traditional breakfast meat, as well as a food we love to experiment with—remember the bacon craze that gave us bacon lattes and bacon donuts? But bacon is also one of those supermarket items that are somewhat controversial. To begin with, it should be consumed in moderation because it's not the healthiest food by nature. To add to that, there are many factors that play into the quality of packaged bacon, starting with the quality of the meat used in production, as well as the curing and smoking processes, that can yield anything from top quality bacon, to a product that may be a potential health hazard.
7. Pancetta di Calabria
The Italian word pancetta or pancia literally translates to 'belly' which means Pancetta di Calabria is actually a dry cured pork belly, a variety of unsmoked bacon. Fresh meat cuts come from pigs born and raised exclusively in this Italian region, and pancetta is made by processing 3 to 5 centimeters thick rectangular slabs of bacon with skin, weighing between 3 to 6 kilos.
After being salted for about 4 to 14 days, it is washed and soaked in red wine vinegar, coated with pepperoncino Calabrese chili powder and lastly left to mature for at least 30 days. Pancetta di Calabria is traditionally eaten with warm sourdough breads, accompanied by full-bodied red wines.
6. Zeeuws Spek
Originating from Zeeland, Zeeuws spek is a traditional bacon seasoned with salt, pepper, and bay leaves. It is usually marinated in a combination of spices, oil, and mustard, and is then either broiled, grilled, or smoked, developing an intense barbecue-like flavor in the process.
If consumed in the most traditional way, the bacon is paired with bread and mustard, although it can also be consumed with baked potatoes or used in various salads.
5. Ayrshire Bacon
Consisting of a specific cut that contains both pork belly and pork loin, Ayrshire bacon is cured back bacon that is available in both smoked and unsmoked (green) versions. The bacon is typically made by curing the skinned and deboned cut obtained from free-range Scottish Large White-Landrace pigs in a unique brine called the Ayrshire cure.
After soaking for a day or two, the bacon is drained well before it is allowed to mature for two or three weeks. This bacon is recognized for its dark pink color and creamy fat, its slightly cured flavor, and its ability to fry to crispy perfection as Ayrshire bacon contains no water.
4. Gailtaler Speck
Traditionally produced in the Alpine Gailtal region since the 15th century, the delicious Gailtaler Speck is an Austrian variety of bacon. The meat used for its production must come from pigs reared either in the Gailtal Valley or the wider Carinthian area.
It is first dry-salted, pressed, and marinated in brine; then seasoned with pepper, garlic, and juniper; and lastly air-cured and cold-smoked over beech and elder wood. Characterized by a rich, salty flavor and a well-pronounced aroma of smoked meat, this Carinthian delicacy is typically enjoyed as an appetizer but it can also be used in cooking, as it imparts a smoky flavor to various dishes.
3. Speck Alto Adige
Lighter in flavor than its heavily smoked Alpine counterparts, but more robust than the delicate Mediterranean prosciuttos, Speck is the most prized food product of the autonomous Trentino-Alto Adige, Italy's northernmost region also known as Südtirol or South Tyrol.
With the region sharing not only a border but also strong cultural connections with the neighboring Austria, this distinctly flavored, smoked and cured ham represents the character of Alto Adige’s cuisine, which is an interesting blend of Northern European and Mediterranean traditions.
2. Tiroler Speck
Produced in a traditional manner by Austrian farmers, Tiroler Speck is one of the oldest Tyrolean specialties whose origins can be traced back to the 1500s. This bacon is first dry-salted and seasoned with a special blend of spices, cold smoked over beech wood, and finally dried and matured in the crisp Alpine air.
Prepared in this manner, Tyrolean bacon developes its uniquely intense flavor. Traditionally served in thin slices, Tiroler Speck is an essential part of what is known as Bretteljause or Marend, a typical Austrian platter with assorted meats.
1. Peameal Bacon
This bacon is a classic Canadian meat product made with a boneless center-cut pork loin that is typically trimmed of fat, then cured in brine, and finally enclosed in a coating of ground cornmeal, which gives it its signature yellow-hued crust and incomparable flavor.
The original coating consisted of ground yellow peas called peameal, which is how the bacon got its name. Subtly sweet, nutty, and with a hint of saltiness, peameal bacon is not smoked nor pre-cooked, so it requires some preparation prior to consumption.
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